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Protective Order Hearings

Injunctions for protection are more commonly referred to as restraining orders or protective orders. Florida allows for victims of domestic violence or other violent crimes to obtain different kinds of injunctions for protection, depending on a person’s certain circumstances.

The alleged victim seeking a restraining order is referred to as the petitioner, and the alleged offender against whom the order is being sought is referred to as the respondent. Petitioners are allowed to seek injunctions even when respondents have not been charged with criminal offenses, and alleged victims may make exaggerated or simply false accusations when seeking these protection orders.

Lawyer for Protective Order Hearings in Miami-Dade County, Florida

Were you recently served with a petition for a restraining order in South Florida? Do not say anything to authorities until you have contacted The Hoffman Firm.

Evan A. Hoffman is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Miami who represents clients accused of domestic violence offenses in Hialeah, North Miami, Aventura, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, and many surrounding areas of Miami-Dade County. Call (305) 249-0090 to have our lawyer review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free, confidential consultation.


North Miami Protective Order Hearings Information Center


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Types of Florida Protective Orders

Alleged victims can essentially file petitions for one of five types of injunctions, depending on the nature of the alleged offense and the petitioners’ relationships to the respondents.

Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence

Florida Statute § 741.30(1)(a) establishes that family or household members who are either the victims of domestic violence or have reasonable cause to believe they are in imminent danger of becoming victims of any act of domestic violence have standing in the circuit court to file a sworn petition for an injunction for protection against domestic violence. Domestic violence is defined under Florida Statute § 741.28(2) as “any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.” Family or household member is defined under Florida Statute § 741.28(3) as “spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married.” Except for persons who have a child in common, a family or household member must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.

Injunction for Protection Against Repeat Violence

Under Florida Statute § 784.046(2)(a), any person who is the victim of repeat violence or the parent or legal guardian of any minor child who is living at home and who seeks an injunction for protection against repeat violence on behalf of the minor child has standing in the circuit court to file a sworn petition for an injunction for protection against repeat violence. Repeat violence is defined under Florida Statute § 784.046(1)(b) as “two incidents of violence or stalking committed by the respondent, one of which must have been within six months of the filing of the petition, which are directed against the petitioner or the petitioner’s immediate family member.”

Injunction for Protection Against Dating Violence

Florida Statute § 784.046(2)(b) states that a person who is the victim of dating violence and has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of another act of dating violence, or any person who has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of an act of dating violence, or the parent or legal guardian of any minor child who is living at home and who seeks an injunction for protection against dating violence on behalf of that minor child, has standing in the circuit court to file a sworn petition for an injunction for protection against dating violence. Dating violence is defined under Florida Statute § 784.046(1)(d) as “violence between individuals who have or have had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.”

The existence of such a relationship is determined based on the consideration of the following factors:

  • A dating relationship must have existed within the past six months;
  • The nature of the relationship must have been characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement between the parties; and
  • The frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship must have included that the persons have been involved over time and on a continuous basis during the course of the relationship.

Dating violence does not include “violence in a casual acquaintanceship or violence between individuals who only have engaged in ordinary fraternization in a business or social context.”

Injunction for Protection Against Sexual Violence

Under Florida Statute § 784.046(2)(c), a person who is the victim of sexual violence or the parent or legal guardian of a minor child who is living at home who is the victim of sexual violence has standing in the circuit court to file a sworn petition for an injunction for protection against sexual violence on his or her own behalf or on behalf of the minor child if:

  • The person has reported the sexual violence to a law enforcement agency and is cooperating in any criminal proceeding against the respondent, regardless of whether criminal charges based on the sexual violence have been filed, reduced, or dismissed by the state attorney; or
  • The respondent who committed the sexual violence against the victim or minor child was sentenced to a term of imprisonment in state prison for the sexual violence and the respondent’s term of imprisonment has expired or is due to expire within 90 days following the date the petition is filed.

Florida Statute § 784.046(1)(b) defines sexual violence as any one incident of the following, regardless of whether criminal charges based on the incident were filed, reduced, or dismissed by the state attorney:

  • a lewd or lascivious act committed upon or in the presence of a person younger than 16 years of age;
  • luring or enticing a child;
  • sexual performance by a child; or
  • any other forcible felony wherein a sexual act is committed or attempted.

Injunction for Protection Against Stalking

Florida Statute § 784.046(2)(b) provides that a person who is the victim of stalking or the parent or legal guardian of a minor child who is living at home who seeks an injunction for protection against stalking on behalf of the minor child has standing in the circuit court to file a sworn petition for an injunction for protection against stalking. For the purposes of injunctions for protection against stalking, the offense of stalking includes the offense of cyberstalking.

