What happens if you violate a restraining order?

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2024 | Domestic Violence

A domestic violence restraining order, also known as an injunction, protects victims from abuse or threats by legally restricting the abuser’s actions.

If you violate this order, the court can arrest you immediately, and you may face criminal charges. Violating a restraining order shows contempt for the court’s authority and puts the victim at further risk.

Types of restraining orders

In Florida, there are several types of restraining orders. Each serves a specific purpose and imposes various restrictions:

  • Temporary restraining order (TRO): The court issues a TRO to provide immediate protection to the victim until a full hearing occurs. This order usually lasts for 15 days.
  • Final injunction for protection: After a hearing, the court can issue a final injunction, which may last indefinitely. It restricts your contact with or approach to the victim and can include provisions like custody arrangements and financial support.
  • No contact order: This order prohibits any form of contact with the victim, including phone calls, texts, emails or physical proximity.
  • Stay away order: You must stay away from the victim’s home, workplace, or other specified locations.

Violating these orders leads to immediate legal action or may warrant an immediate arrest.

Violating an order may hold you in contempt

If you violate a restraining order in Florida, the police can immediately arrest you. You face charges of contempt of court, a first-degree misdemeanor that can result in up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If the violation includes additional criminal acts, such as assault or stalking, you may face separate criminal charges with more severe penalties.

The court can also modify the restraining order to impose stricter conditions. The court may issue harsher penalties for repeated violations, including longer jail sentences and higher fines. 

The victim’s safety remains the priority. Aside from fines and potential jail time, a permanent record can also affect employment opportunities, housing rentals and bank loans. Always comply with the court’s orders to avoid these consequences.

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