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What are the penalties for violating a restraining order?

No couple or family is perfect, and fights and disputes are very likely to happen at some point. While these are common events in any type of relationship, there are some disputes that are not acceptable. When an argument turns violent or involves threats of harm, it could be considered a domestic abuse matter. When such an event occurs, it is likely that the victim will file for a restraining order in an attempt to prevent further incidents.

Being accused of domestic abuse does not only mean facing the potential penalties associated with this criminal act but also enduring the restrictions of a restraining order if one is involved in the matter. Thus, it is important to understand what penalties could result if an accused offender is also accused of violating a restraining order.

What are the penalties for violating a restraining order? In the state of Florida, this offense occurs when a person willfully violated an injunction for protection that was established to protect against repeat violence, sexual violence or dating violence. This includes acts such as refusing to vacate the dwelling the parties share, being within 500 feet of the petitioner's residence, school, place of employment or a specific place frequented regularly by the petitioner, committing the act the order was established to prevent, committing other threatening acts, contacting the petitioner, knowingly and intentionally coming within 100 feet of the petitioner's vehicle, defacing or destroying the personal property of the petitioner or refusing to surrender firearms or ammunition if ordered to do so by the court.

A person who violates a protective order commits a misdemeanor in the first degree. This could result in imprisonment not exceeding a year. Additionally, the accused could face fines associated with this crime. If a person violates the order on multiple occasions, this could result in a felony in the third degree charge. This could result in imprisonment of up to five years.

Because the penalties could be harsh, it is important that those accused of domestic abuse and violating a protective order take the time to assert a defense action. This could prevent harsh penalties from resulting and could even help clear the name of the accused.

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