If you have been served with a petition for an injunction (also known as a restraining order) filed by someone against you in court, you can learn more about what injunctions are, and how the injunction for protection process works.

An injunction, also called a restraining order, is a court order that directs a person not to have any contact with another person. The person seeking the injunction is called the PETITIONER. The person against whom the injunction is requested is called the RESPONDENT.

For the person to be restrained (respondent), the injunction issued against him or her can include the following provisions, in addition to the prohibition against contacting petitioner:

  • He or she will not be able to go to certain places or to do certain things.
  • He or she might have to move out of his or her home.
  • It may temporarily affect his or her ability to see his or her children.
  • He or she will not be allowed to own or possess firearms or ammunition. He or she may have to turn in or sell any firearms and ammunition they have now, and may not be able to buy a gun while the injunction is in effect.
  • He or she may be ordered to attend classes for batterers, substance abuse, and/or mental health.
If the person to be restrained violates the conditions of the injunction, he or she can be arrested.

For additional information, please see the Informational Brochure for Respondents here.

For an overview of the process to obtain an injunction please also see the following video here.

The purpose of this section is to provide basic information on the five different types of injunctions available to petitioners in Florida. It is not designed to give legal advice or be a substitute for Florida law.

A person may qualify for an injunction if they are a victim of violence or stalking or fear that they are in imminent danger of becoming a victim. There are different kinds of injunctions. Each type is used for a different situation. Florida law provides 5 types of civil protective injunctions: Domestic Violence, Repeat Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Violence, and Stalking.

1. Domestic Violence:

  • To protect an adult or minor child from violence by family or household members
  • A parent or legal guardian may file on behalf of minor child living at home.
  • A parent may seek an injunction against the other parent of a child in common, whether or not they ever married or lived together.
  • Petitioner must either be a victim of domestic violence or reasonably believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim.
  • Requires the court to address child support and time-sharing if minor children are involved and petitioner requests it.
  • Requires filing of additional documents if minor children are involved so issues regarding support and time-sharing can be addressed.

2. Repeat Violence

  • To protect an adult or minor child or from repeated violence or stalking
  • A parent or legal guardian may file on behalf of minor child living at home.
  • Requires at least two separate incidents of violence or stalking.
  • Requires one of the incidents to have been within 6 months of filing of petition.
  • Stalking requires repeated following or harassing, not just one incident.
  • Requires actual acts of violence or stalking, not just a threat to do same.

3. Dating Violence

  • To protect an adult or minor child from dating violence
  • A parent or legal guardian may file on behalf of minor child living at home.
  • Petitioner must be a victim of an act of dating violence and must reasonably believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim again or
  • Petitioner must reasonably believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim.
  • Requires a dating relationship between the parties within past 6 months.
  • Requires that relationship to have an expectation of affection or sexual involvement.
  • Does not apply to casual acquaintances, including those in a business or social context.

4. Sexual Violence

  • To protect an adult or minor child from sexual violence
  • A parent or legal guardian may file on behalf of minor child living at home.
  • Requires the adult petitioner to be a victim of sexual battery or any other forcible felony where a sexual act is committed or attempted.
  • Requires the minor child petitioner to be a victim of a lewd or sexually indecent act in his or her presence; or
  • Requires luring or enticing of the child; or
  • Requires sexual performance by the child.
  • Requires a sexual violence victim to have reported sexual violence to a law enforcement agency and to cooperate in any criminal proceeding, regardless of the status of any criminal charges based on the sexual violence; or
  • Requires the offender sentenced to prison for the sexual violence, to either have been released or due to be released within 90 days.

5. Stalking

  • To protect an adult or minor child from stalking or harassment
  • A parent or legal guardian may file on behalf of minor child living at home.
  • Requires the offender to repeatedly follow, harass or cyberstalk.
  • Cyberstalking means stalking done electronically.
  • Requires a credible verbal or nonverbal threat of stalking, including threats made by electronic communication or implied from behavior.
  • Requires a course of conduct directed at petitioner which causes him or her substantial emotional distress and serves no legitimate purpose.

When papers are filed in a court requesting an Injunction for Protection, the court hearing will usually be held about 15 days later. The paperwork filed in court by the person seeking an injunction is called a PETITION. The following timeline is a general example of how the court process works in injunction for protection cases.

Filing:

The injunction process begins when a Petitioner files for an injunction at one of the intake locations. The Intake Unit staff will help Petitioners complete all the necessary paperwork required, including a Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence, Repeat Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Violence or Stalking. Petitioners are asked to review the typed petition, swear to the truth of the allegations stated in it, and then sign the petition.

The petition will then be given to a judge for review. Based on the law in Florida, the judge will either GRANT or DENY the petition that same day. The Clerk's Office will inform the Petitioner of the judge's decision.

