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Florida Protective Orders Laws

A protective order is a legal injunction, which is essentially an official document issued by the court. It is intended to protect someone from future violence by ordering another person not to do certain things -- usually to stay away from and not contact the person who requested the order. In Florida, there are four different types of protective orders that cover four different types of violence: domestic, repeat, dating, and sexual.

Domestic Violence Protective Orders

Protective orders, in instances of domestic violence, may be issued if a family/household member commits one of the following acts of violence against another family/household member:

  • Assault, aggravated assault, and sexual assault;
  • Battery, aggravated battery, and sexual battery;
  • Stalking and aggravated stalking;
  • Kidnapping;
  • False imprisonment; or
  • Any other criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death.

It is important to note that domestic violence protective orders are specifically intended to protect victims who have a specific relationship with the abuser. The victim may be a:

  • Current or former spouse;
  • Relative by blood or marriage;
  • Co-habitant or former co-habitant (someone the abuser has lived or formerly lived with); or
  • Child’s other parent.

 The basic provisions of Florida's protective order laws are listed in the table below.

Code Section

741.30 & 31

Activity Addressed by Order

Exclude from dwelling; enjoin contact; regarding minor children: grant temporary custody visitations, temporary support; counseling; restrain from committing any acts of domestic violence

Duration of Order

Ex parte temporary: maximum 15 days. General protective order: maximum 1 year, can reapply but maximum an additional year each time

Penalty for a Violation of Order

Misdemeanor in 1st degree

Who May Apply for Order

Any family or household member who is a victim of domestic violence or one who has reasonable cause to believe he or she is about to become victim

Can Fees Be Waived?

Yes

Order Transmission to Law Enforcement

Within 24 hours of issuance

Civil Liability for Violation of Order

Civil contempt

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Florida criminal attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you mare researching.

Repeat, Dating, and Sexual Violence

If a victim does fall into one of the categories listed above, he or she will likely need to file for a protective order for repeat, dating, or sexual violence. Orders against these types of violence offer similar protections to domestic violence orders. The requirements to file a protective order for each type of violence are listed below:

  • Repeat Violence. 2 instances of “violence” (as defined above) committed by the abuser against the victim or victim’s immediate family member. At least one of these instances must have been within 6 months of filing for the protective order. In this context, the relationship between the victim and abuser does not matter.
  • Dating Violence. Violence between people currently or previously in a “continuing and significant” romantic or intimate relationship. The court determines whether the relationship is “continuing and significant” by looking at the following factors:
    • If the parties dated within the last 6 months;
    • The relationship involved the expectation of affection or sexual involvement; and
    • The parties must have been involved with one another over a continuous amount of time.
  • Sexual Violence. Any instance of the following acts committed by the abuser, regardless of whether criminal charges were filed, reduced, or dismissed:
    • Sexual battery;
    • Lewd or lascivious act committed upon or in the presence of someone younger than 16 years of age;
    • Luring or enticing a child;
    • Sexual performance by a child; or
    • Any other forcible felony involving a sexual act (including merely attempting such an act).

More Information

For more general information on restraining orders, feel free to check out the links listed below or browse FindLaw’s article, Domestic Violence: Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to consult with a family law attorney or a criminal law attorney.

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