Florida Temporary Restraining Order Attorneys
Serving You and The State of Florida
There are situations where you may need a restraining order. Legal experts often put these orders in place to protect an individual from abuse, including threats, stalking, and other forms of harassment. A restraining order is the best course of action if an abuser won’t leave you alone when you’ve made it clear you don’t want to communicate with them. There are other uses for a temporary restraining order, such as gaining custody of a minor and removing them from an unsafe situation or having an abuser attend a counseling program.
If you’ve found yourself in a situation calling for a temporary restraining order, you shouldn’t wait. The sooner you reach out to the Lopez Law Group, the sooner we can stop your order recipient from harassing you. We have many years of experience handling abuse cases in St. Petersburg, Fl, and we know we can help you feel safe again. If you’re ready to learn more about temporary restraining orders and the process of getting one, you’ll want to keep reading.
Temporary Restraining Orders VS Permanent Restraining Orders in Florida
First, you should understand the difference between temporary and permanent restraining orders. Both orders prevent an abuser from interacting with you in the same ways. However, the main difference between the orders is the length of time they’re in effect.
Temporary restraining orders don’t last as long, but you can receive one quickly in an emergency. A judge determines how long a permanent order lasts, but they’re always longer than temporary restraining orders. On average, you can expect a temporary order to last around two weeks. During that time, you’ll want to apply for a permanent one if you expect the abuser to make contact after the temporary order passes.
Whether you believe you need a permanent order or not, it’s always good to start with a temporary one. Doing so gives you time to work with a legal team and determine what steps you need to take next.
Deciding If a Temporary Restraining Order is Right For You
In Pinellas County, filing for a temporary restraining order is free, and you don’t need an attorney to do so. Any person can get a temporary restraining order at any time. Our legal experts are here to assist you through the process and can help you obtain a permanent order if you want to pursue one.
Temporary restraining orders protect you from various forms of abuse. You’ll want one if you’re in a situation where you feel afraid due to harassment, violence, or stalking. The restraining order will protect you from further abuse and require the abuser to vacate or stay away from your home. You can also get a restraining order for a child to protect them in the same way.
Consider getting one if any of these situations apply to you:
- Repeat harassment or assault
- Sexual assault
- Domestic abuse
- Stalking (including online or cyberstalking)
- Destruction of property
However, a judge can add any items to that list, allowing you to create a restraining order that better meets your needs.
Other Solutions Besides a Temporary Restraining Order
Our criminal law team at Lopez Law can help you determine the best legal solution to keep you safe. Often, if you feel you need to get a temporary restraining order, there are no other easy solutions. You need to have the temporary order in place while you work on getting the permanent one.
Sometimes, you can get a permanent order immediately, but they take longer for the courts to process. An abuser might lash out during that time, so pursuing a temporary order is always safer. The Pinellas County Clerk lists all the different forms on their webpage; you’ll need to choose the correct one to receive protection from a judge. Remember, it’s free to apply, so you can do it right now to start the process.
You can always contact our legal experts with questions you have about getting a temporary restraining order. Once the order is in place, you might consider taking legal action against the abuser for damages.
Steps To Get a Temporary Restraining Order in Florida
Before applying for a temporary restraining order, you’ll want to ensure you have some evidence of abuse. The court will almost always approve a temporary order right away.
You must act quickly once you’ve determined you need a temporary restraining order. You can use these steps to get one quickly:
1. Choose the Correct Type
First, you need to make sure that you choose the correct type of restraining order. Otherwise, it’s very unlikely that the judge will approve it. These are the types:
- Domestic violence: You live with the order recipient or have a child with them.
- Repeat violence: There are at least two occurrences of violence or stalking, with one happening within the last six months.
- Dating violence: You are or were in a relationship with the order recipient. (If you live or have lived together, choose the domestic violence order instead of this one.)
- Stalking: The order recipient is stalking you either in-person, online, or both.
- Sexual violence: The order recipient committed sexual violence and/or assault against you.
You can also apply for these temporary restraining orders on behalf of a minor in your care.
2. Print and File the Order
Next, you’ll need to complete the temporary order application and file it properly. You must ensure you also file it in the correct place. For those living in St. Petersburg, FL., or anywhere else in the state, you can file your documents on the Florida Courts E-Filing Authority Website.
You can also bring your restraining order documents in person to one of these Pinellas County Clerk’s Offices:
- 545 First Avenue North, Room 154 St. Petersburg, FL 33701
- 315 Court Street, Room 170 Clearwater, FL 33756
- 14250 49th Street North Clearwater, FL 33762
Sometimes, you don’t want the abuser/order recipient to know your personal address. When filling out the temporary restraining order forms, you’ll want to list your address as “Confidential.” Then, fill out a “request for confidential filing of address” form— doing so will keep the recipient and others from learning your address. The courts will also keep it off of public record for you.
