Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense & Personal Injury Attorneys
What Happens If I Violate a Restraining Order in Florida?

What Happens If I Violate a Restraining Order in Florida?

What this blog covers:

Penalties for Violating a Restraining Order | What Happens When the Petitioner Is the Violator | Why Was I Arrested? | Can I Challenge a Restraining Order?

Although restraining orders and orders of protection are usually issued in civil court when someone is accused of harassment or stalking, it is a criminal offense to violate an order. A violation of a restraining order is a serious matter in Florida, and you need to move fast to protect your rights. You could face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 if you're found guilty of this offense.

For this reason, you should speak with a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer immediately if you have been accused of violating an injunction in the state of Florida. A conviction will affect your ability to get a job, have custody of your children, and even find a place to live.

Contact Rudenberg and Glasser, P.A. for your FREE consultation!

What Are the Penalties for Violating a Restraining Order in Florida?

Protective orders and injunctions, commonly referred to as restraining orders, are issued by the court and are therefore legally enforceable. This means you could face serious consequences if you're accused of a violation. 

A violation of an injunction may include such acts as:

  • Coming within 500 feet of the victim's home, school, workplace, etc.
  • Threatening the victim
  • Calling or contacting the victim in any way
  • Coming within 100 feet of the victim's car, truck, or other vehicle
  • Refusing to surrender your firearm/s, if you have any
  • Committing another act of violence against the victim
  • Violating any other terms included in the restraining order

These violations are serious. If you are accused of violating a protective injunction in the state of Florida, you could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. This means that you could face up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines. If you have been accused of committing a separate crime (ex. stalking or domestic violence) while violating the protective order, you could expect to face even harsher penalties. In fact, aggravated stalking is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Click here to learn more about Florida Statute § 741.31. If you've been arrested, you need a Fort Lauderdale defense attorney immediately--contact ours for free 24 hours a day. We've defended people just like you thousands of times: we know how to protect your future.

What Happens If the Petitioner Violates a Restraining Order?

Even if the victim of the protective order violated the terms they set, you may still be charged with a violation of the injunction. There are not many precedents for when the person who filed a protective order does not hold to them--however, spouses who have filed injunctions against the other spouse have reconciled before.

In some cases, the injunctive order still applied, leading to the arrest of the violator. Not all courts will press charges in these cases, but it may not be worth the risk to you if you're trying to avoid arrest.

Let's consider a situation where this could occur. Your ex filed a restraining order against you a few weeks ago, and now they're contacting you, wanting to talk it out. You agree to meet up with your ex at a local coffee shop, and at first, it looks like you may work things out and get back together, but then things start to get heated. Your ex starts shouting and someone calls the cops. The police arrive on the scene, and what do they find out? That your ex has a restraining order against you, and you're in violation of it. 

This is a made-up example, but it delivers an important message: the person named in an injunction could face arrest and possibly criminal charges even if the petitioner violates the restraining order. Even if the alleged victim is the one who initiates contact, the alleged abuser could pay the price. 

Why Was I Arrested for Violating a "No Contact" Order?

There are several different types of restrictions that can be issued by the court. There are restraining orders, protective orders, domestic violence injunctions, repeat violence injunctions, and more. While the specific conditions of each may vary, any such injunction will at least require the alleged offender to stay away from the victim.

Someone with a restraining order against them could be arrested for:

  • Calling or in any way contacting the victim
  • Being too close in distance to the victim
  • Not vacating a shared residence
  • Not surrendering firearms and ammunition

If you violate any of the terms or conditions that have been included in the restraining order, you will face criminal charges. In fact, there is a good chance that you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. Depending on what happened, you could also face additional charges for crimes like stalking or domestic violence.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself if you've been arrested for a violation of an injunction in Florida. You can exercise your right to remain silent and ask for an attorney. These are two very simple things that can make all the difference, as you'll prevent yourself from saying or doing something that could be used against you in court. You'll also have the protection of a lawyer during questioning and any police proceedings. An attorney can even help with a bail hearing to help you get released on your own recognizance, without having to pay a steep bail amount.

