Domestic violence issues are some of the most serious infractions under Florida law. Having a domestic violence history can lead to the other person seeking a restraining order against you. Note that a restraining order and a domestic violence injunction are the same thing. At ASG, we have many decades of experience representing people who are involved in domestic violence issues within the Destin area. The Domestic Violence Injunction Court is a very busy one, with new cases coming through there every day.
One thing that people in this situation often ask is “how do I get a restraining order dismissed”? Is it possible? Let us look at why a restraining order is issued in the first place.
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Situations That Call for the Filing of a Restraining Order
Whether you are involved in a divorce, child custody battles, or just living in a violent situation, some situations qualify for a restraining order. These are:
- Criminal trespass
- Criminal mischief
- Criminal sexual contact
- Lewdness or sexual assault
- Kidnapping, criminal restraint or false imprisonment
Many Florida restraining orders are based on allegations made by a spouse, co-parent, or girlfriend or boyfriend. Many times they are ignored by the party which has been served, because that party believes it to be meritless. A restraining order, once issued, can have a dramatic impact on the person who is served. It can impact a person’s future employment, housing, parent-child relationships, ability to own or possess a firearm and more.
Having the Restraining Order / Injunction Dismissed or Dissolved
The length of a domestic violence injunction will vary from one case to another. Under Florida Law, a Circuit Court judge can decide that a restraining order can be permanent, meaning it is in full effect forever.
Either party can ask the court to modify or even dissolve the injunction. What you cannot do is change the terms of a restraining order that is already in place.
To get a restraining order dismissed, it is advised you obtain legal counsel. Your Destin attorney would set a hearing and you go before the judge to petition the court to dissolve the injunction.
There are factors on your side that would warrant reasons to dismiss a restraining order. The factors that the injunction was based on may no longer be true. You could demonstrate that you have moved on with your life, taken a responsible job, pay your bills, do not get into trouble, or no longer pose a threat.
One of the most persuasive ways to get the court on your side is to show a “change in circumstances” since the injunction was granted. This means that one party has moved from the local area, that the parties involved want to reconcile, or that an extended period has gone by since the injunction first went into effect.
When you are wondering how to get a restraining order removed, you may think that the person who obtained the injunction can just end or waive the terms of it and that’s that. But, that is not the way it works. The only way a restraining order can be dismissed or modified is through a court hearing with a judge.
Over time, the person who brought the injunction against you may want to have contact with you again. If you see this person while there is a restraining order in place, however, you can still have a criminal charge brought against you. Law enforcement could arrest you and charge you with a violation of the injunction, even though the other person wants contact with you. Only a court and the judge can decide whether or not you can have contact again.
If you wish to have the restraining order dismissed, your legal counsel will have to set up a hearing before the appropriate judge and give notice to all parties involved. During the hearing, the judge will make an inquiry to determine if lifting the injunction is the best thing to do.
It must be decided whether lifting the injunction is in the best interests of the other party. And is it in the best interest of the State? Yes, the state of Florida has an interest here as well because the state shoulders some responsibility to protect its citizens. If the other party wants to resume contact with you, you will probably be able to have the judge agree to dissolve the restraining order.
Violating the Restraining Order
Keep in mind that, in Florida, a violation of an injunction is a first-degree misdemeanor. The maximum penalty carries with it a $1,000 fine and as many as 365 days in jail. Violating an injunction is a serious crime. You’ve broken the law. It doesn’t matter that you are looking into how to remove a protection order; if it hasn’t gone through yet, the restraining order is still in full effect and you can be criminally charged.
If you violate the terms of a restraining order, the opposing side, also known as the prosecutor, will cite you as a person who has total disregard for the law, as well as having a disregard to the Court. They will be concerned that you will violate the terms of injunction again and again.
These days, judges often send messages by imposing strict sentences on anyone who violates a restraining order. They are unlikely to look on your case as something special or different. You broke the law and that is all there is to it.
If you live in or around Destin and are looking to have your restraining order dismissed or dissolved, speak with a qualified attorney before you do anything. At Anchors Smith Grimsley, we will go over the facts and thoroughly review all the circumstances of your case. There could be legal or factual defenses that can be called into play. There may be mitigating circumstances. Leave it to the experts to sort it all out for you. Never try to take the law into your own hands. It could cost you, not just today, but in various ways in your future.
Get in touch with Anchors Smith Grimsley at (850) 863-4064 today for help with a domestic violence injunction.
We also serve Fort Walton Beach and surrounding areas.