If someone feels threatened by the unwanted constant attention from an old boyfriend, a soon-to-be ex-husband, or that creepy guy who works at the dry cleaner, they can petition Florida’s Family Court for a Restraining Order (or Injunction for Protection). If the judge believes the petitioner has a case, the court will order the alleged stalker to cease all contact and stay away from the petitioner.
While this is a good law to protect victims of stalking, it is sometimes misused. People have gotten injunctions to use as a weapon in a personal or legal battle. A restraining order can be used to get the upper hand in a divorce and custody case, to settle a grudge, or get revenge. The judge has very wide discretion to impose all kinds of restrictions. And the restraining order becomes permanent public record.
At the Rivas Law Firm, we’ve helped stalking victims get protection orders – and we’ve helped victims of false allegations clear their names. If you have been served with a protective injunction or you need need a restraining order to protect yourself. Call 407-644-2466 or use our Online Contact Form to schedule a Free Consultation.
Restraining Order for Stalking in Florida
The person who wants to use a restraining order as a weapon has several advantages over the person they are targeting. A civil court judge can grant an injunction against you without you even being there to tell your side of the story. Establishing the burden of proof is not as great as it is in a criminal court. In civil court, if the Petitioner, the person who asks for the order, can convince the court that he or she feels threatened, there’s a good chance they’ll get it. The first you will hear about it is when the sheriff’s deputy comes to serve you with the papers.
What you’ve got is a temporary injunction. It’s good for a couple of weeks until there is a court hearing. A judge will listen to both sides and either throw the case out or make the injunction permanent. If you miss this hearing, the accuser’s accusations will be presumed to be true and you will be served with a permanent injunction. It’ll be permanent public record and you will be tagged as a stalker for the rest of your life.
The best thing to do is talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Having a good lawyer represent you in court greatly reduces associated stress and anxiety. You’re not alone in dealing with this. Your lawyer knows the system and can use that experience to determine the best course of action. The Rivas Law Firm can give you a Free Consultation before your first hearing.
What is Stalking?
“A person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person…” is committing the crime of stalking, according to Florida Statute 748.048.
Someone with psychological issues or an angry ex-partner bent on revenge may exaggerate by portraying a random or innocent encounter as something much more sinister. Sometimes the person doing the stalking will get a restraining order — on you. There are a lot of ways to get unfairly caught up in the court system. If you’ve been falsy accused of stalking and given a restraining order, you’ve got to respond aggressively to protect your rights and reputation.
At the Rivas Law Firm, we use our knowledge and experience in restraining order litigation to get protection orders for victims of domestic violence — and to defend those who have been wrongly accused. If you have been served with a protective injunction or if you need a restraining order to protect yourself, call 407-644-2466 or use our Online Contact Form to schedule a Free Consultation.