Injunctions for Protection Against Domestic Violence

Were served with an injunction for protection against domestic violence in Broward County, FL? If so, you have come to right place if you wish to contest allegations that are false or exaggerated. The petition asks the court to enter a temporary injunction for protection against domestic violence that will remain in place from the time the injunction is served until the scheduled hearing (often called the "return hearing").

You have the right to be represented by an attorney at this hearing and the right to request a continuance of the hearing if you need more time to be prepared.

Beginning in March of 2016, the 17th Judicial Circuit in Broward County, FL, started accepting petitions for restraining orders (often called "petitions for orders of protection" against domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, repeat violence or stalking) at the satellite courthouse in Plantation, FL. The hours for filing the petitions for a restraining order at the clerk's office located at 100 N. Pine Island Road, Plantation, FL, is from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Petitioners for injunctions for protection are also filed at the main courthouse located 201 S.E. Sixth Street in Fort Lauderdale, FL, during the normal central courthouse hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Plans are underway to begin accepting applications for protective orders in the future at the other two satellite courthouses in Deerfield Beach and Hollywood, FL. 

If you were served with an injunction for a protective order, then seek out the services of an experienced attorney to fight the allegations.

Attorneys for Domestic Violence Protection Hearings in Fort Lauderdale, FL

The attorneys at Bacchus & Navarro Law Group often get calls from the respondent who was just served with a “petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence.” Call us to find out what you need to do right now to protect yourself against a false or exaggerated accusation. We can help you prepare for the hearing or get a continuance so that you have more time to prepare.

If the injunction is needed to protect a minor child, then an adult can file the injunction for the child as “next friend.” 

The goal in these cases is making sure that no injunction for protection is granted after a hearing so that your rights are protected. Call our domestic violence attorneys in Fort Lauderdale, FL, at (954) 500-5555 to discuss your case today.


Allegations in the Domestic Violence Injunction Petition in Broward County, FL

In the petition, the petitioner must describe the incidents of violence or threats of violence, by specifying when and where they occurred, including, but not limited to, locations such as a home, school, place of employment, or time-sharing exchange.

The petition also requires the petitioner to briefly describe the latest act of violence or threat of violence that causes the Petitioner to honestly fear imminent domestic violence by the Respondent.

To file one of these petitions for protection against domestic violence, the petitioner and respondent must be family or household members. § 741.30(1)(e). The term “family or household member” is defined to include spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently living together as if a family or who have lived together in the past as if a family and persons who are parents of a child together regardless of whether or not they have been married or lived together. § 741.28(3).

With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing together or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit. § 741.28(3).


What is Reasonable Cause to Believe in Imminent Danger of Domestic Violence?

In determining whether Petitioner has “reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence,” § 741.30(6)(b) requires the court to consider all relevant factors alleged in the petition for injunction for protection against domestic violence. As a preliminary matter, the court will look at the history between the petitioner and the respondent, including threats, harassment, stalking, and physical abuse.

The court will also consider whether the respondent:

  • engaged in any other behavior or conduct that leads the petitioner to have reasonable cause to believe that he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence;
  • has destroyed personal property, including, but not limited to, telephones or other communications equipment, clothing, or other items belonging to the petitioner. the respondent has a criminal history involving violence or the threat of violence;
  • has physically restrained the petitioner from leaving the home or calling law enforcement which is often considered to be witness tampering or interfering with a 911 call;
  • has used, or has threatened to use, against the petitioner any deadly weapons such as guns or knives;
  • has intentionally injured or killed a family pet;
  • has threatened to conceal, kidnap, or harm the petitioner's child or children; or
  • has attempted to harm the petitioner or family members or individuals closely associated with the petitioner.

The court will also consider the existence of a verifiable order of protection that was previously issued in that jurisdiction or another jurisdiction.

Venue for an Injunction for Protection

Florida law does not set a minimum residency or venue requirement for an injunction for protection against domestic violence. In fact, a petition may be filed in the circuit where the petitioner currently or temporarily resides, where the respondent resides, or where the domestic violence occurred. § 741.30(1)(j).


Examples of Domestic Violence Supporting the Request for Protection

When the judge reviews the petition, the court will look for allegations that the respondent has engaged in any behavior or conduct that leads the petitioner to have reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence.

In these cases, the petitioner will allege that she or he is a victim of domestic violence or has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence because respondent has done one of the following acts: 

  • previously threatened, harassed, stalked, or physically abused the petitioner;
  • committed or threatened to commit domestic violence defined in section 741.28, Florida Statutes, which includes any of the following crimes:
    • assault
    • aggravated assault
    • sexual assault
    • battery
    • aggravated battery
    • sexual battery
    • stalking
    • aggravated stalking
    • false imprisonment
    • kidnapping
    • any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another.
  • used, or has threatened to use, against the petitioner any weapons such as guns or knives
  • intentionally injured or killed a family pet
  • threatened to conceal, kidnap, or harm the petitioner's child or children
  • attempted to harm the petitioner or family members or individuals closely associated with the petitioner
  • physically restrained the petitioner from leaving the home or calling law enforcement (often called witness tampering or interferring with a 911 case)
  • destroyed personal property, including, but not limited to, telephones or other communication equipment, clothing, or other items belonging to the petitioner. 

The petitioner will be asked to list the respondent's criminal history involving violence or the threat of violence if known and whether another order of protection issued against him or her previously or from another jurisdiction.


