What Do I Do If My Spouse Violates a Restraining Order or Temporary Injunction?
Being fearful of one’s spouse is an unsettling thought, yet a reality that thousands of women and men across the United States deal with daily. If a spouse is abusive or the threat of harm is present, an individual in Florida can seek a protective order or temporary injunction (also known as a restraining order). These orders are meant to protect the plaintiff (abused party) from abuse or threat of abuse from the defendant, and prevent the defendant from contacting the plaintiff, approaching them, entering a shared home, owning a weapon, and more.
While protective orders and temporary injunctions are designed to prevent abusive spouses from causing harm, they are not foolproof, and sometimes, these orders are violated. If your spouse violates a protective order or temporary injunction in Florida, you should act immediately.
Call the Police
If your spouse violates a protective order with the intent to harm you, or if you believe yourself to be at risk of bodily injury, you should call the police. Your spouse has a legal duty to refrain from contacting you; if this duty is breached and you feel threatened or scared for your wellbeing or the wellbeing of a loved one, do not hesitate to call the police immediately.
When you call the police, be sure to tell them that you have an injunction for protection against domestic violence, and have a copy of the injunction on you to show the police upon their arrival.
Report the Violation to the Circuit Court in Your County
As found in Florida Statutes Section 741.31, “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 will help you to prepare an affidavit of support of the violation, which will then be forwarded to the appropriate court or judge, as well as the appropriate law enforcement agency if a crime has been committed. From there, the law enforcement agency has 20 days to complete an investigation, and the defendant may be prosecuted and charged with criminal contempt.
As outlined in the same statute in Florida code, the violation of a domestic violence order of protection is a crime, and it is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor. This charge could result in jail time and a large fine.
Call an Attorney Experienced in Family Law and Domestic Violence Cases
If your spouse breaches an order of protection by contacting you, destroying any property owned by you, refusing to give up their firearms, etc., they are in violation of a law, and may face criminal consequences as such. But this can also affect your life from a non-criminal perfective, and as such, it is important that you contact a skilled family lawyer with experience in domestic violence cases if you have not done so already. Your attorney can help you to ensure that your domestic violence order of protection is enforced, and guide you through other important legal issues, such as filing for divorce, seeking custody of your children, ensuring that you can keep your home or other property, and seeking child custody and spousal maintenance.
Our Legal Team Is Here to Support You
At the law offices of Crystal Collins Spencer, Attorney at Law, our legal team is here to provide you with the qualified support you’re looking for. We understand how terrifying being a victim of domestic violence can be, especially if your spouse has violated a protection order or temporary injunction.
To learn more about your legal options and what you can do to protect your future and the future of any children you have, please call us as soon as possible at 850-912-8080. You can also visit one of our three locations in Pensacola, Sandestin, or Fort Walton Beach, or send us a message using the contact form on our website. We are here to support you.