741.31 Violation of an injunction for protection against domestic violence.
- In the event of a violation of the injunction for protection against domestic violence when there has not been an arrest, the petitioner may contact the clerk of the circuit court of the county in which the violation is alleged to have occurred. The clerk shall either assist the petitioner in the preparation of an affidavit in support of the violation or direct the petitioner to the office operated by the court within the circuit that has been designated by the chief judge of that circuit as the central intake point for injunction violations and where the petitioner can receive assistance in the preparation of the affidavit in support of the violation.
- The affidavit shall be immediately forwarded by the office assisting the petitioner to the state attorney of that circuit and to such court or judge as the chief judge of that circuit determines to be the recipient of affidavits of violation. If the affidavit alleges a crime has been committed, the office assisting the petitioner shall also forward a copy of the petitioner’s affidavit to the appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation. No later than 20 days after receiving the initial report, the local law enforcement agency shall complete their investigation and forward the report to the state attorney. The policy adopted by the state attorney in each circuit under s. 741.2901(2), shall include a policy regarding intake of alleged violations of injunctions for protection against domestic violence under this section. The intake shall be supervised by a prosecutor who, pursuant to s. 741.2901(1), has been designated and assigned to handle domestic violence cases. The state attorney shall determine within 30 working days whether its office will proceed to file criminal charges, or prepare a motion for an order to show cause as to why the respondent should not be held in criminal contempt, or prepare both as alternative findings, or file notice that the case remains under investigation or is pending subject to some other action.
- If the court has knowledge, based on its familiarity with the case, that the petitioner, the children of the petitioner, or another person is in immediate danger if the court fails to act prior to the decision of the state attorney to prosecute, it should immediately issue an order of appointment of the state attorney to file a motion for an order to show cause as to why the respondent should not be held in contempt. If the court does not issue an order of appointment of the state attorney, it shall immediately notify the state attorney that the court is proceeding to enforce the violation through criminal contempt.
- (a) A person who willfully violates an injunction for protection against domestic violence issued pursuant to s. 741.30, or a foreign protection order accorded full faith and credit pursuant to s. 741.315, by:
- Refusing to vacate the dwelling that the parties share;
- Going to, or being within 500 feet of, the petitioner’s residence, school, place of employment, or a specified place frequented regularly by the petitioner and any named family or household member;
- Committing an act of domestic violence against the petitioner;
- Committing any other violation of the injunction through an intentional unlawful threat, word, or act to do violence to the petitioner;
- Telephoning, contacting, or otherwise communicating with the petitioner directly or indirectly, unless the injunction specifically allows indirect contact through a third party;
- Knowingly and intentionally coming within 100 feet of the petitioner’s motor vehicle, whether or not that vehicle is occupied;
- Defacing or destroying the petitioner’s personal property, including the petitioner’s motor vehicle; or
- Refusing to surrender firearms or ammunition if ordered to do so by the court commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(b) It is a violation of s. 790.233, and a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, for a person to violate a final injunction for protection against domestic violence by having in his or her care, custody, possession, or control any firearm or ammunition.
- Whether or not there is a criminal prosecution under subsection (4), the court shall order the respondent to attend a batterers’ intervention program if it finds a willful violation of a domestic violence injunction, unless the court makes written factual findings in its judgment or order which are based on substantial evidence, stating why a batterers’ intervention program would be inappropriate.
- Any person who suffers an injury and/or loss as a result of a violation of an injunction for protection against domestic violence may be awarded economic damages for that injury and/or loss by the court issuing the injunction. Damages includes costs and attorneys’ fees for enforcement of the injunction.
An injunction for protection against domestic violence or repeat violence can be obtained in civil court based on very little evidence. Judges tend to issue injunctions based on nothing more than the word of the Petitioner. Plainly stated, injunctions are not very hard to obtain. Once an injunction is obtained, it is a first degree misdemeanor to violate that injunction.
Penalties for Violating a Domestic Violence Injunction in Florida
A person who has willfully violated an injunction for a protection against domestic violence has committed a first degree misdemeanor if he or she:
- Refuses to vacate the dwelling shared with the petitioner;
- Goes to, or is within 500 feet of the petitioner’s residence, school, job, or other specified place frequented regularly by the petitioner and any family or household member named in the injunction;
- Committed an act of domestic violence against the petitioner;
- Committed any violation of the injunction through an unlawful threat, words, or act to do violence against the petitioner;
- Communicating with the petitioner indirectly or directly through telephone, contacting, or otherwise communicating (unless the injunction specifically allows indirect contact through a third party);
- Knowingly and intentionally comes within 100 feet of the petitioner’s vehicle, regardless if it is occupied or not;
- Defaces or destroys the petitioner’s personal property, including the petitioner’s vehicle;
- Refuses to comply with surrender of firearms or ammunition against the court’s order.
This first degree misdemeanor offense is punishable by up to one year in prison and / or up to $1,000 in fines. Additionally, if the petitioner suffers an injury and / or loss due to the offender’s violation of the injunction, he or she may be ordered by economic damages, which can also include attorneys’ fees for enforcement of the domestic violence injunction.