What is an Injunction?

Meaning, Types, & Implications of Florida Injunctions

At its most basic level an injunction is a court order instructing someone to stop engaging in a particular type of behavior. Now, while an injunction can be sought as a legal remedy in a variety of situations perhaps the most significant would be injunctions for protection. Here in Florida, we use the term injunction or injunction for protection in place of what some states call a restraining order. Again, this is essentially an order by a court directing someone to no longer have contact with another person or persons. 

Additionally, it should be noted that while injunctions are civil proceedings, they can have profound impacts on all of the parties involved and could even carry potential criminal implications moving forward. That’s why whether you are seeking an injunction for protection or you have been served with such an injunction it is critical that you reach out to an experienced criminal defense or injunction attorney who can advise you about your rights and options. 

Why Might Someone Seek an Injunction? 

Injunctions for protection, commonly known by some members of the public as restraining orders, may be sought if a person is the victim of stalking, cyberstalking, repeat violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or even sexual violence. Additionally, an injunction for protection may be requested for any of these grounds regardless of whether there is an accompanying criminal case. So if you have been a victim of stalking, cyberstalking, repeat violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or sexual violence you may be able to pursue an injunction for protection. 

Types of Injunctions for Protection in Florida: 

As mentioned earlier, there are a number of different types of injunctions for protection that a person could seek. In fact here in Florida, our court system recognizes five different types of injunctions for protection. These include:

  • Injunctions for Protection Against Domestic Violence
  • Injunctions for Protection Against Stalking
  • Injunctions for Protection Against Repeat Violence
  • Injunctions for Protection Against Dating Violence
  • Injunctions for Protection Against Sexual Violence

It’s also worth noting that while these five injunctions for protection have different names, they all provide the same type of protection if granted. That said, these injunctions differ from one another in that they all require different factual allegations in order to be entitled to relief. Therefore if you think you may be entitled to an injunction, but are unsure which to pursue, you can always check with an experienced lawyer before making such a choice.   

How are Injunction Cases Different from Criminal Cases? 

There are a number of ways in which an injunction proceeding is different from a criminal proceeding. 

  • Unlike a criminal proceeding, in an injunction the State of Florida is not a party to the case. Instead in a preceding for an injunction the case is between the Petitioner, the person seeking the injunction, and the Respondent, the person against whom the injunction is being sought. 
  • Unlike a criminal proceeding, neither of the parties involved are being charged with a crime or directly facing the risk of jail time. However, an injunction can be a prelude to a criminal case, as violating an injunction is a criminal charge. Additionally, if either party to an injunction proceeding were to behave inappropriately before the Judge, then they could be held in contempt and incarcerated. 
  • Since injunction hearings are not criminal proceedings, the standard of proof required to grant a permanent injunction is far lower than it is to convict a person of a crime. For injunctions the standard of proof is competent and substantial evidence. 
  • Since an injunction proceeding is civil, rather than criminal in nature the criminal rules of procedure don’t apply. 

Potential Implications of Having an Injunction Imposed Upon You:

While having an injunction for protection pending against you might not seem as serious as being charged with a crime, injunctions can still significantly negatively impact people in a variety of ways. These impacts from an injunction can be broken down into direct and indirect consequences. 

Direct Consequences of Having an Injunction for Protection Granted Against You:

  • Limitations on where you can go.
  • Limitations on who you can interact with.
  • Being required to seek some form of counseling or attend court ordered classes.
  • Having to surrender firearms and other weapons.

Indirect Consequences of Having an Injunction for Protection Granted Against You:

  • Having an Injunction for Protection on your record could impact employer’s choices of whether or not to hire you.
  • Injunctions for protection might stop landlords from renting property to you.

How Long do Injunctions Last? 

Typically, if an injunction for protection has been granted prior to a hearing, then the Court will continue that injunction until an actual hearing on the merits is held. However, the duration of an injunction for protection imposed following a hearing will vary on a case by case basis and remains at the discretion of the Judge. As such, these injunctions could be ordered to remain in place permanently or for only a few additional months. However it is worth noting that after an injunction is granted following a full hearing, either party may subsequently petition the Court for the Injunction to be terminated.  

What is the Difference between a Temporary Injunction and a Permanent Injunction in Florida? 

Before diving into the differences between temporary or permanent injunctions it is important to understand that the requirements imposed on a person served with an injunction for protection must be followed regardless of whether the injunction is temporary or permanent. That being said the major difference between the two is that temporary injunctions are granted without a hearing, while permanent injunctions are granted after a hearing is held. 

Are Injunctions in Florida Expensive? 

Quite simply the answer is no, seeking an injunction for protection is not expensive because there are no court fees assessed when such a request is made. The only potential costs that could arise are optional involving whether you wish to hire an attorney to assist you in the matter. 

How can an Attorney Help those Seeking an Injunction? 

There are a variety of ways that attorneys may be able to assist individuals seeking an injunction.  

  1. An attorney can review the allegations in the case and recommend what type of injunction to pursue. 
  2. An attorney can assist a petitioner in preparing for the injunction hearing and knowing what to expect. 
  3. An attorney can assist the petitioner in securing the attendance of witnesses at court proceedings. 
  4. An attorney can assist a petitioner in making an effective presentation of the evidence in support of an injunction at an injunction hearing.  

How can an Attorney Help those Served with an Injunction? 

No different than if you are seeking an injunction, there are a number of ways that an attorney can assist you if you have been served with an injunction for protection. 

  1. An attorney can make sure you understand the limitations placed upon you by the Court under the temporary injunction.
  2. An attorney can review the petition for injunction and conduct legal research to determine if the allegations put forth are legally sufficient.
  3. An attorney can discuss with you the allegations made in the petition and can strategize about potential defenses.
  4. An attorney can prepare you for what to expect during the hearing.
  5. An attorney can assist you with the effective presentation of evidence during an injunction proceeding.