A Restraining Order or Injunction for Protection is meant to protect someone who feels threatened by violence from someone else. In addition to injunctions for protection against domestic violence, victims of violence outside household or family settings can apply for protective orders in various situations such as stalking, dating and sexual violence. In the case of sexual violence, a victim – or the parent or guardian of a minor who was a victim — of sexual assault by someone other than a partner or family member may petition Florida Family Court for a restraining order against their alleged attacker.
While the law is intended to protect victims of sexual violence, sometimes a person will get one for the wrong reasons, unfairly targeting an innocent person to get leverage in a divorce or other legal battle. A person wanting to get an injunction for malicious purposes has several advantages over the person they are targeting. A judge can grant one against you without even hearing your side of the story. Since a restraining order is issued from a civil court, the burden of proof is not as great as it is in a criminal court. If the Petitioner, the person who asks for it, can convince the court that he or she feels threatened, there’s a good chance they’ll grant it.
The Orlando Restraining Order Attorneys at the Rivas law Firm help get restraining orders for victims who need protection – and for those who have been victimized by false allegations. If you need a restraining order to protect yourself and your family – or if you have been served with an unfair protective injunction – call 407-644-2466 or use our Online Contact Form for a free consultation with our Civil Litigation team.
What is a Sexual Violence Restraining Order?
Florida Statute 794.011 is very specific and explicit about exactly what constitutes sexual battery, but the key element is consent. Any forced, uninvited or unwelcome – in other words, non-consensual – physical contact of a sexual nature is considered sexual battery. Also, Florida Statute 784.046(1)(c) defines sexual violence as “any incident of sexual battery, lewd or lascivious acts committed on or in the presence of a person younger than 16, luring or enticing a child, sexual performance by a child, or any other forcible felony wherein a sexual act is committed or attempted.”
If someone files a sexual violence restraining order against you, you will be served with a temporary injunction ordering you to stay away from that person. The papers will likely be specific about not contacting the other person, staying a certain distance away, and surrendering any firearms. And you will be notified of a hearing that will take place within 15 days to decide whether to lift the restraining order or make it permanent.
What Happens at a Court Hearing for a Sexual Violence Restraining Order?
At this hearing, the judge will hear testimony from the Respondent and the Petitioner. After listening to both sides, the judge can grant a permanent restraining order or dismiss it.
You should definitely appear at the hearing, in any case, to present your side of the story because if you don’t, all of the accuser’s charges will be accepted as fact and you will have to live with the consequences of that being public record for the rest of your life.
If the judge issues a permanent injunction, there may be a Compliance Hearing within 30-45 days to make sure you are following the rules. You may be able to have this hearing canceled if you can show you have been in compliance.
You are not required to have a lawyer present for these hearings, but your chances of having the injunction thrown out or altered in your favor are greatly improved if you are represented in court by a defense attorney with experience fighting sexual violence injunctions.
Injunctions have Serious Consequences
Injunctions are public record and show up on background checks. These records can never be sealed or expunged and can affect you for the rest of your life. It can hurt your chances of getting or keeping a job. According to Florida law (§ 790.233, Florida Statutes), you can lose your right to possess a firearm or ammunition. An injunction can adversely affect you in divorce proceedings and custody battles. That’s why it’s vital to contact an Orlando attorney with experienced in fighting protection orders and defending sexual violence charges.
If you need to file for a protection order, or if someone has filed an injunction against you, talk to an Orlando Injunction Lawyer at the Rivas Law Firm. Call 407-644-2466 or contact us online, and we’ll help you get through it.