An injunction is a court order signed by a judge that can be served and or enforced by law enforcement. Injunctions for Protection Against Domestic Violence may be issued against a spouse or former spouse, a person related by blood or marriage, a person which you are presently living with or have formerly lived with, as if a family, or against someone with whom you have a child in common, regardless whether you were ever married to that person or lived with them.
If a person falling within one of the previous descriptions has committed a crime against you resulting in your physical injury, or that person has placed you in fear (with words or physical acts), and made you believe you would be immediately harmed by an unlawful act of violence, you may have grounds to ask the court for an Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence.
An Injunction for Protection Against Repeat Violence may be issued if someone has committed two separate acts of violence or stalking, one being within the last six months, against you. The Injunction for Protection Against Repeat Violence is available for those individuals not covered by the Domestic Violence Injunctions. These are sometimes filed against neighbors, friends, or co-workers.
Injunctions for Protection Against Dating Violence may be issued against an individual with whom you have or had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. It is determined by consideration of such facts as the dating relationship existed within the past six months, the nature of the relationship included an expectation of affection or sexual involvement and the frequency and type of interaction between you and the individual included involvement over time and on a continued basis.
Injunctions for Protection Against Sexual Violence may be issued if ONE INCIDENT of the following acts occur regardless of whether criminal charges based on the incident were filed, reduced or dismissed by the state attorney.
- Sexual battery, as defined in Florida Statutes Chapter 794.
- A lewd or lascivious act, as defined in Florida Statutes Chapter 800, committed upon or in the presence of a person younger than 16 years of age.
- Luring or enticing a child, as described in Florida Statutes Chapter 787
- Sexual performance by a child, as described in Florida Statutes Chapter 827
- Any other forcible felony wherein a sexual act is committed or attempted
It is a requirement that the sexual violence be reported to a law enforcement agency and that the person filing the petition cooperate in the investigation. A petition may be filed against a respondent who was sentenced to imprisonment for the sexual violence and who has been or will be released from incarceration. A person who is the victim of sexual violence or the parent or legal guardian of a minor child who is living at home who is the victim of sexual violence has standing in the circuit court to file a sworn petition for an injunction for protection against sexual violence on his or her own behalf or on behalf of the minor child if: The person has reported the sexual violence to a law enforcement agency and is cooperating in any criminal proceedings against the respondent, regardless of whether criminal charges based on the sexual violence have been filed, reduced or dismissed by the state attorney, or the respondent who committed the sexual violence against the victim or minor child was sentenced to a term of imprisonment in state prison for the sexual violence and the respondent's term of imprisonment has expired or is due to expire within 90 days following the date the petition is filed.
Injunction for Protection Against Stalking may be issued if someone has willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person.
- "Harass" means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes substantial emotional distress to that person and serves no legitimate purpose.
- "Creditable threat" means a verbal or nonverbal threat, or a combination of the two, including threats delivered by electronic communication or implied by a pattern of conduct, which places the person who is the target of the threat in reasonable fear for his or her safety or the safety of his or her family members or individuals closely associated with the person, and which is made with the apparent ability to carry out the threat to cause such harm.
- "Cyberstalk" means to engage in a course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed to a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose.
If an injunction for protection against domestic violence, repeat violence, dating violence, sexual violence, or stalking is granted by the court, the judge may order the other party not to have contact with you and not to harm you mentally or physically.
What are the statutory requirements for filing a "Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence?
If a member of your household has committed a crime against you resulting in your physical injury, you may have grounds to petition the court for an "Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence." This also applies if that person has only placed you in fear (either with words or physical acts), and has made you believe you would be immediately harmed by an unlawful act of violence.
This protection is available to you if that person presently resides with you as if he/she is a member of the family, or has lived together with you in the past as if they were a family member and they can be identified as:
- A spouse
- A former spouse
- A person related by blood or marriage
- A person who has lived together with you as though they were your spouse as if you were a family, or who has resided together in the past as if a family, or
- A person with whom you have had a child together, even if you have never lived together.
