What Happens if There is a Violation of a Florida Civil Restraining Order

Violating restraining orders and orders of protection are criminal offenses, although they are initiated by a civil court. 

Penalties for Violation of Restraining Order

If you violate a restraining order in Florida, you could face a first-degree misdemeanor charge. This could lead to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. If the charge(s) include aggravated stalking, the accused can face up to 15 years in prison. The restraining order remains until court modification, even if the victim and accused have reconciled. To clarify, any contact violates the order unless the court modifies or dismisses it.

Arrested for Violating a “No Contact” Order 

Restrictive injunctions can take several forms – domestic violence injunctions, restraining orders, protective orders, and others. While the details of each injunction can vary, they all require that the offender have no contact with the accuser. According to Florida Statute §741.31(4)(a), violations of a “no contact” order include:

  1. Any contact with the victim, including phone calls and electronic contact. 
  2. Being physically too close to the victim.
  3. Remaining in the shared residence after being ordered to vacate.
  4. Being in possession of firearms and ammunition.

If the restraining order includes these terms, the offender might face criminal and additional charges, such as stalking.

The Right to Challenge a Protective Order

The accused does have the right to challenge the details of the protective injunction. The accused must obey the order until a court permits otherwise.In such an event, a criminal attorney can offer advice regarding the best available legal options. 

A restraining order is a serious matter. It will be revealed on background checks and could prevent the accused from getting employment, or perhaps housing. That is why the advice of an attorney can be very important. 

Defenses for Violating a Protective Injunction 

There are times relationships turn bitter, and false accusations do happen, even without evidence. Some people can make unfounded claims. Violations of injunction can happen for the following reasons:

  1. If the accused has no knowledge of the injunction and was unaware that he or she violated any of its mandates.
  2. If the violation was unintentional, as in the accused accidentally being in the same place as the accuser.
  3. If the contact was through a third party without the knowledge or consent of the accused, i.e., if a friend of the accused repeated a comment or electronic communication with the accuser/victim.
  4. Violating the injunction can be an innocent error or misunderstanding.
  5. An accused may face conflicting orders, such as child visitation mandates and no-contact orders with the accuser.

The above are possible defenses again a violation of a restrictive injunction, or the accuser can try plea bargaining with the prosecution. A defense attorney can offer the best advice.

Restraining Orders in the State of Florida

Any victim of violence in the State of Florida can request protection by filing a petition with the court. The court has the option of issuing a temporary or a final injunction for protection.

A temporary injunction is an immediate emergency order of protection for the victim and his or her family. It can be ordered for a certain amount of time but no longer than two weeks. Prior to its expiration date, the court will hold a formal hearing to determine whether a final injunction should be granted. After hearing more facts, the judge may add or subtract conditions from the original temporary order. Some final injunctions have an expiration date while others require another hearing to modify the order.

It can be a serious mistake for an accuser to defend and represent him or herself in these matters. It is always advisable to consult with an experienced attorney.


Violating a restrictive injunction is a serious matter. The injunctions are ordered by a civil court, but any violations turn the order into a criminal matter that can remain a part of the accused’s permanent record. It is best to discuss any problems with a restraining order with an expert attorney before they turn more serious. 

National Hotline for Domestic Violence: 800-799-7233

For Miami-Dade, Florida Domestic Violence Victim & Related Services:

24 Hour Florida Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-500-1119; TTY: 1-800-621-4202

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233); TTY: 1-800-787-3224

Florida Department of Children & Families: 1-800-96-ABUSE (22873), http://www.dcf.state.fl.us

 DV Shelters:

Victim Response Inc/The Lodge (305) 693-1170, thelodgemiami.org

North Dade Victim Center (Safespace Shelter North) (305) 758-2546

South Dade Victim Center (Safespace Shelter South) (305) 247-4249

Coordinated Victims Assistance Center (CVAC): 2400 S. Dixie Hwy, Miami, FL 33133; (305) 285-5900

Survivor’s Pathway: 1801 Coral Way, Miami, FL 33145; (786) 275-4364

Clerk of Courts (DV Division)

Lawson E. Thomas Court House Center (main / downtown courthouse): 175 NW 1st Avenue, Miami, FL 33128 (mezzanine / M floor): (305) 349-5813

Hialeah Courthouse: (305) 520-4002

South Dade Government Center: (305) 252-5807

North Dade Justice Center: (305) 354-8736

Joseph Caleb Center: (305) 636-2415

The legal process can get difficult, which is why we always recommend that you seek the assistance of counsel; or at least have a consultation. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today to review the issues of your case, the legal options you may have, and certain rights that pertain to your unique situation.

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