CLERK OF COURT & COMPTROLLER
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLORIDA
The Injunction for Protection Against Violence area of the Social Services Related Processing Center handles the filing of restraining orders (also known as injunctions for protection) against domestic violence, repeat violence, dating violence, sexual violence, and stalking. An injunction or restraining order is a court order signed by a judge that can be served and enforced by law enforcement. Please read our information brochure (provided in English and Spanish) before filling out a petition. The brochure explains the process for obtaining an injunction and what to expect.
Violations of injunctions may result in a criminal offense. The Misdemeanor / County Criminal Department handles the court case files involved with the resulting criminal charges.
Every year, the Clerk’s Office processes about 6,600 applications for restraining orders. Our clerks, along with employees of The Spring who have been deputized, process restraining order applications seven days a week, 365 days a year.
To ease the burden of this process, the Clerk’s Office now offers applicants the ability to register to view their court records online so they do not have to call our office or return to the courthouse to keep up with the progress of their applications.
Electronic viewing of many court records, indexes and dockets as well as non-confidential document images is currently available on our Hillsborough Online Viewing of Electronic Records (HOVER) site, as authorized by the Florida Supreme Court. Pursuant to Florida Rules of Judicial Administration, access to all electronic and other court records shall be governed by the Standards for Access to Electronic Court Records and Access Security Matrix. At this time, Civil Sexual Violence Injunction Cases are not searchable/viewable through HOVER; the case progress dockets are available through this link.
If you are authorized under Florida Rules of Judicial Administration to view a court file but are unable to view it online and/or you need a copy, you may view or pick up a copy of the file at our Tampa Edgecomb or Plant City locations. To allow adequate time for redaction processing, it may take four business days for your file to be available for on-site viewing and/or pick-up.
Injunctions for Protection Against Domestic Violence may be issued against a spouse, former spouse, a person related by blood or marriage, a person with whom you are presently living or have formerly lived, as if a family, or against someone with whom you have a child in common, regardless of whether you were ever married to that person or lived with them.
Injunctions for Protection Against Dating Violence may be issued against an individual with whom you have or had a continuing and significant relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. It is determined by consideration of the following: the dating relationship existed within the past six months, the nature of the relationship included an expectation of affection or sexual involvement and the frequency and type of interaction between you and the individual included involvement over time and on a continued basis.
Injunctions for Protection Against Sexual Violence may be issued if any one incident of the following occur regardless of whether criminal charges based on the incident were filed, reduced or dismissed by the state attorney:
• Sexual battery, as defined in Florida Statutes Chapter 794;
• A lewd or lascivious act, as defined in Florida Statutes Chapter 800, committed upon or in the presence of a person younger than 16 years of age;
• Luring or enticing a child, as described in Florida Statutes Chapter 787;
• Sexual performance by a child, as described in Florida Statutes Chapter 827;
• Any other forcible felony wherein a sexual act is committed or attempted.
It is a requirement that the sexual violence be reported to a law enforcement agency and that the person filing the petition cooperate in the investigation. A petition may be filed against a respondent who was sentenced to imprisonment for the sexual violence and who has been or will be released from incarceration. A person who is the victim of sexual violence or the parent or legal guardian of a minor child who is living at home who is the victim of sexual violence has standing in the circuit court to file a sworn petition for an injunction for protection against sexual violence on his or her own behalf or on behalf of the minor child if: the person has reported the sexual violence to a law enforcement agency and is cooperating in any criminal proceedings against the respondent, regardless of whether criminal charges based on the sexual violence have been filed, reduced or dismissed by the state attorney, or the respondent who committed the sexual violence against the victim or minor child was sentenced to a term of imprisonment in state prison for the sexual violence and the respondent's term of imprisonment has expired or is due to expire within 90 days following the date the petition is filed.
Injunctions for Protection Against Stalking may be issued against an individual who has
committed stalking, previously threatened, harassed, stalked, cyber stalked, physically abused, threatened to harm you, family members or individuals closely associated to you, intentionally injured or killed a family pet; used or threatened to use against you any weapons such as guns or knives; has a criminal history involving violence or threat of violence, another order of protection issued against him or her previously from another jurisdiction or destroyed personal property, including, but not limited to, telephones or other communication equipment, clothing, or other items.
If an injunction for protection against domestic violence, repeat violence, dating violence, sexual violence or stalking is granted by the court, the judge may order the other party not to have contact with you and not to harm you mentally or physically.
