Enforcement of Foreign Orders of Protection

Full faith and credit is given to foreign (from another state) injunction orders provided that the issuing court had jurisdiction over the parties/matter and that reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard was given to the person against whom the order was entered. Full faith and credit requires that valid orders of protection must be enforced to protect victims of domestic violence wherever a violation of an order occurs, regardless of where the order was issued. Enforcement and arrest for a violation of a foreign protection order should be consistent with the enforcement of orders issued in the State of Florida.

These orders can be somewhat confusing to law enforcement officers responding to violation of injunction calls for a number of reasons: (1) The issuing state may use different terminology (i.e., the order may be called something other than an injunction such as; order of protection, civil protection order, restraining order); (2) The issuing state may not be using standardized forms (The Florida Supreme Court issued and mandated the use of standardized forms in our State in 1998); (3) they may contain different terms (i.e., instead of our standard 500 foot prohibitions they may have 250 foot prohibitions) and finally (4) verifying that service has taken place may not be as easy as verifying a Florida order because some states do not input into NCIC/FCIC.

Steps to take when responding to the violation of a foreign injunction:

  1. Separate the Parties and confirm the identity of the parties present;
  2. Look at face of order to determine it has not expired;
  3. Attempt to confirm service of process through Comm. Center via FCIC and/or through the agency of origin.

If you are unable to verify service as noted above, Section 741.315, Florida Statutes, allows for verification of service of process in the following manner: (A) By the Petitioner: (1) Petitioner may state under oath that to the best of Petitioner's knowledge Respondent was served with the order of protection b/c petitioner was present at the time of service (2) Respondent told Petitioner that he or she was served (3) Another named person told Petitioner that Respondent was served (4) Or Respondent told Petitioner he or she knows of the content of the order and date of the return hearing OR (B) by the Respondent stating under oath that he or she was served with the order

Always remember to get a written affidavit. A tip here is to get the Petitioner to include in the affidavit a statement that to the best of the Petitioner's knowledge no other order has been entered modifying or dissolving the subject injunction.

Remember that Section 741.315 (4)(f), Florida Statutes, provides ; "A law enforcement officer acting in good faith under this section and the officer's employing agency shall be immune from all liability, civil or criminal, that might otherwise be incurred or imposed by reason of the officer's or agency's actions in carrying out the provisions of this section."

►NOTE: - this insulates you from liability when acting in good faith - but it does NOT provide immunity if you've failed to take action!

Finally, Section 741.315, Florida Statutes, does provide for a registration procedure where a victim with a foreign order may go to any Sheriff's office in the State of Florida with his/her Injunction and submit an affidavit in order to request that it be registered in the FCIC system (thereby making it easier for law enforcement to enforce that order). Please note, that registration is NOT a prerequisite to enforcement, registration is merely a preferred action if it is safe for that victim to do so. An action to domesticate the order will still be required for all child custody and child support provisions.


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