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Can Domestic Violence Cases Be Sealed?

Domestic violence, Repeat violence, Dating violence, Sexual violence, Stalking, or Cyberstalking injunctions are powerful tools that the victims of violence have at their disposal.  But what happens when an injunction is filed that is without merit and is dismissed, should that meritless injunction remain on the “record” of the Respondent to the Petition, potentially having financial and personal repercussions?

Florida Statute 119.0714 allows the Respondent to request that the court file of the dismissed petition, be sealed and exempt from public viewing.

Florida Statute 119.0714 states in pertinent part as follows:

(k)1. A petition, and the contents thereof, for an injunction for protection against domestic violence, repeat violence, dating violence, sexual violence, stalking, or cyberstalking that is dismissed without a hearing, dismissed at an ex parte hearing due to failure to state a claim or lack of jurisdiction, or dismissed for any reason having to do with the sufficiency of the petition itself without an injunction being issued on or after July 1, 2017, is exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.

2. A petition, and the contents thereof, for an injunction for protection against domestic violence, repeat violence, dating violence, sexual violence, stalking, or cyberstalking that is dismissed without a hearing, dismissed at an ex parte hearing due to failure to state a claim or lack of jurisdiction, or dismissed for any reason having to do with the sufficiency of the petition itself without an injunction being issued before July 1, 2017, is exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution only upon request by an individual named in the petition as a respondent. The request must be in the form of a signed, legibly written request specifying the case name, case number, document heading, and page number. The request must be delivered by mail, facsimile, or electronic transmission or in person to the clerk of the court. A fee may not be charged for such request.

 

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