09 Dec Help! My Ex Violated My Restraining Order – What can I do?
Restraining orders can be important tools that are often used to keep abusive and harassing people away and out of the lives of those they are harming. Sometimes, though, these restraining orders are violated, and unwanted and legally prohibited contact takes place. What do you do in a situation like this? If someone, particularly an individual you previously were romantically engaged with, violates a restraining order that you have against them, what is the appropriate course of action? The answer to this question can vary from state to state. You should consider speaking with an attorney in order to make sure you are doing everything you can to keep this from happening again. This post will give you some basic understanding of restraining orders and help you determine the right course of action when a restraining order is violated.
First, and just to get the lingo correct, in Florida, and many other states, a restraining order is more officially referred to as an injunction. If you are speaking to someone in an official context, however, they will probably know what you mean by a restraining order. These injunctions can be the result of a number of actions including domestic abuse, dating violence, stalking or other malicious behavior, and others. The details of the injunction depend on many different factors and can vary from situation to situation. Make sure you are familiar with your restraining order and its details. Your understanding of the injunction will make you more equipped to handle any legal issues should a violation of the restraining order occur.
If your ex violates your restraining order, your first course of action should be to call the police. The police will be able to help remove your ex if that is required. This first step is very important. If you feel threatened or in danger, the police should undoubtedly be your first call. Any legal or criminal response can and will take place after you are in a safe space where your own safety is not at risk. Hopefully, this will not be a situation you find yourself in. Chances are that high that any violation of the restraining order will not need such a response. Still, calling the police is a good first course of action. When you speak to the police, make sure you mention that you have a restraining order or injunction against your ex. Having the actual document will be particularly helpful with the police who will likely need to verify before moving forward with any proceedings. The police themselves can respond to this violation in a number of ways depending on what you want.
A violation of a restraining order, in Florida, is a misdemeanor. This might sound trivial, but it is not. If your ex violates a restraining order, then they are looking at a fine up to one thousand dollars, and they might even spend a considerable amount of time in jail. The exact response to such a violation also depends on a number of factors. One of the first factors to be considered will be whether or not this is your ex’s first offense in violating the restraining order. Other criminal records might also affect the judge’s ruling on the case.
In order to get to this point of criminal charges being brought forth in a courthouse, you need to speak with an individual from the county clerk’s office in the county where the violation occurred. The county clerk’s office will be able to guide you through the process of filing a violation petition, which will help enforce your injunction. Doing this is the first step towards your case being heard in the circuit court. Typically, in Florida, judges are hard on offenders or violators of injunctions. This is particularly true if it is not the first time that it has occurred. The judge may also find the offender in contempt of court, which can result in more fines and possibly jail time.
The short answer to the question in the title, then, is that you should call the police, and then you should go to the clerk’s office in the circuit court. Other details need a professional’s eye, and an experienced family law attorney can help you with that.