Injunctions for Protection in Pinellas County, FL
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update:
Due to concerns about the novel coronavirus, beginning April 6, 2020, and until further decision by the Sixth Judicial Circuit, all violence injunction hearings (domestic violence, dating, sexual, stalking, and repeat violence) filed in Pinellas County will be heard at Pinellas County Justice Center (PCJC) at 14250 49th St N, Clearwater, FL 33762, in Courtroom 1, 4th Floor.
Cases previously scheduled for hearing on the violence injunction mass hearing dockets for a date after April 6, 2020, will be rescheduled and amended notices of hearing will be mailed.
Please note that cases previously scheduled for hearing on the violence injunction mass hearing dockets during the weeks of March 23 and March 30 remain scheduled as previously noticed.
Parties are encouraged to update their addresses with the Clerk of Court so that they receive all documents mailed by the court. If you do not receive notice of the amended court date, you may contact the Clerk of Court to request a copy of the order.
If you were served with an injunction for protection in Pinellas County involving false allegations of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or repeat violence, then you have come to the right place.
The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm represent the Respondent who is served with such a petition for a protective order (sometimes called an “injunction”) in St. Petersburg or Clearwater.
We help our client fight these false allegations with the goal of getting the petition dismissed. The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm can help you fight false or exaggerated allegations at the return hearing. Contact us to find out how we can ask for a continuance at the return hearing so that we have enough time to be adequately prepared.
We can also move to take the deposition of the petitioner who is asking for the injunction. At the deposition, we can ask the petitioner questions about the allegations. We can also subpoena telephone records or other documents that show the accusations are false or exaggerated.
Attorneys for Injunctions for Protection in Pinellas County, FL
An injunction can impact your ability to find a job or get a promotion, secure housing, attend college, or possess a firearm. You should consider fighting the injunction if the allegations are false or exaggerated.
In some cases, the petition is being used as a tool to manipulate you or the Judicial System, to improperly gain access to property, or to unfairly manipulate issues of child custody or spousal support. If the petitioner does not have a genuine and well-founded fear of continued violence or abuse, then the petition should be dismissed by the court.
When the allegations are true, you should be very careful to stop any risky behavior that might lead to additional accusations or your arrest. Either way, an attorney can help you find the best way to deal with the problem. Let us help you find a way to make sure your interests are protected at every stage of the case.
Call our experienced attorneys who fight injunctions for protection against domestic violence, dating violence, repeat violence or stalking in Clearwater and St. Petersburg in Pinellas County, FL. Our attorneys fight domestic violence cases in Pinellas County.
If you would like to discuss your case with a lawyer experienced in helping respondents during hearings on a petition for an injunction for protection, then contact us today.
Call (813) 250-0500.
Types of Protective Orders in Pinellas County, FL
Florida law provides for five different types of protective orders that can be issued by the court including:
- domestic violence injunction;
- dating violence injunction;
- stalking injunction;
- repeat violence injunction; or
- sexual violence injunction.
An Injunction for Protection (often called a “restraining order”), is a Civil Court Order that places restrictions on a person who has allegedly committed acts or made threats of violence against another person as defined in Florida statutes.
Where are the Petition for Protection Filed in Pinellas County?
In Pinellas County, a Petition for Protection may be filed at one of the three (3) Pinellas County Clerk’s Office locations including:
ST. PETERSBURG BRANCH OFFICE
545 First Avenue North, Room 101
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
PINELLAS COUNTY JUSTICE CENTER
14250 49th Street North
Clearwater, FL 33762
CIVIL COURT RECORDS
315 Court Street, Room 170
Clearwater, FL 33756
The petition must be filed on Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., excluding holidays. For petitions filed after 4:00 p.m., the petitioner is directed to contact The HAVEN in Clearwater at (727) 442-4128 or C.A.S.A. (Community Action Stops Abuse) in St. Petersburg at (727) 895-4912.
