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Legal Information: Florida

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
December 21, 2018

What is an injunction against repeat violence? Who qualifies for one?

You may file for an injunction against repeat violence against anyone who has committed at least two "acts of violence" against you or a member of your "immediate family." One of those two acts of violence must have occurred within the last six months.1 You can file on behalf of your minor child only if the child still lives at home and you are his/her parent or legal guardian.2

Any of the following acts are considered "acts of violence":

Note: If you have a child in common with the abuser or if s/he is a family or household member, you would not file for an injunction against repeat violence. Instead, you would have to file for an injunction for protection against domestic violence.4

1 Fla. Stat. § 784.046(1)(b)
2 Fla. Stat. § 784.046(2)(a)
3 Fla. Stat. § 784.046(1)(a)
4 See Petition for injunction against repeat violence - Instructions

What is an injunction against dating violence? Who qualifies for one?

You may file for an injunction against dating violence if you have reasonable cause to believe that you are in immediate danger of becoming the victim of an act of dating violence by someone with whom you have or had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature within the past six months. You can file for the injunction if this person already committed an act of dating violence against you in the past (and you fear that s/he will commit another act of violence) or if you have not yet been the victim but you believe that you are in immediate danger of becoming one. You can file on behalf of your minor child only if the child still lives at home and you are his/her parent or legal guardian.1

Any of the following would be considered an "act of violence":

Note: If you have a child in common with the abuser or if you live with him/her or if you have lived with him/her in the past, you would not file for an injunction against dating violence. Instead, you would have to file for an injunction for protection against domestic violence.3

1 Fla. Stat. § 784.046(1)(b), (2)(b)
2 Fla. Stat. § 784.046(1)(a)
3 See Petition for injunction for protection against dating violence - Instructions

What is an injunction against sexual violence? Who qualifies for one?

You may file for an injunction against sexual violence if you are the victim of sexual violence committed by someone with whom you do not have a child in common and who is not a family or household member. If your minor child was a victim of sexual violence, you can file on behalf of your minor child only if s/he still lives at home and you are the parent or legal guardian.1

Sexual violence is defined as any of the following:

However, to be eligible to file a petition for an injunction against sexual violence, one of the following must be true:

  1. you reported the incident of violence to the police or other law enforcement agency and you are cooperating in any criminal proceeding that has come about due to your report to law enforcement; or
  2. the abuser (respondent) was already sentenced to state prison for the sexual violence and either:
    • the respondent completed his/her term of imprisonment; or
    • s/he is going to be released within the next 90 days after you filed the petition.2

If you reported the incident of sexual violence to the police (as mentioned in #1, above), it does not matter if criminal charges based on the incident are ever actually filed or not. Furthermore, if charges are filed, you can still file for an injunction even if the charges are later reduced or dismissed by the prosecutor.3

Note: If you have a child in common with the abuser or if s/he is a family or household member, you would not file for an injunction against sexual violence. Instead, you would have to file for an injunction for protection against domestic violence.4

1 Fla. Stat. § 784.046(1)(c)
2 Fla. Stat. § 784.046(2)(c)
3 Fla. Stat. § 784.046(2)(c)(1)
4 See Petition for injunction against sexual violence - Instructions

What types of orders are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of orders, a temporary ex parte injunction that is issued without the abuser being notified beforehand or present in court, and a final injunction that is issued after a hearing where both parties are notified and can appear in court.

When you file your petition, you can get a temporary ex parte injunction if the judge believes that an immediate and present danger of violence exists. The temporary ex parte injunction generally lasts for up to 15 days, until the court holds a hearing to decide whether or not to issue a final injunction. If the respondent is in prison when the order is issued, it will last for 15 days after s/he is released.1 At the hearing for the final injunction, both sides have the opportunity to come to court and present evidence to the judge. If the judge grants a final injunction, it will last for a specific period of time that will be determined by the judge.2 You can also apply to extend the final injunction but the motion must be filed before the injunction expires.

1 Fla. Stat. § 784.046(6)(a), (6)(c)
2 See, for example, Petition for injunction for protection against repeat violence - Instructions