Injunctions for protection against violence are commonly referred to as restraining orders. The purpose of an injunction is to stop an aggressor from continuing his or her violent behavior toward you. Sounds good in theory, but what happens if your aggressor does not stop? What if he or she refuses to comply with the injunction? How do you enforce the injunction? These are questions that come up frequently, and it is important to know your rights and how to ensure you are protected.
- The aggressor can be arrested for violating the injunction.
If your aggressor contacts you or continues to harass you, you may contact the police. If the police determine that a violation has, in fact, occurred, the aggressor will be arrested and prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office. In the event that the officers are not certain that there is enough evidence to make the arrest, the officers may elect not to arrest at that time; rather, they may forward their report to the State Attorney’s Office for review. If at that time it is determined that an actual violation has occurred, an arrest warrant will be issued.
- You can self-report violations of the injunction.
If your aggressor is not arrested for violating the injunction, you can file an affidavit with the Clerk of Court detailing the violation(s) of the injunction. This affidavit is then reviewed by the Judge, and a hearing will likely be set. At the hearing, your aggressor will be required to explain why he or she has not complied with the terms of the injunction. At that point, it is up to the Judge to determine how to punish your aggressor, if at all.
- If your aggressor violates the injunction, it is a criminal offense.
Under Florida law, violations of an injunction are first degree misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. This means that if your aggressor is found to have violated the injunction, he or she could spend some time in jail and/or be required to pay a fine. Such punishment is in the Judge’s discretion.
Once you get an injunction, it is important to remember that it may not necessarily stop the other person’s unwanted behavior. The injunction order details what your aggressor can and cannot do; however, you also need to be aware of what you can do to enforce that order in the event the aggressive and harassing behavior continues.