Temporary Relief in the Injunction for DV Protection

In the petition, the petitioner is asking the court to enter a temporary injunction for protection against domestic violence that will remain in place from the time the petition is served until the scheduled hearing in this matter. The petitioner is also asking the Court to enter, after a hearing has been held on this petition, a final judgment on injunction prohibiting Respondent from committing any acts of domestic violence against Petitioner.

Other types of relief that can be requested on a temporary or final basis including any terms the Court deems necessary for the protection of Petitioner and/or Petitioner’s child(ren), including injunctions or directives to law enforcement agencies, as provided in Section 741.30, Florida Statutes. The most common forms of relief include:

  • prohibiting Respondent from contacting Petitioner by mail, by telephone, through another person, or in any other manner;
  • prohibiting Respondent from going to or within 500 feet of the Petitioner’s place(s) of employment or school;
  • prohibiting Respondent from knowingly and intentionally going to or within 100 feet of Petitioner’s motor vehicle.
  • prohibiting Respondent from going to or within 500 feet of any place the Petitioner lives;
  • prohibiting Respondent from defacing or destroying Petitioner’s personal property;
  • establishing a temporary parenting plan including a temporary time-sharing schedule for the parties’ minor child(ren);
  • granting temporary alimony for Petitioner;
  • granting Petitioner on a temporary basis 100% of the time sharing with the parties’ minor child(ren);
  • granting Petitioner temporary exclusive use and possession of the home Petitioner and Respondent share;
  • granting temporary child support for the minor child(ren);
  • referring Petitioner to a certified domestic violence center; or
  • ordering Respondent to participate in treatment, intervention, and/or counseling services;

By filing the petition, the Petitioner is asking the court to schedule and hold a hearing on the petition after the respondent is notified.  The respondent is then notified that he or she can attend the hearing to present evidence and testimony about why the allegations are insufficient or false. If the allegations are not sufficient or are false or exaggerated, then the respondent can argue all of the reasons that the injunction for protection should not be granted. 

If the petitioner makes any false statement in the petition for an injunction, then the petitioner can be charged with perjury as provided in Florida Statute Section 837.02. 

Consequences of a Final Injunction for Protection from Domestic Violence

The final injunction order explains that it is a violation of § 790.233, and a first degree misdemeanor, for the respondent to have in his or her care, custody, possession or control any firearm or ammunition as explained in § 741.30(6)(g), § 790.233(1) and 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9).

The injunction will remain in effect until it expires or is modified or dissolved. Either the petitioner or the respondent can ask the court to modify or dissolve the injunction at any time by filing a “motion to modify or dissolve the injunction.” The Petitioner is also allowed to move to extend the injunction although notice must be provided and the matter must be set for a hearing in which the respondent can be heard. 

The court is permitted to enforce a violation of an injunction for protection against domestic violence through a civil or criminal contempt proceeding. The court may enforce the respondent’s compliance with the injunction through any appropriate civil and criminal remedies, including but not limited to, a monetary assessment or fine. § 741.30(9)(a).

Alternatively, a prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office in Broward County, FL, can prosecute the case as a criminal violation under § 741.31. Anyone who willfully violates an injunction for protection commits a misdemeanor of the first degree. § 741.31(4)(a). It is also a violation of § 790.233 (a first degree misdemeanor) for the respondent to have in his or her care, custody, possession or control any firearm or ammunition unless respondent receives or possesses a firearm or ammunition for use in performing official duties. 

If a person has two or more prior convictions of a violation of an injunction for protection, who then subsequently commits a violation of an injunction against the same victim, the crime can be charged as a felony of the third degree under § 741.31(4)(c).


Additional Resources

Broward County Domestic Violence Forms Package - Visit the Broward County Clerk’s Office website to find sample forms including at PDF for the domestic violence package. Find a petition for injunction for protection against domestic violence either with or without children. The form is known as the Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form 12.980(a), Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence which was last updated in November of 2015.

BCCPA on Domestic Violence Injunction Process in Broward - A few years ago, the Broward County Chiefs of Police Association formed a committee to examine the procedures used by the alleged victims of domestic violence when seeking out an order of protection against domestic violence or dating violence. The Boward County Committee on Domestic Violence Injunction Process issued recommendations after looking at the facts, investigating the process, and filing a report on June 10, 2015.


Attorneys for a Domestic Violence Injunction for Protection in Fort Lauderdale, FL

The attorneys at Bacchus & Navarro Law Group represent men and women served with a petition for an injunction against domestic violence, dating violence, repeat violence, sexual violence or stalking. We also represent clients in related cases in the criminal divisions or family law division of the courts in Broward County, FL.

In many of these domestic violence cases in Broward County, FL, the allegations are made as the parties are contemplating filing a dissolution of marriage (divorce) action, or modifying alimony or child support provisions of a prior order. In some cases, the injunction for protection is filed after one of the parties is arrested for an act of domestic violence such as domestic battery, stalking, making a death threat, or violation of a no-contact provision of a prior court order. We represent clients in the main courthouse in Fort Lauderdale and the Broward regional courthouses in Deerfield Beach, Hollywood, and Plantation.

The attorneys at Bacchus & Navarro Law Group also help victims of domestic violence obtain the emergency protections in the most efficient and dignified way possible so that their rights to be free of harm are protected.


This article was last updated on Sunday, November 12, 2017.