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The Basics Of Protective Orders In Florida And Beyond

by | May 5, 2022 | Criminal Law

Florida law has several protections for survivors of domestic abuse written into its statutes. Protective orders in Florida are commonly used in situations where domestic violence is alleged, and those protective orders have stout penalties for those who violate them. Here’s what you need to know about protective orders in Florida.


Generally, protective orders come in three flavors:

  • Emergency protection orders,
  • protection orders, and
  • restraining orders.

Although the orders themselves may not necessarily stop domestic violence from happening again, the orders give the victims recourse to contact law enforcement if the subject of the order is near and they give police grounds from removing people who may have a tendency to commit violence from the potential victim’s area.

Emergency Protection Order

Many jurisdictions have protective orders that can be issued by law enforcement, which are known as emergency protection orders. Emergency protection orders typically are issued after an alleged abuser is arrested for a domestic violence charge, and those orders are usually short in duration, typically for not more than one week. Florida does not have provisions for an emergency protection order on its books.

Protection Order

Every jurisdiction has provisions for an order issued by a judge for a suspected domestic abuser to stay away from his or her alleged victim for an extended period of time. In Florida the instrument is formally known as an injunction for protection against domestic violence, but the result is the same – an order from a judge to stay away from another person for a prescribed period.

In Florida, a protective order may be issued against an individual for committing the following acts against another

  • Assault,
  • aggravated assault,
  • sexual assault,
  • battery,
  • aggravated battery,
  • sexual battery,
  • stalking,
  • aggravated stalking,
  • kidnapping,
  • false imprisonment, or
  • any other crime that leads to physical injury or death.

Protective orders in Florida may be issued to protect those in a close relationship with the alleged abuser, including

A current spouse, a former spouse, a relative by blood, a relative by marriage, a current co-habitant, a former co-habitant, or the other parent of a child.

Florida’s protective orders fall into three categories

  • Dating violence,
  • repeat violence, and
  • sexual violence.

To obtain a protective order for dating violence, the two individuals must have been in a long-term relationship in the last six months in which sexual involvement was expected.

For a protection order in Florida on the grounds of repeat violence, the subject of the order must have committed at least two instances of the violent crimes listed above, with the most recent occurring within six months of the filing for the order.

A protection order for sexual violence in Florida may be granted if the subject committed

  • Sexual battery,
  • lewd or lascivious act on a child under age 16,
  • luring or enticing a child,
  • sexual performance by a child, or
  • any forcible sexual felony or an attempt of the same.

Restraining Order

A restraining order is an order by a judge to do or not do a thing. Some restraining orders are part of a family law case, but a restraining order can be issued by a judge for a wide range of other reasons in cases not involving family court.

Often a restraining order is issued “ex parte,” or by one party without informing the other party. In such a case, the other party is offered the opportunity to argue against the restraining order at a later date.


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