If someone accuses you of domestic violence, often the first step your accuser will take is filing for a restraining order, also called an injunction in Florida. Restraining orders are actually a civil matter separate from any criminal charges you may face. They can still affect many areas of your life, however, including access to your home and children, and even your job. Often, the court issues a temporary restraining order while waiting for a hearing on a more permanent order. You should take this matter seriously and fight to keep that temporary order from becoming permanent.
Your best defense
If you are served with a temporary restraining order, your first step should be seeking legal advice. You need to understand exactly what the restraining order says, as well as the process that will happen next. You could be facing both criminal and civil matters. You may need to gather any evidence that relates to the accusations, including photos, clothing, texts and emails. You may also think about witnesses who could help your case.
Your next task is to follow the restraining order. This will put you in the best position to fight the permanent order. In Florida, this will likely mean you must:
- Move out of or stay away from the accuser’s home
- Stay away from the accuser and any other named person on the order (500 feet)
- Do not threaten, harass or assault the accuser
- Surrender any guns you own, if asked to do so
- Not contact the accuser in any way if the order says not to
- If your order allows contact through a third party, make sure to follow that
- If the order doesn’t allow you to see your children unsupervised, do not try to do so
- Stay at least 100 feet away from the accuser’s car
- Do not deface or vandalize property belonging to the accuser
Your future is too important to take chances with. Violating your temporary order can make a permanent order that much more likely. Make sure you do your best to protect your future and your freedom.