The Temporary Injunction:

If the Petition for an injunction for protection is GRANTED by the Judge:

If the judge decides the sworn allegations contained in the paperwork meet the requirements of Florida law for the issuance of an injunction, the judge will enter a Temporary Injunction, which will be valid for 15 days and set for hearing within those 15 days. The Temporary Injunction, if issued, will require the respondent to have no contact with the person filing the injunction (the petitioner), stay away from the petitioner's home and workplace, vacate a shared residence, award temporary custody of minor children in common and require the surrender of firearms. The Petitioner will receive two (2) certified copies of the Temporary Injunction.

If the Petition for an injunction for protection is DENIED by the Judge:

There are circumstances where the Judge denies the request for a temporary injunction but where the Petitioner may still request a hearing where the Petitioner and the Respondent will appear before a judge. In these cases the Judge will sign an Order to Appear and a hearing will be set in approximately 15 days. The Petitioner will receive two (2) certified copies of your Order to Appear for Hearing.

Service of paperwork: As required by Florida law, all respondents must be personally served with the temporary injunction or the order to appear, along with a copy of the Petition, by a law enforcement officer. The clerk’s office will forward the Temporary Injunction or Order to Appear paperwork to the Sheriff's Office where an officer will attempt to personally serve the person who the Petiiton for Injunction is filed against (the respondent) with the injunction or order to appear for hearing paperwork. Until respondent is personally served with the paperwork, the Judge cannot go forward with the final hearing as descried below. If respondent has not been served by the time of the final hearing, the case will be reset to allow for such service. Any temporary injunction in place, will be extended until the following court date by the Judge.

Checking for Service: Petitioner’s may check for service of the injunction or order to appear by calling the Sheriff’s Civil Process Bureau at (305)375-5100. They are open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Please Note: Cases will not be automatically reset if there is no service. Petitioners must appear in court the date of the hearing to request an extension of the injunction or contact the Domestic Violence Case Management Unit at (305)349-5556 BEFORE the hearing date to obtain information on how to have the case reset in their absence.

The Hearing:

At the court hearing, which is scheduled within 15 days from the date the petition was filed, the judge will decide whether to grant a Permanent Injunction after taking testimony from the parties and witnesses, and considering any evidence which is presented. At this hearing, the judge may: (1) dismiss the Temporary Injunction; (2) extend the Temporary Injunction for a period of another fifteen (15) days for good cause (for example, no service on respondent); or (3) issue a Permanent Injunction.

If a Permanent Injunction is granted, it will be effective until it is changed or ended by the judge at either party's request, after notice and hearing, or until a specific expiration date set by the judge (i.e., 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, indefinitely, etc.). The Permanent Injunction can require the respondent to have no contact with the petitioner, stay away from the petitioner's home and workplace, award time sharing, child and spousal support, and require the surrender of firearms. The Permanent Injunction can also order the respondent to attend a batterers' intervention program. Petitioners and children can be referred to support groups and counseling programs, free of charge.

If you know you have a scheduling conflict and will not be able to attend your court hearing on the date it is set for, or if you have an emergency issue you need the Judge to address immediately, you can write a letter to the judge asking for a new hearing date (this letter is also referred to as a MOTION). The motion can be submitted as follows:

  • Filed personally at the clerks office at any of the 4 courthouse intake locations and/or where the court date is scheduled;
  • Faxed to the Domestic Violence Case Management Unit at (305)349-5559; or
  • Emailed to the Domestic Violence Case Management Unit at dvmotions@jud11.flcourts.org.

Additionally, if you realize that you have missed your court date, immediately write a letter to the judge asking for a new hearing date and submit as instructed above.

Please include your name, your case number, judge's name, and phone number where you can be contacted on your motion or letter. If you have any questions, call the Domestic Violence Court Unit to speak to your judge's Case Manager at (305) 349-5556.

Please click here to download a motion form.

No filing fees are required to file for a petition for protection against domestic violence, repeat violence, dating violence, sexual violence or stalking. There may be fees associated with referrals made by the court if an injunction is issued after the final hearing.

Handling a court case can be difficult and confusing. For this reason, many people consider getting expert help. For additional information regarding hiring an attorney and services you can contact the Florida Bar here or Legal Services of Greater Miami here.

For the person being accused of violence, also known as the respondent, the case starts when a law enforcement officer serves you with one of the below documents:

  • Temporary injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence, Repeat Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Violence or Stalking.
  • Order to appear for Hearing on a Petition for Injunction Against Domestic Violence, Repeat Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Violence or Stalking.

Both of the above orders will also include a copy of the Petition (the document that includes the reasons the Petitioner requested the injunction for protection) and a court date within 15 days.

If you received a Temporary Injunction for Protection issued against you, it is very important that you read it and follow it carefully. If you do not obey the orders, the court can send you to jail for up to 1 year and order you to pay a fine.