What is an injunction?
An injunction is a court order sometimes called a "Restraining Order", that directs the person not to have any contact with you.
Where can I obtain an injunction?
You can petition the court for an Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence by going to the Clerk of Court Family Law Division on the second floor of the M.C. Blanchard Judicial Center.
The Clerk's Office will assist you in filing your petition and will take the file to a judge for his/her review. If the judge finds merit to the petition, he/she will enter a Temporary Order for Protection Against Domestic Violence.
You may file Domestic Violence petitions from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday at the Clerk's office. You may file Repeat Violence, Dating Violence, and Sexual Violence petitions from 8:00 AM until 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday at the Clerk's Office.
If the Domestic Violence occurs after regular business hours or on weekends or holidays you may call the Escambia County Sheriff's Department at telephone number 911.
Is there a fee for filing an Injunction of Protection?
There is no filing fee for Protection against Domestic Violence, Repeat Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Violence, or Stalking.
What Information is helpful in filing a Petition for Injunction?
Having the following information available will assist you when filing for a Petition for Injunction (i.e "Restraining Order").
- Police reports or referral card furnished to you by the law enforcement officer (if any were provided to you)
- Driver's license or identification which includes your picture and signature (required)
- Specific dates of abuse or threats of abuse
- Specific locations where abuse or threats occurred
- Picture of respondent to provide to Sheriff's Department
- Full legal name of respondent (alleged abuser)
- Physical description of respondent, including height, weight, scars, date of birth, etc.
- Current residence address of respondent, telephone number, driver's license number and social security number, if possible
- Respondent's employer and employer's address and phone number, if possible.
- Respondent's vehicle information including make, model, color, year and tag number.
What are other steps in the legal process?
As petitioner (the person filing), you will be sworn under oath as to the truthfulness of the allegations of abuse entered on your petition, under the penalty of perjury.
The court will review your petition, and based on the allegations determine to:
- Grant a Temporary Injunction, and grant some or all requests, or
- Set the matter for a hearing to determine if an injunction will be entered
If the court grants the injunction:
- There will be a hearing on the extension of that injunction generally within 15 days from the date the Temporary Injunction was issued.
- You must attend the hearing or the hearing may be rescheduled or the injunction may be dismissed.
- The Clerk will process the Temporary Injunction to the Sheriff's Department that has jurisdiction over where the respondent may be found.
What if the respondent is outside the State of Florida?
You must provide the following information to the Clerk & Comptroller's office:
- Name, address, and phone number of the sheriff's department over where the respondent may be found.
- You must pay for any service fees required by the sheriff outside of the State of Florida.
What can the injunction do for you?
The injunction can provide such relief as the court deems proper, including:
- Restrain the violator from committing any acts of domestic violence;
- Award you temporary exclusive use of the home;
- Award you temporary custody of your children; Establish temporary child support for minor children (if the violator has a legal obligation to do so);
- May order the violator to participate in counseling.
Can my child be a witness?
If you want your child to be a witness, you will need to make a written request to the court to have your child testify. If the judge grants your request, you may bring the child to the hearing.
How long does the injunction remain in effect?
The injunction is permanent/indefinite or until modified or dismissed by the court, unless a specific time period is indicated on the first page of the injunction.
Can I have my weapons for the hunting season?
If a Domestic Violence injunction is entered against you, the law requires that all weapons be surrendered to the Sheriff's Department. There are no exceptions for hunting or other sporting events.
Do I need an attorney?
It is always best to consult with an attorney regarding legal matters. However, you are permitted to represent yourself in court. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may want to contact:
Northwest Florida Legal Services, Inc.
24 W. Government St., Pensacola, FL 32501
Community resources for victims of Domestic Violence:
Favor House of Northwest Florida, Inc.Office: (850) 434-1177 Hotline: (850) 994-3560 firstname.lastname@example.org
Escambia County: (850) 434 6660 Santa Rosa County: (850) 994-3560