The Difference Between an Injunction and a Restraining Order

Injunctions vs. Restraining Orders in Florida

When someone feels threatened by another, they’re often advised to approach a court for relief. This is usually the case in situations involving domestic violence, sexual assault, repeat violence, harassment, and stalking. What the court does in such situations is to give an order preventing the abuser from approaching or contacting the victim. While this order is sometimes called an injunction, it’s referred to as a restraining order in other cases.

Since they serve the same purpose, the terms “restraining order” and “injunction” are often used interchangeably. However, in the strict sense, the terms refer to two different types of orders of protection. If you’ve been served with a restraining order or injunction, knowing the difference between them can aid your understanding of your legal position. This ensures that you can take the right steps to address your unique circumstances.

In this article, we delve into the meaning of restraining orders and injunctions, highlighting where they differ. We’ll also discuss the implications of both and how to handle them swiftly to mitigate their legal consequences.

What is A Restraining Order?

All You Need to Know about Restraining Orders in Florida

In Florida courts, a victim (petitioner) files a petition for a restraining order as the first step to protect themselves from harm. This initial application is filed against the alleged abuser (the respondent), preventing them from contacting the petitioner physically or online. Due to the urgency of the matter, restraining orders (also called temporary injunctions) are often granted the same day. They’re also filed ex parte, meaning that the court will hear only the petitioner’s side of the story before giving the order.

However, because it is one-sided, restraining orders are short-term (not exceeding 15 days). They’re only granted during emergencies, to ensure that the petitioner isn’t harmed before the final determination of the case. This also gives the respondent enough time to prepare for their defense and the court to give them a fair hearing.

What’s an Injunction?

An Overview of Injunctions in Florida

After a restraining order is granted, a court date for the first hearing will be set. This typically falls within 2 weeks from the date the petition was approved. At the hearing, the petitioner and respondent will present their arguments, which the court will consider before giving its ruling.

Based on the facts of the case, the judge can decide that there’s no valid reason for a protective order. In such a situation, the application for an injunction will be denied. However, if the court finds sufficient grounds to grant the request, the judge will set a time frame for the protective order. This can span a couple of months, several years, or even forever.

The terms or requirements of an injunction depend on the type and unique circumstances of the case. Oftentimes, they direct the respondent to:

  • Not contact the petitioner directly or indirectly
  • Stay a specific distance away from the petitioner’s home, school, workplace, and other locations the petitioner frequents
  • Leave the home shared with the petitioner
  • Surrender their firearms and other weapons to law enforcement
  • Attend counseling or treatment such as Batterers’ Intervention Program (BIP)
  • Forfeit custody of the kids shared with the petitioner for a specified period
  • Pay child support and monetary damages
  • Perform any other actions the court deems necessary to protect the petitioner in the circumstances.

In summary, the primary difference between a restraining order and an injunction in Florida lies in the time frame and stage at which it was granted. Restraining orders are provisional measures or temporary fixes pending the final case determination. However, injunctions last for extended periods and are granted after both parties in the case have been heard.


Are There Penalties Attached to Disobeying a Restraining Order or Injunction?

The Consequences of Violating a Protective Order in Florida

Restraining orders and injunctions are civil matters. However, they’ll quickly lead to criminal proceedings if any term, such as a no-contact order, is violated. So, if you’ve been served with a restraining order or injunction, it’s important that you strictly adhere to the requirements. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in a very difficult situation.

For example, you may be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor if you’re caught violating an injunction. This will put you at risk of spending a year in jail or paying fines of up to $1,000. Certain exacerbating factors, such as repeated violations, may worsen your situation and increase your punishment.

What To Do after Receiving a Restraining Order or Injunction in Florida

How to Handle a Florida Restraining Order or Injunction

Have you been served with a restraining order in Florida? If yes, you should have an experienced injunction defense attorney by your side as soon as possible. With a restraining order, there’s still a good chance that the application for an injunction will be denied after a hearing. Your lawyer can review the evidence against you and employ a solid defense strategy to quash it and keep you unrestrained.

When it comes to permanent injunction, however, it’s easy to believe that your hands are tied. Fortunately, that’s not the case. You can appeal an injunction to get it overturned when a judge erred in granting it in the first place. Again, you need to work with a seasoned attorney to improve your chances of a successful outcome.

Were You Served with an Injunction or Restraining Order in Florida? Our Attorneys Can Help.

Contact Us Immediately to Discuss Your Defense and Defend Your Rights

Restraining orders and injunctions go beyond prohibiting your contact with the petitioner. Besides the financial implications, injunctions are public records that will show up on a background check. This can adversely affect your employment, schooling, and housing opportunities. Injunctions also come with a stigma that can get you isolated from your social circles.

Fortunately, our injunction defense attorneys may be able to help you avoid the harsh consequences of having a restraining order or injunction against you. The legal professionals at Taracks & Associates will fight tooth and nail to defend your rights before a judge. We’ll represent your interests using the most effective strategies possible.

Contact us today at (813) 281-2897 to book a free case review and secure our quality legal representation now!


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