Understanding Restraining And Protective Orders In Texas

People usually interchange restraining and protective orders, which is reasonable. You can use them to prevent a party from interacting with or approaching you and your family at home, workplace, or school. However, it is the extent of their similarity. Therefore, it is crucial to seek a skilled and experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer with a proven track record of success defending clients accused of violating protection orders in Texas.

Learn About Restraining And Protective Orders In Texas

What Are Protective Orders?

A protection order and a restraining order differ primarily in two ways. First, a protection order establishes a body of criminal law that exclusively applies to the individual to whom the court issued it. The responsibilities of a protection order only apply to one person, which is the other significant distinction.

Protective orders can aid in preventing family violence. However, they fall under a more extreme category, proving the calls for solid evidence.

Moreover, protection orders can safeguard the physical, mental, and physiological well-being of those who have experienced domestic violence. As a result, the person requesting a protective order must demonstrate that the person receiving the order has committed one or more acts of family violence.

Protective orders forbid the subject—someone who committed or may commit domestic violence—from speaking to, approaching, or contacting other family members.

Additionally, if a protective order prohibits the subject from being within 500 feet of another person, the 500-foot limitation follows the protected individual—the person who filed for a protection order.

Protective orders must unavoidably restrict the subject’s freedom, and violating one can result in criminal charges. As a result, it is a severe order that authorities only give a party that can demonstrate the urgent need to prevent family violence.

You must know that protection orders do not prohibit all contact. It can allow peaceful contact in certain circumstances. For example, a divorced parent may get in touch with their former spouse to organize visitation and child care, but not for any other reason. However, the same order can forbid them from getting in touch with their ex-partner’s current lover.

How Do You Get A Protective Order?

A petitioner can go to a district or circuit court and provide a judge or a commissioner substantial testimony to obtain a protective order. The judge or commissioner will decide whether or not to make an order.

Ensure you provide the judge with the precise details of what happened to you. There is typically no set period within which you must file a protective order as required by law. However, requesting one as soon as possible after the offensive acts take place signals to the court that you are in danger.

How Long Will It Be Effective?

The temporary order is given to the local law enforcement to serve on the respondent after the court issues it. Additionally, the injunction forbids the abuser from contacting the petitioner once the court issues the order.

A week later, authorities will arrange a final hearing during which the judge will hear both parties’ arguments and render a verdict. A finalized protective order typically lasts up to one year, though it may be longer in certain circumstances.

What Are Restraining Orders?

Courts frequently issue restraining orders, particularly in family law situations. A civil court order is a restraining order. Both parties involved in the legal action are often subject to restraining orders.

In most cases, the only recourse for breaking a restraining order is to be found in contempt of court and to make good any harm done. However, depending on the infraction, the court will probably warn the offender to act better moving forward if it is a first offense.

What To Avoid When You Receive A Restraining Order

Avoiding particular behaviors is essential when you receive a restraining order if you want to challenge a permanent order without facing legal repercussions.

A court may view you suspiciously and file charges against you if you destroy evidence you believe law enforcement could use against you. In addition, you must not attempt to contact or speak with the petitioner or any witnesses you anticipate will testify on their behalf, including text messages or email. You should always respect a temporary restraining order and not attempt to circumvent a clause in the order.

Moreover, it is not wise to argue that you need clarification on what no contact means. Don’t try to avoid the order, for instance, by dropping by the kids’ school or visiting them at a relative’s house. It would help if you will not ask someone else to deliver your message to the petitioner.

The invitation of a petitioner does not overturn the ruling. Therefore, you cannot accept the petitioner’s offer to a meeting to discuss the matter if you want to avoid breaking the verdict.

How Does Texas Enforce These Orders?

Police cannot enforce restraining order violations through illegal means. Therefore, the impacted party must return to court to request a civil resolution instead.

Typically, a court hearing is necessary, and the judge will decide based on the case’s merits. They may impose monetary penalties and further limit communication or access to the petitioner if a party violates the restraining order’s terms and conditions.

However, a law enforcement official can enforce any protective order. In truth, judges are readily available to those police officers responding to domestic disturbances around-the-clock for an emergency protective order.

Generally speaking, if a police officer discovers the accused abuser in an area where the protection order forbids them from being, it can provide them probable cause to detain them right away and file charges of violating the protective order.

Penalties For Order Violations In Texas

When someone violates the terms of a restraining order, courts have the authority to sentence the offender to jail, but it isn’t what usually happens. Instead, as previously stated, the civil courts typically impose further restrictions and monetary damages against the perpetrator.

Disobeying a protection order may result in swift action and substantial criminal accusations. For a first violation, breaking a protection order carries penalties of up to $4,000 in fines and a maximum of one year in county jail. In addition, if you have a record of violating a protection order, you could face a 3rd-degree felony, with a maximum penalty of 10 years of jail time and a fine of up to $10,000.

Moreover, offenders may face additional charges when a violation leads to increased domestic violence, which entails new or enhanced penalties and jail terms.

Understanding Texas Restraining And Protective Orders

Defense Against Violations Of Restraining And Protective Orders

Violation of a restraining order can lead to severe consequences. However, there are instances when it cannot be avoided. Here are some defenses your criminal defense lawyer can use to protect your rights.

Lack Of Intent

If you are facing charges of violating restraining or protective orders, the prosecutor must demonstrate that you had a particular purpose in contacting the alleged victim. Or, they should establish that you had a specific intent to be in an area forbidden by the protective order to prove the allegation of violating a protective order beyond a reasonable doubt.

What would happen, for instance, if the protection order asserted a general contact requirement and you were in a public setting where you had no reason to believe the alleged victim would be present?

On the other hand, if you were close to the accused victim in this case but had no knowledge of their whereabouts, you might have a strong defense against the accusations of violating a protective order.

What if the protection order didn’t name a specific location? What if the directive was unclear? Whatever the situation is, you must remember that the prosecution must establish its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Thus, your defense lawyer can use ambiguity or doubt to your advantage to negotiate a dismissal.

Alleged Victim Initiated Contact

What if the alleged victim contacts you via text, call, or visits you? Generally speaking, you must never reply to these messages and take all necessary precautions to avoid the supposed victim. What if authorities apprehended you for violating a protective order because the alleged victim tried to locate you to have you arrested?

In these cases, the defense could be similar to the lack of criminal intent. There is a solid argument that you did nothing overtly unlawful that would qualify as a crime if the alleged victim’s activities initiated contact. If a competent defense attorney can build a strong defense for you, they might convince the court to drop your charges.

Hire A Criminal Defense Attorney

Properly dealing with restraining and protective orders is essential, so you must know the law to succeed and fight off a permanent order. In addition, you must understand that acceptable proof and pertinent arguments are necessary for refuting allegations.

A skilled Criminal Defense Lawyer can advocate and protect your rights, freedom, and future. For example, if the police obtained evidence against you improperly, a qualified attorney might convince the court to drop your charges, reduce your fines, or even dismiss your case.

Therefore, you will have an increased chance of a successful outcome if you have an experienced lawyer knowledgeable about the law, the rules of evidence, and the courtroom procedure.

You need a competent restraining order lawyer or defense attorney if the court has issued a restraining order against you or you face charges of violating one. They can help you fight a charge of violation of a restraining order to avoid the severe penalties frequently connected with these accusations.

Read: How Domestic Violence Affects Me


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(682) 204-4066 We cannot receive pictures via text so please send those via email or hand deliver to our office.

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