The courts issue injunctions for protection when a person abuses or threatens another. There are five different types of injunctions in Florida, and violating any of these is a crime. The consequences of violating an injunction include jail time, fines and, in some cases, participation in a treatment or intervention program. However, someone who has a charge for this crime can avoid the penalties of the conviction by proving their innocence in court.
Injunction orders exist to protect victims from possible or actual harm. There are five different types of injunctions available in Florida, and the court issues each one depending on the petitioner’s circumstances. The five types of protective injunctions are:
- Injunction for protection against domestic violence
- Injunction for protection against sexual violence
- Injunction for protection against dating violence
- Injunction for protection against repeated violence
- Injunction for protection against stalking
Violating any of these injunctions is a misdemeanor of the first degree. The court punishes misdemeanors of the first degree with a sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,000. However, if the respondent had two or more prior convictions for violating an injunction, they commit a felony of the third degree. The penalties for third-degree felonies are a fine of a maximum of $5,000 and a sentence of up to 5 years in prison.
Acts that violate an injunction
The injunction can include various prohibitions for the accused, which the court will set depending on the circumstances of the case. A person violates an injunction when they willingly do something that the injunction prohibits them from doing. The law states that a person violates an injunction when they:
- Refuse to leave the house where they live with the petitioner
- Go to, or be within 500 feet of, the petitioner’s residence, school, place of employment or any other place that the petitioner frequently goes to
- Harm the petitioner
- Threat the petitioner
- Call or contact the petitioner in any way
- Go within 100 feet of the petitioner’s motor vehicle
- Destroy the petitioner’s property
- Refuse to surrender firearms or ammunition if the court ordered them to do so
A person will commit a crime if they violate the order in any of these ways. The accused could also face an additional criminal charge if they harmed the petitioner.
If you have a criminal charge for violating an injunction, you still have hope. A criminal charge does not necessarily lead to a conviction, and the court could release your charges if you prove your innocence to them. You may be innocent if you did not violate the injunction willingly, made unintentional contact with the petitioner or were not aware of the scope of the injunction’s prohibitions. There are also other possible defenses that you could use in court, and an experienced criminal lawyer could tell you which one to use depending on your case. Not everything is lost, and you still have time to fight for your freedom.