An alleged offender commits the offense of stalking under Florida Statute § 784.048(2) if he or she “willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person.” Cyberstalk is defined under Florida Statute § 784.048(1)(d) as “to engage in a course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose.”


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Protective Order Hearing Process in Miami

Injunctions for protection are civil proceedings to which the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure and the Florida Rules of Evidence apply. When an alleged victim files a petition, a judge will either deny the petition, issue a temporary (ex parte) injunction that is in effect until the hearing (no longer than 15 days), or sign an order setting a hearing on the petition for injunction for protection without the issuance of an interim temporary injunction.

Temporary injunctions are rarely denied out of simple concern for the well-being of the petitioners. Additionally, decisions are based entirely on information presented by the petitioners since respondents do not need to be present for ex parte hearings.

Before a judge can enter a permanent injunction against a respondent, the court must hold a final hearing. At this hearing, both the petitioner and the respondent can provide testimony, present evidence, and/or call witnesses.

If a judge issues a final order of injunction for the petitioner, it can be in effect for a set period of time or have no expiration date. An injunction for protection can order any of the following:

  • Immediately restrain the respondent from committing any acts of domestic violence;
  • Award to the petitioner the temporary exclusive use and possession of the dwelling that the parties share or excluding the respondent from the residence of the petitioner;
  • Direct the respondent to participate in a batterers’ intervention program or other treatment pursuant to Florida Statute § 39.901;
  • Provide the petitioner with 100 percent of the time-sharing in a temporary parenting plan that remains in effect until the order expires or an order is entered by a court of competent jurisdiction in a pending or subsequent civil action or proceeding affecting the placement of, access to, parental time with, adoption of, or parental rights and responsibilities for the minor child;
  • Establish temporary support for a minor child or children or the petitioner that remains in effect until the order expires or an order is entered by a court of competent jurisdiction in a pending or subsequent civil action or proceeding affecting child support;
  • Order the respondent to participate in treatment, intervention, or counseling services to be paid for by the respondent;
  • Not go to, or be within 500 feet of, the petitioner’s residence, school, place of employment, or a specified place frequented regularly by the petitioner and any named family or household member;
  • Not telephone, contact, or otherwise communicate with the petitioner directly or indirectly, unless the injunction specifically allows indirect contact through a third party;
  • Not deface or destroy the petitioner’s personal property, including the petitioner’s motor vehicle; and/or
  • Surrender firearms or ammunition.

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Florida Protective Order Hearing Resources

Filing a Restraining Order | Clerk of Courts | Miami-Dade County — On this section of the Clerk of Courts website, you can learn more about filing an injunction for domestic violence. The Clerk's Office is authorized to provide clerical assistance for preparing and filing a petition for an injunction, and a victim can save time by completing the Domestic Violence Intake Questionnaire before visiting the office. You can find the four locations that victims of domestic or repeat violence are referred to.

Miami-Dade County Clerk of Courts
Domestic Violence Office
175 NW First Ave.
Miami, FL 33128
(305) 275-1155

Special Victims Bureau | Miami-Dade County — The Special Victims Bureau is an investigative bureau within the Criminal Investigations Division of the Miami-Dade Police Department that is staffed 24 hours, 7 days a week, to provide an immediate response along with follow-up criminal investigations to allegations of sexual and domestic crimes. Victim Advocates assigned to the bureau offer victims emotional support and crisis intervention as well as referrals for other long term needs. Visit this website to find additional information about the Special Victims Bureau.

Special Victims Bureau
1701 NW 87th Ave., Suite 100
Doral, FL 33172
(305) 715-3333


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The Hoffman Firm | Miami Protective Order Hearing Defense Attorney

If you have been served in South Florida with a petition for any kind of injunction for protection, it will be in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. The Hoffman Firm defends individuals throughout Miami-Dade County, including Homestead, Key Biscayne, Miami, Opa-locka, South Miami, Doral, and several other nearby communities.

Miami criminal defense lawyer Evan A. Hoffman can help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible sanctions. He can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (305) 249-0090 or complete an online contact form to take advantage of a free initial consultation.


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Free Consultation

All fields are required. The use of this form for communication with our personnel does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Evan A. Hoffman

Evan A. Hoffman

Mr. Hoffman’s philosophy is "our knowledge and experience is your best defense." He has been a featured author on criminal law issues such as driving under the influence, domestic violence and illegal searches.

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