Because every case is different, we recommend talking to one of our attorneys about your alleged violation. We'll be happy to offer insight that applies to your unique situation.

Do I Have the Right to Challenge a Protective Order?

Yes! Just not immediately after it has been issued. In the event that a protective order is issued against you, you would have the right to challenge the facts of the case. Unfortunately, many restraining orders are issued without strong legal grounds or justification, but that does not change the fact that you must abide by the order as long as it is active – even if you are innocent. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to speak with an experienced criminal attorney to discuss your legal options.

Challenging an injunction will typically involve a hearing. If the court has issued a temporary injunction, a hearing will be set within a maximum of 15 days to determine whether the injunction will stay in place. This hearing will give you the opportunity to present your case to a judge, which makes the proper and complete representation of your side of the story an absolutely crucial task. An attorney who has experience with injunction hearings will know how to prepare you and your case to seek the best possible result.

An injunction can have a serious impact on your life, preventing you from contacting someone you love and even keeping you from your children or forcing you from your family home. Challenging an injunction is crucial if you want to get these rights back. You should also know that it is possible for an active restraining order to show up on a background check. This could prevent you from seeking or securing employment, which is why you shouldn’t take this situation lightly. Whether you need help challenging the basis for the protective order or you have already been accused of violating it, you can count on the team at Rudenberg and Glasser, P.A. to provide the help that you need.

Contact Our Firm 24/7 for the Help You Need

Whether you or someone you love has been accused of violating a protective order in Florida, you should know that you have no time to waste! The sooner our firm is involved, the better it could be for your case. This is no small matter, so don’t wait to contact our firm. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we even offer a free initial consultation to get you started.

Call our office today at (954) 543-1788 to learn more!

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Our Victories

  • Not Guilty, Acquitted at Trial Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon

    Outcome: Client was alleged to have used his vehicle to strike victim, and there was video of the incident which could have been interpreted to actually show the crime. The state was offering significant prison time before trial. By meticulous planning and strategic cross-examination to expose the motives and fabrications by the alleged victim, and an eyewitness in support of the alleged victim, Rudenberg & Glasser convinced a jury to acquit the client and avoid a mandatory long prison sentence.

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    Outcome: Rudenberg & Glasser went to trial and were able to show during cross-examination that the alleged victim was the aggressor and that the client acted in self-defense. The jury returned a not guilty verdict almost immediately following trial.
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    Outcome: Rudenberg & Glasser took the case to trial after fleshing out inconsistencies in the alleged victim's account. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty and the client's unblemished record was preserved.
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    Outcome: Attorney Glasser was able to show with video footage that his client did not commit the alleged offense and furthermore, the police officer who ordered his arrest was negligent in his investigation and improperly supervised.

    Read more about this story on the Sun Sentinel.

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  • Final Injunction Hearing
    Outcome: Client desperately needed to avoid a final injunction on his record. Rudenberg & Glasser defended him at the hearing and proved that the Petitioner was not in fear for her safety. The judge dismissed the injunction.
  • First-Degree Misdemeanor: Resisting Police Officer Without Violence
    Outcome: Mr. Rudenberg presented evidence that the police officer’s version of events was not credible, and that accusations were made to justify excessive use of force by police officer. Jury returned a verdict of not guilty in less than five minutes.
  • First-Degree Misdemeanors: DUI & Possession of Cannabis
    Outcome: Mr. Rudenberg won a motion arguing the DUI checkpoint was conducted in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and the Judge entered an order suppressing all evidence. Case was dropped by the State, and client avoided a mandatory conviction for DUI, as well as mandatory fines and license suspensions.
  • $250,000 Pre-Trial Personal Injury

    Outcome: Client was injured by a malfunctioning door, requiring stitches and leaving a scar on client's knee. There were limited medical bills and no surgeries, but through extremely challenging and successful negotiations, Rudenberg & Glasser were able to secure a settlement of $250,000.

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