If any of the orders in the injunction you are served with present a particular problem for you that needs to be addressed before the hearing date, you can file an emergency motion with the court. For example, the injunction might prevent you from:

  • operating a home business (if you are ordered to move out of the home you share with the person seeking protection);
  • going to work (if you and the person seeking protection work at the same place); or
  • attending church (if you and the person seeking protection go to the same church).

Otherwise, when you go to the court hearing, you are allowed to ask for changes in the orders.

The following sections contain information on what you can generally expect in Court.

Hearings take place in a courtroom before a judge. These hearings are often very short (sometimes as little as 15 minutes), so you really need to plan ahead if you want to give the judge your information before he or she makes a decision. Take all of the documents that will be needed to show to the judge.

If you have been served with temporary injunction or the order to appear for hearing and you do not go to the hearing, the judge will go forward with hearing in your absence and you will be bound by the terms of the final injunction, if issued.

Be on time to court. Allow extra time for traffic or other possible delays. (If you are delayed or unable to attend the hearing due to a car breakdown, sudden illness, or other emergency, contact the Domestic Violence Case Management Unit at (305)349-5556, the clerks office at (305)349-5813 or the Judge’s office on or before your hearing time.)

Witnesses: If you intend to call witnesses, make sure your witnesses know where to go and at what time. If you intend to call witnesses (other than you and the other side), you must arrange for your witnesses to be present at court. If your witness does not want to voluntarily attend the hearing, you can request a subpoena from the clerks office to require the witness to appear at the hearing.

Additionally, if your child has important information about the violence or threats, ask the clerk’s office about how to have the judge hear from your child.

Children in common with the other party: If you and the other side have any child(ren) in common and there is no court order addressing time sharing and/or child support, the court will likely address these issues at the hearing if an injunction is granted. In certain situations the court may address these issues even if the parties are not married.

If you are asking for child support specifically, you must also bring:

  • Your last three pay stubs;
  • Your most recent tax returns; and
  • Proof of childcare or health care expenses for the child (such as receipts and canceled checks.)

Children in the courtroom: Children are not allowed in the courtrooms or in the waiting areas outside of the courtrooms. If you cannot arrange for someone to watch your child(ren) while you go to court, please inquire as to whether the courthouse you are appearing at has childcare available. Click here for more information.

Interpreters: If you do not speak English and need the services of an interpreter for the hearing, one will be provided to you by the court. Please inform the bailiff when checking in that you will need an interpreter.

Recording of hearings: The Court is required by law to record all hearings where a Domestic Violence or Stalking Petition is filed. Although not required by law, the court also records hearings where a Repeat Violence, Dating Violence or Sexual Violence petitions are filed. Transcripts of these hearings are available at a charge upon request.

For an overview of the injunction for protection hearing please see the following video:

Please note: The above video and the following are general guidelines.

When you arrive for your hearing, please check in with court personnel. Usually the Judge’s bailiff will be outside the courtroom at a podium with a list of the cases scheduled before the judge that day.

  • If the person to be restrained is also at the court, and you are worried about your safety, tell the bailiff or court staff so that they can help you.
  • After you have checked in, take a seat and wait until your case is called.
  • Do not talk to, confront, or argue with the other party to the case if you see him or her.

When your case is called, you will be asked to come up to the tables in front of the judge and sit facing the judge. The judge will then ask each of you to give your name for the court record. At this point, many judges will ask a few questions to help them understand what has happened. Since the hearing is the result of the Petitioner’s request for an injunction, the Petitioner will be asked to testify first.

  • If you have documents to show, be sure to give them to the bailiff to give to the judge at the time during the hearing when you think the information will make the most sense.
  • Once the Petitioner has finished, the person to be restrained will have the chance to ask Petitioner or any of his or her witnesses questions about what was said.

Then it is the restrained person's turn to tell his or her side of the story, present witnesses, and to show whatever documents he or she thinks are important. Once they have finished, the Petitioner will have a chance to ask the person to be restrained, and his or her witnesses, questions.

If respondent has been served with the temporary injunction and does not show up for the permanent injunction hearing, the Judge can go forward with the hearing without the respondent present and make a decision on the case. Although not present at the hearing, respondent will be bound by the terms of the final injunction, if issued.

At the end of the hearing, the judge will tell you of his or her decision while you are both present in court. The judge will either (1) deny the request for an injunction and dismiss the case or (2) grant the request for a final injunction and issue a permanent injunction for a duration of time.

  • If the request for an injunction is DENIED, parties will receive a copy of the order of dismissal.
  • If the request for an Injunction for Protection is GRANTED the Judge will tell the parties how long the injunction will be in place for, and will also address time sharing and child support if the parties have children in common and there are no other court orders addressing these issues. Additionally, the judge can order respondent to attend classes.

