What a Domestic Violence Restraining Order Can Do

Has someone, such as a spouse or a boyfriend or girlfriend filed a domestic violence restraining order against you? If so, it’s important that you understand the effects of a restraining order, and the consequences of violating one. To that end, here is a breakdown of what a restraining order can do.

Restraining orders are frequently filed by victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence refers to violence between spouses, romantic partners, former spouses, family members, and members of the same household. For something to be classified as “domestic violence,” it doesn’t have to be serious, physical abuse. It can include harming the family pets, threatening physical violence, and sexual abuse.

Restraining Orders: What You Need to Know

A victim does not need an attorney to file a restraining order. They can usually go to the court and file for one for free. If an alleged victim is successful and the court grants a restraining order, the restraining order can:

  • Prohibit the abuser from continuing acts of violence.
  • Order the abuser to vacate their residence.
  • Order the abuser to stay away from the victim’s home, school, and place of employment.
  • Order the abuser NOT to contact the victim(s) named in the order; for example, prohibit the abuser from calling or texting the victim. The abuser also can’t contact the victim through a third party; for example, they cannot ask someone to give the victim a message.
  • Order the abuser to pay child support.
  • Order the abuser to pay spousal support.
  • Order the abuser to pay certain bills.
  • Order the abuser to relinquish all firearms.

Note: If the alleged abuser (also called the respondent) fails to abide by any of the court’s orders, he or she can face criminal charges under Sect. 741.31 of the Florida Statutes.

Violating a restraining order is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to one year behind bars, and by a fine not to exceed $1,000. Temporary restraining orders are effective for 15 days. If the judge decides to issue a permanent restraining order, it is permanent unless the judge says otherwise.


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