You may file a petition for Protection Against Violence at either of the locations listed below.
You may complete the necessary paperwork in the Social Services Processing Center which is located on the second floor of the George E. Edgecomb Courthouse at 800 E. Twiggs St. in downtown Tampa. The hours of operation are 8 AM until 5 PM, Monday through Friday. Petitions are accepted for filing until 5 PM. On Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays the hours are 7 AM to 10 AM and petitions are accepted for filing until 10 AM. The phone number is (813) 276-8100 Ext. 4356.
You may complete the necessary paperwork at the Plant City Courthouse Annex, located at 301 N. Michigan Avenue, Plant City, FL. The hours of operation are 8 AM until 5 PM, Monday through Friday. Petitions are accepted for filing until 5 PM. The phone number is (813) 276-8100.
If you need to file a petition for Protection Against Domestic Violence outside the hours of operation for the courthouse, you may contact local law enforcement for assistance or the Spring of Tampa Bay at (813) 247-7233 to arrange to complete the necessary paperwork at the shelter. The Spring of Tampa Bay is a Domestic Violence Shelter servicing Hillsborough County.
There is no fee required to file a Petition for Injunction for Protection for Domestic Violence, Repeat Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Violence or Stalking. Please note that any information provided is a public record.
In order for the Court to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to grant an Injunction, your Petition must contain certain information. This information must include specific facts and circumstances, including dates, which convince the Court that an immediate and present danger of violence exists. This information will assist the Court in determining whether or not the Respondent should be immediately restrained, without notice, from any contact with the Petitioner, pending a full hearing.
The information contained within your Petition will determine whether or not the court decides to provide you with the necessary protection of an Injunction for Protection. Other information required on the Petition will aid law enforcement agencies in locating and identifying the Respondent for the purpose of serving the appropriate paperwork (i.e., respondent’s physical description, date of birth, and an address where he or she can be located). You must describe any previous or pending attempts you have made to obtain an Injunction for Protection, or any other cause of action currently pending between you and the Respondent.
An Injunction for Protection is a civil matter and all information and pleadings filed in the case are a matter of public record and are open for public inspection. A copy of all paperwork you file in your case will be served upon the respondent. Do not put any addresses or phone numbers within the paperwork that you do not want the other party to have.
You may keep your address confidential if you are filing a Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence, or Stalking case if you so request. There is a form available for you to complete.
You must provide proof of law enforcement involvement in cases related to sexual violence and attach an incident report created by a law enforcement agency or a notice of inmate release. You will be required to sign, under oath, all the paperwork you complete.
Once the judge has rendered a decision, all the paperwork will be returned to the Clerk for processing. The Clerk will provide you with two (2) certified copies of the Temporary Injunction and Notice of Hearing. You must return to the Clerk's Office to pick up these copies. You should keep these copies with you at all times. If the Respondent comes near you at any time prior to being served, you may contact law enforcement and they can serve the Respondent with these copies.
The Clerk will furnish a copy of the Temporary Injunction and Notice of Hearing, the Petition for Injunction for Protection, along with the Financial Affidavit and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act, if any, to the Sheriff of the county where the Respondent resides or can be located. The Sheriff will serve the Respondent as soon as possible during their regular working hours. You may call the Civil Process Section of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's office at (813) 242-5214 to find out if the Respondent has been served.
You must attend the hearing. If the Sheriff's Office is unable to serve a copy of the Temporary Injunction on the Respondent prior to the hearing date, you still must attend the hearing. You will be directed to return to the Domestic Violence office to pick-up an Amended Temporary Injunction which will indicate a new hearing date. You are required to appear at the hearing to give testimony, under oath, regarding the exact circumstances of the violence. Answer all questions completely. The judge will also give the Respondent the opportunity to testify, under oath, regarding the Respondent's recollection of the alleged incident.
You will be provided a copy of the Order in which the judge renders his ruling from this hearing. This Order should be kept on your person at all times. If the respondent violates any conditions of the Temporary or Permanent Injunction, you should first consider requesting the immediate assistance of local law enforcement. If the respondent is not arrested, you may return to the Domestic Violence Section of the Clerk's Office for assistance in the preparation of an Affidavit of Violation of Injunction.
You may obtain blank forms at no charge from the Domestic Violence area of the Family Law Department, on the 2nd floor of the George E. Edgecomb Courthouse, or at the Plant City Clerk's office, 301 North Michigan Avenue, Plant City, FL 33563. Forms are also available online.