What are the Penalties for Violating a Restraining Order in Florida?


A restraining order, known in Florida as an order of protection, is a legal order that requires an individual to not have any contact with another individual. A restraining order can also require an individual to move out of the home he or she shares with the party who obtains the order as well as surrender any firearms and ammunition in his or her possession to authorities. This is done to ensure that the party who seeks the order is safe from violent attacks at the hands of an alleged abuser.

Violating a restraining order can have criminal penalties for an individual. In most cases, the violation is charged as a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. When a violation is committed in conjunction with another offense, however, such as stalking, those charges can come with even steeper penalties.

What if I Did Not Know There was a Restraining Order in Place Against Me?

When an order of protection is issued, the individual against whom it is opened, known as the respondent, is served with paperwork explaining the order. For that reason, if a restraining order exists against you, you should already know about it. If you were not properly served with the restraining order, though, you may be able to challenge any allegation that you violated its terms by proving that you never actually received the paperwork for the order in the first place.

You can find out if there are any orders of protection in place against you right now by searching on your county court’s website. If you are ever unsure about the status of a restraining order, check online or have your Florida criminal defense lawyer check online for you. Never ask the person who took out the order against you about its status – if the order is still active, contacting that person would be a violation of the order.

What if the Person who Sought the Restraining Order Violates it?

It might sound crazy, but you can be charged with violating your order of protection if the party who sought it contacts you against your will. Although it is rare for an individual to be arrested and charged in this situation, it can happen. If your former partner or another party associated with him or her, such as a friend or family member, attempts to contact you while a restraining order is in place, do not respond to that communication. Instead, report the attempted contact to your lawyer. Having documentation of all attempts to violate your restraining order can help you defend your rights if you are charged with a violation.

Work with an Experienced Gainesville Criminal Defense Lawyer

When a restraining order is put in place against you, obey it at all costs — even if you feel it is unfair or unwarranted. Failure to comply with the restraining order’s terms can lead to criminal penalties for you. If you are charged with violating a restraining order, contact our team of experienced criminal defense lawyers at The AP Law Group today to schedule your initial consultation with us.