If the judge signs an injunction against you, you MUST obey all orders within the injunction. If you do not, you can be arrested. After the court hearing, a law enforcement officer will serve you with the injunction outside of the courtroom.

It is very important that you clearly understand what you can and cannot do, if you have been restrained by the court. If you have questions that this website does not answer, you may want to consult with an attorney who is qualified in these matters.

In addition to you and the Petitioner, the police will get a copy of the Injunction. All injunctions are sent to a statewide registry of Injunctions that law enforcement agencies have access to. Injunctions issued in Miami-Dade County can be enforced in every county in Florida, and throughout the United States.

Additionally, if you have a child(ren) in common with the Petitioner, the judge may order time sharing and/or child support as part of the injunction. Schools and/or day cares that the child(ren) attends may get copies of the injunction, including the time sharing schedule.

Any violation of the injunction, whether or not at the invitation of Petitioner or anyone else, may subject Respondent to criminal, civil or indirect criminal contempt proceedings, including the imposition of a fine or imprisonment. Certain willful violations of the terms of the injunction constitute a misdemeanor of the first degree punishable by up to one year in jail.

Until the parties are able to come to court to speak to a Judge, it is very important that restrained person continue to follow all orders in the Injunction so as not to be charged with violating the Injunction. THE PROVISIONS OF THE INJUNCTION MAY BE MODIFIED OR ENDED ONLY BY THE COURT. The parties cannot amend the injunction themselves verbally, in writing or by invitation to the residence or some other place. Modifications are only valid and enforceable after a written court order. Either party may request to change or end the injunction at any time.

As part of the injunction issued by the court, you may be ordered to attend substance abuse and/or mental health evaluation and/or batterers intervention classes with the Advocate Program. You will receive a separate court order giving you 24 hours to report to the Advocate Program to enroll for the court ordered program(s). Once enrolled, you will be able to select where to take your classes. Providers are available throughout the county. The Advocate Program is located at the address below:

  • 1399 N.W. 17th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Miami, FL. 33125.

As part of the injunction issued against you, you are not permitted to own, possess or carry a firearm or ammunition. You will be ordered to surrender all firearms and ammunition in your possession, custody or control to the nearest police station for safekeeping and provide a receipt to the court. Please note: it is a violation of Florida statute section 790.233, and a first degree misdemeanor, for a Respondent with an injunction to have in his or her care, custody, and possession or control any firearm or ammunition.

Once the injunction ends, you may file a motion with the court to pick up your firearm(s) from the police station you turned them into.

Unless issued for an indefinite amount of time, the Injunction issued will stay in effect until the expiration date, or until either party requests a change.

  • The expiration date of the injunction will be announced in court and is also included in a box toward the bottom of the first page or on the top of the second page of the injunction.
  • You risk criminal prosecution if you violate the injunction in any way before this date.
  • Only a judge can change or cancel an Injunction. Until the parties are able to come to court to speak to a Judge, it is very important that restrained person continue to follow all orders in the Injunction so as not to be charged with violating the Injunction.

Removal or Modifications of Injunctions: If the person who asked for protection wants to make changes to the injunction or no longer wants the injunction before the time limit for the injunction has run out, he or she may file a motion with the court. The restrained person can also ask for the injunction and any accompanying orders to be modified and/or dismissed.

Extension of Injunctions: If the protected person (petitioner) wants the Injunction to continue past the expiration date, he or she will need to file a request with the court in the two months before the injunction expires.

  • If the request to extend is made by Petitioner, you will receive a notice of hearing and a copy of the petitioner’s request. At the hearing you have the chance to explain if you believe there is no longer any need for the injunction.
  • No new acts or threats of violence are required for the judge to grant the extension beyond the original injunction period.

Other Orders: If there are any issues with the accompanying orders issued as part of the injunction (time sharing, child support, Advocate Program, etc.), you can file a motion with the judge for a hearing to address these issues.

Respondent can write a letter to the judge asking for any of the above or to address other issues (this letter is also referred to as a MOTION). The motion can be submitted as follows:

  • Filed personally at any of the 4 courthouse intake locations and/or where the court date is scheduled;
  • Faxed to the Domestic Violence Case Management Unit at (305)349-5559; or
  • Emailed to the Domestic Violence Case Management Unit at dvmotions@jud11.flcourts.org.

Please include your name, your case number, judge's name, and phone number where you can be contacted on your motion or letter. If you have any questions, call the Domestic Violence Court Unit to speak to your judge's Case Manager at (305) 349-5556.

Please click here to download a motion form.
PLEASE NOTE: IT IS IMPORTANT TO ALWAYS KEEP YOUR ADDRESS UPDATED WITH THE COURT AS NOTICES FOR HEARING WILL BE SENT TO YOUR LAST KNOWN ADDRESS.

If the protected person (petitioner) does not ask the court to extend the injunction or issue new orders, the injunction will end on the expiration date.