What Happens When A Domestic Violence Injunction is Violated?

After a domestic violence injunction has been granted, it remains in effect according to the terms and conditions of the judge's ruling.  These terms and conditions of a domestic violence injunction can have a severe impact on person's daily life.  The impact can be felt in the following areas; timesharing schedules with their children, imposition of child support obligations, restrictions on a person's ability to visit certain people and places, and conditions on attending counseling sessions.

Often times a party fails to abide by the judge's ruling and a violation occurs.  Florida Statute § 741.30(9)(a) provides that a violation of the protective provisions of an injunction against domestic violence may be prosecuted in a contempt hearing before the domestic violence judge or as a criminal violation.  Many people are unaware of the significance of a violation and the criminal prosecution which may follow.

A person may be charged with a misdemeanor in the event they have violated the terms and conditions of their domestic violence injunction.  The most common type of violation leading to a criminal prosecution includes a scenario where the Respondent (whom the injunction has been entered against) has illegally contacted or interfered with the Petitioner (whom the injunction was designed to protect).  In this case, the State Attorney's Office would have the discretion to file a criminal domestic violence charge against the Respondent. 

In the event the State Attorney's Office filed a criminal charge, the Respondent would face additional criminal sanctions.  These sanctions include a jail sentence, probation, fines, community service, and other restrictions imposed by the criminal judge.  It is important to note that while the criminal case is pending, the original conditions of the domestic violence injunction remain in place and the Respondent is still subject to the civil court's contempt powers.

Because of the criminal charges a violation may bring, it is important for a party to work with his or her attorney in order to ensure that they understand the conditions of the injunction, the severity of a violation, and what is required by the court in regard to the terms and conditions of their particular injunction.  If you have been served with a domestic violence injunction, seek the representation of a skilled and experienced Tampa domestic violence attorney immediately.