Judges are assigned to preside over injunction hearings conducted:
- every Wednesday in Courtroom M, 545 1st Avenue North, St. Petersburg, Florida;
- every Thursday in Courtroom A, 315 Court Street, Clearwater, Florida;
- for an injunction against repeat violence and stalking every Friday in Courtroom 11, Pinellas County Justice Center, 14250 49th Street North, Clearwater, Florida.
Procedures for Injunctions for Protection in Pinellas County
As explained in Administrative Order No. 2018-057 PI-CIR, the courts have put in place certain procedures for Dating, Domestic, Repeat, Sexual Violence, and Stalking Civil Injunctions that became effective on January 1, 2019. The new rules were intended to comply with sections 741.30, 784.046, and 784.0485, Florida Statutes. The rules require that a final hearing be conducted within 15 days of the issuance of an ex parte injunction.
Petitions for temporary and permanent injunctions against dating, domestic, repeat, sexual violence, and stalking continue to be assigned with the procedures for assignment of family law cases based upon the zip code of the petitioner or the petitioners attorney in accordance with Administrative Orders 2016-030 and 2017-010 or subsequent administrative orders.
The Clerk of the Circuit Court (Clerk) shall accept petitions for temporary and permanent injunctions against dating, domestic, repeat, sexual violence, and stalking at the:
- Clearwater Courthouse;
- the St. Petersburg Judicial Building; and
- the Pinellas County Justice Center.
Petition Filed in Clearwater Courthouse or St. Petersburg Judicial Building
For petitions for temporary injunctions against dating, domestic, repeat, sexual violence, and stalking filed at the Clearwater Courthouse or the St. Petersburg Judicial Building, the Clerk shall present the petition to the section judge if the section judge is available.
When the section judge is unavailable and the duty judge is not assigned to the family law division, the Clerk is to first provide the temporary injunction to the judge with the next highest section number until a family judge is available. When the family law judge with the highest section number is unavailable, the Clerk shall start the rotation over with the judge with the lowest section number.
The Clerk will only provide the matter to a non-family duty judge if all family law judges are unavailable. For purposes of this Administrative Order, unavailability means the judge is absent from the courthouse. The assigned judge shall also be considered unavailable, unless the judge designates otherwise, between the hours of 5:01 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.
Except for petitions that are assigned to a UFC section, when a petitioner files a petition at a courthouse to which the petition is not assigned, the Clerk shall present the petition to the family judge at the courthouse where the petition was filed with the highest section number and shall thereafter follow the procedures set forth in the above paragraph.
For petitions that are assigned to a UFC section, the Clerk shall forward the petitions by facsimile or other electronic means to the Clerk at the Pinellas County Justice Center. The Clerk shall handle the petition as if it had been filed at the Pinellas County Justice Center in accordance with paragraph 4 of this Order.
Petitions Filed at the Pinellas County Justice Center in Clearwater
For petitions for temporary injunctions against dating, domestic, repeat, sexual violence, and stalking filed at the Pinellas County Justice Center, if a petitioner has a pending matter in UFC, the Clerk shall present the petition to the judge handling the pending matter.
If the petitioner does not have a pending matter or if the UFC judge is not available, the Clerk shall first present the petition to the unified family court judge with the next highest section number until a unified family court judge is available.
When the unified family court judge with the highest section number is unavailable, the Clerk shall start the rotation over with the judge with the lowest section number. If none of the unified family court judges is available, the Clerk will provide the petition to the duty judge at the St Petersburg Judicial Building or Clearwater Courthouse.
Final Hearing for Dating, Domestic, Repeat, Sexual Violence and Stalking
Return hearings for petitions assigned to a UFC section shall be scheduled on the calendar of the section judge. Return hearings for all other petitions for an injunction against dating, domestic, and sexual violence shall be scheduled in Clearwater or St. Petersburg in accordance with the schedule below.
Return hearings for petitions for an injunction against repeat violence and stalking shall be scheduled at the Pinellas County Justice Center in accordance with the schedule below.
