Penalties for Violating a Restraining Order
If someone is a victim of domestic violence; for example, a victim of spousal abuse, or if their children are victims of child abuse, such a person can ask the court for a protective order or injunction, otherwise known as a restraining order, to order the abuser to STOP the abuse. People can also seek restraining orders if they have reason to believe that they are in imminent danger of being victimized by a family or household member.
What counts as domestic violence under Florida law? It’s more than being beaten, it includes:
- Sexual assault,
- Sexual battery,
- False imprisonment,
- Assault and aggravated assault,
- Stalking and aggravated stalking, and
- Any other assault that causes physical injury or death to a member of a family or household.
Florida’s domestic violence laws apply to married couples, former spouses, people who are related by blood or marriage, people who live together as a family, and people who have a child in common, even if they’ve never been married. If a victim obtains an injunction or restraining order against their abuser, it means the abuser will be ordered by the court to stay away from those projected in the order.
If the person names in the order is married to the victim, the abuser can be ordered to move out of the family home, stay away from the victims’ work and school, and relinquish their firearms. The abuser can also be ordered to pay certain bills and pay child and spousal support.
What if a Restraining Order is Violated?
Suppose a domestic violence restraining order is taken out against you. What happens if you violate it? For example, what happens if you pay a visit to your spouse or what if you commit another act of domestic violence against the person protected in the order? Restraining order violations are covered under Section 74.31 of the Florida Statutes.
Under Sec. 741.31, if someone named in a protective order for domestic violence willfully violates it by: refusing to vacate the home they share with the victim(s); going within 500 feet of the victim’s home, school, or place of employment; threatening the petitioner; calling the petitioner; coming within 100 feet of the victim’s motor vehicle; refusing to surrender ammunition or firearms; or by committing another act of domestic violence, the abuser commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by:
- Up to one year in jail, and
- By a fine not to exceed $1,000.
If you’re being accused of violating a domestic violence restraining order, I urge you to contact my West Palm Beach criminal defense firm for immediate assistance. Learn more about my credentials by visiting my Attorney Profile Page.