An injunction is an order issued by the court that directs another party to take – or directly prohibits them from engaging in – a specific action. These can be issued via a judgment order or in connection with a lawsuit. In some cases, they are also seen in criminal trials.
The Purpose of an Injunction
Injunctions are used as relief from an action, or putting a stop to ongoing or repeated conduct that violates a person’s rights or causes injury. It can also force a defendant or prosecutor to take action. They are a legal remedy that is considered a last resort by the courts and typically only issued when there are no other legal remedies that are adequate for the situation.
Injunctions are not a right; instead, they are issued at the discretion of the court. Whether an injunction will be granted depends on the facts of each case, and there is no guarantee that a specific type of case would receive an injunction.
The Types of Injunctions
There are several main types of injunctions that can be issued by the courts, including:
- Preliminary – These are temporary and used as a provisional remedy to preserve the subject matter in its existing form. They seek to prevent further injury, threats, or any injustice until such time as the rights of the party can be permanently settled in court. They are never granted automatically, but instead are used to maintain the status quo until the final trial.
- Preventive – These direct an individual from refraining to do a particular act. They are also referred to as prohibitive, prohibitory, and negative injunctions. They prevent a threatened injury, preserve status quo, and restrain the continued commission of ongoing wrongdoings.
- Mandatory – These command the performance of a positive act. They are extremely harsh; therefore, courts rarely grant them.
- Permanent – These are used as part of the final relief and are perpetual, provided that the conditions that produced them remain permanent as well.
Contempt of an Injunction
When an injunction is issued, an individual cannot violate that injunction. Doing so could result in a punishment of contempt of court. However, a person may not be considered guilty if they did not know about the injunction. Also, that individual will be issued a trial or hearing to determine if they have violated the injunction and the extent of such a violation. The penalty is at the discretion of the court and will depend on the nature of the violation. Typically, punishment includes fines, jail time, or a combination of the two.
Factors to Consider
Before the courts issue an injunction, they will consider four critical factors:
- They will consider if there is significant harm or threat if the injunction is not ordered. For example, a stay pending appeal for an execution would require the courts to issue an injunction so that the individual was not executed until their appeal has been concluded.
- The courts would then consider the effects of issuing or not issuing such injunction – and how it impacts all parties involved.
- The courts will consider the likelihood of success if they do issue that injunction and if the injunction will succeed on merits at the end of litigation.
- Lastly, the courts will consider the possible effect on public interest.
Speak with an Attorney Regarding Your Case
Injunctions are complex and rarely issued. If you have questions about injunctions or other procedures used in criminal courts, contact an attorney at the Law Office of Timothy Armstrong, P.A. today. Schedule your consultation at 904-356-8618 or fill out an online contact form.