How Injunction Cases are Docketed
The Clerk in Pinellas County follows these rules when deciding how to docket the case:
- Domestic violence cases with children shall be calendared on the assigned day at 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. The cases shall be calendared by first assigning a maximum of 15 cases to the 9:00 a.m. calendar and then assigning the remaining cases to the 10:30 a.m. calendar.
- Dating violence cases and domestic violence cases without children shall be calendared on the assigned day at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The cases shall be calendared by first assigning a case to the 10:30 a.m. calendar and then assigning a case to the 1:30 p.m. calendar. The cases are to be equally divided between the 10:30 a.m. calendar and the 1:30 p.m. calendar.
- Sexual violence cases shall be calendared on the assigned day at 2:30 p.m. The 2:30 p.m. calendar shall also include dating violence, domestic violence with children, and domestic violence without children with in-custody parties.
- Repeat violence and stalking cases shall be calendared on the assigned day at 9:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 1:15 p.m. The cases shall be calendared by first assigning a case to the 9:00 a.m. calendar and then assigning a case to the 10:30 a.m. calendar up to a maximum of 10 cases per calendar. Any additional cases shall be assigned to the 1:15 p.m. calendar. In-custody parties are to be brought to the hearing and may be scheduled on any calendar.
Contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm to represent you in a final hearings for dating, domestic, repeat, sexual violence, and stalking injunctions. We understand the procedure used in Pinellas County for processing these injunctions.
Statistics on Injunctions for Protection in Pinellas County, FL
According to the 2017 Performance Review Report from the Sixth Judicial Circuit, case managers in the Sixth Judicial Circuit in and for Pasco County, FL, maximize the efficient use of court resources. Case managers play a role in protective order injunction hearings.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RETURN HEARING STATISTICS FOR PINELLAS ONLY.
- TOTAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES – 2,247
- FINAL JUDGMENT OF INJUNCTION GRANTED – 848
- REFERRALS TO GENERAL MAGISTRATE – 189
- FIRST COMPLIANCE HEARINGS SET – 440
TOTAL DATING VIOLENCE INJUNCTIONS (PINELLAS ONLY) – 212
- FINAL JUDGMENT OF INJUNCTION GRANTED – 75
- REFERRALS TO GENERAL MAGISTRATE – 0
- FIRST COMPLIANCE HEARINGS SET – 34
TOTAL SEXUAL VIOLENCE INJUNCTIONS (PINELLAS ONLY) – 57
- FINAL JUDGMENT OF INJUNCTION GRANTED – 34
- REFERRALS TO GENERAL MAGISTRATE – 0
- FIRST COMPLIANCE HEARINGS SET – 12
TOTAL REPEAT VIOLENCE INJUNCTIONS (PINELLAS ONLY) – 203
- FINAL JUDGMENT OF INJUNCTION GRANTED – 70
- REFERRALS TO GENERAL MAGISTRATE – 0
- FIRST COMPLIANCE HEARINGS SET – 39
TOTAL STALKING INJUNCTIONS (PINELLAS ONLY) – 1,027
- FINAL JUDGMENT OF INJUNCTION GRANTED – 348
- REFERRALS TO GENERAL MAGISTRATE – 0
- FIRST COMPLIANCE HEARINGS SET – 136
How are Injunctions for Protection Served in Pinellas County, FL?
In the Circuit Court for the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Pinellas County, Administrative Order No. 2015-026 PI-CIR, explains the rules for municipal police agencies and sheriffs or law enforcement agencies outside of Pinellas County serving injunctions against dating violence, domestic violence, repeat violence, sexual violence and stalking. The order was signed on May 22, 2015 by J. Thomas McGrady, Chief Judge in the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Pinellas County.
The Sheriff of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has jurisdiction to serve process in all dating, domestic, repeat, and sexual violence and stalking injunction cases. Sections 741.30(8)(a)(1), 784.046(8)(a)(1), and 784.0485(8)(a)(1), Florida Statutes, provide that the Chief Judge, in consultation with the Sheriff, may authorize a law enforcement agency within the Chief Judge’s jurisdiction to effectuate this type of service.
