Restraining order. No contact order. Protective order. Regardless of what it is called, it is designed to have the same effect. These are court orders that prohibit a certain individual from having contact or physically being within a certain distance from the individual named on the order. These orders are issued frequently in domestic violence cases where the victim feels imminently threatened by the offender. Florida law has many possible changes on the table with regards to domestic violence law, including enhanced electronic monitoring procedures and additional enforcement of no contact orders. Another recommended provision would increase the punishments of repeat domestic violence offenders.
The (Proposed) New Law Versus The Old Law
The proposed legislation advanced by Florida Representative Jose Rodriguez aims to increase the punishments of repeat domestic violence offenders and, in turn, strives to improve compliance with court orders. The way the law is written now allows for violators of protective orders to be continually hit with misdemeanor offenses, which, even when more than one is acquired, will often lead the offender back on the streets, free to again harm the victim. Representative Rodriguez noted the deterrent effect he hopes enactment of this bill will have, emphasizing that the current law allows for repeat offenders to not be subjected to any increased penalties. While protective orders exist for reasons other than domestic violence allegations, this is by far the most common reason behind their issuance. Protective orders are often issued on an emergency basis, when a victim can provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that his or her life is in danger, or the lives of his or her children. The Florida Statute, under Chapter 471, Section 741.30 states that any person who is either the victim of domestic violence as defined by law “or has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of any act of domestic violence, has standing in circuit court to file a sworn petition for an injunction of protection against domestic violence.” The new law would leave these standards for issuance of protective orders untouched, but would increase the penalties for violating them. The first two offenses would still be misdemeanors, but under the new proposed law, the third would be a felony. Felonies carry significantly longer jail sentences, fines, probationary periods, and impact the offender’s personal and professional life more profoundly.
Florida Domestic Violence Criminal Defense Attorneys
Being accused of a domestic violence offense, including an alleged violation of a protective order can be frightening, embarrassing, and can have a significant impact on your future. Having experienced legal counsel on your side to advise you of your rights, responsibilities, and options is the best way to ensure that your charges are minimized or dismissed to the extent possible. At Moses & Rooth, our experienced domestic violence defense attorneys will confidently, confidentially, and non-judgmentally advocate on your behalf for the best possible outcome given your unique set of circumstances. We will explore all options if you qualify for probation, diversion programs, or a dismissal of charges. If you have been accused of a domestic violence crime, or if you have violated the terms of a protective order, contact our Orlando or New Smyrna Beach office to learn more about your legal rights as a criminal defendant in Florida.