However, the courts require the recipient’s address so they can serve the paperwork to them. If they never receive the paperwork in writing, your temporary restraining order will never be effective.
You’ll receive your temporary restraining order at this step. The courts may require a hearing, or you might choose to proceed with getting a permanent order.
3. Receive a Court Ruling
Courts issue temporary restraining orders quickly. Depending on what time you file, you may even receive yours the same day. You’ll want to submit the paperwork as soon as possible to get protection quickly. Additionally, you’ll want to consider bringing your application to a County Clerk’s Office so you don’t have to wait for it to go through the mail.
There are a few possible court rulings, but there are two common ones. The first is that your restraining order is approved. A date for a hearing is set within 15 days of the filing. Second, the courts deny your temporary restraining order, which is more likely to happen when you don’t have evidence or fill out the incorrect forms. We recommend you contact our legal team for assistance if this happens.
However, the courts may deny the restraining order but still set a hearing date. You’ll want to ensure you’re safe and prepared to appear in court if that occurs.
4. Appear in Court
Depending on the ruling, you may have to appear in court for the restraining order to come into effect. If you don’t attend, you won’t receive approval for the order. In many cases, the temporary restraining order also expires on the court date. So, you want to be present to show evidence of abuse to gain a longer restraining order from a judge. You automatically lose protection from the order if you are not there for the hearing.
You and the recipient of the order will both have an opportunity to present evidence to the court. Our legal experts can help you gather evidence, including witnesses, texts, medical records, and police reports.
The judge will then decide if they should issue a permanent restraining order on your behalf.
5. Enforce Your Restraining Order
You’ll want to carefully read over your restraining order, which we can help you understand. It will list the protections you received and what counts as a violation against those terms. Once you have a restraining order, you must always have it with you.
If the recipient violates the order, a few different things can happen. The recipient might be in contempt of court or face a criminal charge. Our legal experts can determine what action to pursue, depending on how the restraining order was violated.
You’ll need to understand your restraining order completely to enforce it. Otherwise, you may not realize when the recipient has broken it. Never hesitate to contact the Lopez Law Group with questions on this subject.
What To Do After Filing a Temporary Restraining Order
First and foremost, you must ensure that you and your loved ones are someplace safe. The court acts quickly with temporary orders, so it won’t take long for your recipient to get it.
Once you have a temporary restraining order, you’ll likely want to get a permanent one. The temporary order probably won’t last long enough for you to feel safe, especially in cases of extreme abuse. We want you to be safe, so we recommend pursuing legal action against the abuser and getting a permanent restraining order. This process is vital when filing on behalf of a minor, as they can’t pursue action without an adult.
What To Do If Served a Temporary Restraining Order
Conversely, maybe you received a temporary restraining order. Feeling hurt is normal, but you mustn’t act on it. We recommend contacting our experts for legal advice before you do anything else, as you don’t want to violate the order. These restraining orders don’t last long, and you’ll need to follow them until the scheduled hearing date.
Next, you’ll want to respond to the temporary restraining order. You need it to be very detailed and submitted before the deadline. Otherwise, it’ll look bad for your case. If you believe the restraining order was sent by someone to threaten you, we recommend you also file a restraining order against that person.
Then, you’ll want to start gathering evidence, which we recommend doing with an experienced lawyer. The evidence can include texts or online messages, images, witness testimony, and more. Our legal experts can determine what evidence is best for your case.
Finally, you’ll need to be present at the hearing. If you don’t go, the court will automatically fall in favor of the restraining order’s sender. One of our experts can attend to represent you if you can’t go that day. We can also be present with you during the hearing to provide the legal support you’ll need.
In short, if you receive a temporary restraining order, you must follow it, even if you believe you didn’t deserve to receive it. A law specialist will fight for you when you receive one wrongfully, so nothing comes of it.
Temporary Restraining Orders Are Best Handled by Legal Experts
You should seek our legal support if you’re in an abusive situation. While you can file the temporary restraining order independently, you’ll need legal guidance to determine what steps to take next. Since a temporary order is usually only two weeks long, you’ll want to begin the process of getting a permanent one for protection once it expires.
Having our legal experts on your side makes the process less stressful. Plus, every situation is different, and you’ll want guidance. For example, there are different steps to take depending on your relationship with the abuser and what forms of abuse they performed. If children are involved, that makes seeking legal guidance even more crucial. Overall, we’re here to ensure you receive the protection you need.
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What Our Clients Say
Mr. Lopez was a Godsend and really helped me with my situation. Him and the entire firm were very diligent and helped speed the early stages of the process along due to a pressing situation. Throughout my experience working with the firm, they were always responsive and available any time I had a question or wanted to check on the state of affairs. Hopefully I won’t have to recommend Lopez Law Group to my friends or family, but if those unfortunate circumstances arise then there’s only one name I would trust. Thank you again for all your help!
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