In 1996, the Chief Judge, after consultation with the Pinellas County Sheriff, authorized certain municipal police departments to effect service of process during a call for municipal police services when the petitioner had a certified copy of the injunction.
Administrative Order 2000-37 authorized all municipal police departments located in Pinellas County to serve a domestic violence injunction or a repeat violence injunction when provided a certified copy of the injunction by the petitioner upon arriving at a call for police service.
Administrative Order 2012-055 authorized all municipal police departments located in Pinellas County to serve injunctions against dating, domestic, repeat, and sexual violence and stalking when provided a certified copy of the injunction by the petitioner upon arriving at a call for police service.
A number of respondents live or are found outside of Pinellas County and are served by the sheriff or law enforcement agency of that locality.
For this reason, the court in Pinellas County found it necessary to update the Return of Service procedures to ensure that the appropriate sheriff or law enforcement agency receives all the required paperwork. In accordance with Article V, § 2, Florida Constitution, Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.215, and § 43.26 Florida Statutes.
Under the order, municipal police departments located in Pinellas County and their individual sworn officers are hereby authorized to effect service of process in lieu of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department when provided a certified copy of an injunction against dating, domestic, repeat, or sexual violence, or stalking by the petitioner upon arriving at a call for police service.
When serving an injunction against dating, domestic, repeat, or sexual violence, or stalking, law enforcement officers must serve it in accordance with Attachment A – Notice To All Local Law Enforcement Agencies (Notice). The Pinellas Clerk of the Circuit Court (Clerk) must attach the Notice to a certified copy of the injunction to be served on the respondent.
The Clerk must also provide Attachment B – Return of Service/Certificate of Non-service, when forwarding the injunction for service to law enforcement, including to sheriffs of other Florida counties or to another law enforcement agency, where the respondent resides or can be found.
After service of process has been made, the law enforcement officer who served the injunction must immediately file the Return of Service/Certificate of Non-service, Attachment B, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 48, Florida Statutes.
If attempts at service of process are unsuccessful, the law enforcement officer attempting service must immediately file the attached Return of Service/Certificate of Non-service with the relevant facts that indicate the reason for non-service. Service of process authorized by this Administrative Order will give the Court personal jurisdiction over the respondent.
Nothing in the administrative order changes the existing policy that gives primary responsibility for service of dating, domestic, repeat, and sexual violence, and stalking injunctions in Pinellas County to the Pinellas County Sheriff.
However, if a municipal police agency receives a call for initial service of an injunction, and the agency believes an immediate harm might occur if the injunction is not served immediately, the agency may elect to serve the injunction. The agency must immediately notify the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office upon serving injunctions under these circumstances.
A copy of the order was provided to all Pinellas Judges, The Honorable Bernie McCabe, State Attorney The Honorable Bob Dillinger, Public Defender The Honorable Ken Burke, Clerk of the Circuit Court, Pinellas County The Honorable Bob Gualtieri, Sheriff, Pinellas County Gay Inskeep, Trial Courts Administrator Ngozi Acholonu, Assistant Regional Counsel Myriam Irizarry, Chief Deputy Director, Pinellas County Clerk’s Office The Haven, Domestic Violence Center Community Action Stops Abuse, (CASA) Bar Associations, Pasco and Pinellas Counties Law Libraries, Pasco and Pinellas Counties
NOTICE TO ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES
The injunction should be read aloud to the respondent. Injunctions must be personally served on the respondent. They cannot be served on any other person. Any questions on service should be referred to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Fugitive Section (727-582-6192).
Once service has been made pursuant to Section 741.30(8)(a)(1), 784.046(8)(a)(1), or 784.0485(8)(a)(1), Florida Statutes, this service information form must be completed and faxed to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Fugitive Section (727-582-6142).
The agency serving the injunction must complete a Return of Service form and forward it to the Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Office, 315 Court Street, Clearwater, FL 33756.
Served on: ___________________________________________________________________
(Name of Respondent)
Date of birth: ______________________
Date served: ________________________________
Time served: ______________________
Address where served: ________________________________________________________
Served by: ___________________________________________________________________
(Name of Officer) Agency: ______________________________________________________
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY, FLORIDA
Case No.: ________________________________
Return of Service
SERVE TO: ________________________________
Type of Process: (Mark ALL that Apply)
Temporary Injunction (type) _______________________________
Final Injunction (type) ____________________________________
(Respondent’s Sworn Statement of Possession of Address: __________________________________ Firearms/Ammunition)
Order to Attend Batterer’s Intervention Program Order to Appear at Mandatory Compliance Hearing ___________________________________
I received this process on _____________ _____, 20____, and served it on _____________________________________________ Month Day Year
Name of Respondent / Defendant at ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Address City, State, Zip in ______________________________ County at ________ a.m. / p.m., on ________________ _____, 20_____, Time Month Day Year by delivering to the above-named person a certified copy of the Order entered in the above-styled cause with the date and hour of service endorsed thereon by me. Respondent refuses to surrender his / her firearms and ammunition. Respondent stated he / she has no firearms and ammunition. Respondent surrendered his / her firearms and ammunition. ________________________________________________________
Respondent was identified by his / her _________________________________________________________________________
Additional Comments: ______________________________________________________________________________________
Respondent stated that his / her current residential address is __________________________________________________________ Address City, State, Zip
NON-SERVICE: For the reason that after diligent search and inquiry, ________________________________________________
Name of Respondent / Defendant could not be found or __________________________________________________________________________________________
_____, 20______. Month Day Year
Served by: Law Enforcement Agency _________________________
City or County of ________________________________
Signature of Officer Serving Process Badge / ID # State of _______________________________________
Injunctions for Restraining Orders in Pinellas County – Visit the website of the Clerk of Circuit Court in Pinellas County to find helpful information about injunctions for protection in Pinellas County. Find out more about the five different types of injunctions, contempt of an injunction, and ways to modify an injunction. Find an informative video on how to file an injunction for protection and develop a safety plan.
Domestic Violence Injunctions in the Sixth Judicial Circuit – Visit the website of the Sixth Judicial Circuit for Pinellas and Pasco County to learn more about legal protections from domestic violence. Find the definition for the phrase “petition for domestic violence injunction.” Watch a video about the effects of exposure to domestic violence on babies and children. This website explains how to file an injunction in Clearwater or St. Petersburg, FL, as well as the sample forms that need to be used. From the clerk’s office website, you can lookup information about restraining orders issued in Florida as well as other types of court records issued at the courthouse.
Finding a Lawyer for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order in Pinellas County, FL
Call today for a consultation to find out more about how to fight these cases, including fighting an injunction for protection on jurisdictional grounds. These injunctions for protection have serious consequences that can last a lifetime.
Whether you were accused of domestic violence, dating violence, repeat violence, sexual violence or stalking, we can help. We also represent clients charged with violation of an injunction for protection through the Sixth Judicial Circuit in and for Pinellas County, FL, including in St. Petersburg and Clearwater.
We also represent clients accused of violating an injunction for protection when the pettioner accuses you of violating the contact provisions of the temporary or final judgment of injunction. These violations affidavits are sent to the clerk’s office domestic violence desk. The petitioner’s affidavit alleging the violation will be reviewed by a judge and may either be set for a civil court hearing or referred to the state attorney’s office to be pursued as a criminal violation of the injunction.
Our attorneys represent clients in the follow types of related matters:
- enforcement actions when the final judgment of injunction for domestic violence awards child support, custody or visitation and the petitioner accuses you are not complying with those provisions and contacts the clerk of court, domestic violence desk, regarding a motion to enforce;
- motions for modification of an injunction when either party feels there is some portion of the restraining order that needs to be modified because of a change in circumstances; or
- hearings on a “Requests for Dismissal” after either side files a motion to dismiss the injunction.
Let us put our experience to work for you. Call (813) 250-0500.
This article was last updated on Tuesday, May 5, 2020.