A domestic violence protective order under the Texas Family Code can protect you and your family from harm or threatened harm by the person named in the order. You must apply for protection with a court. A judge will determine whether your request should be granted and how long the order should last.
In Texas, domestic violence protective orders are generally in place for two years. However, under certain circumstances, they could last longer.
The protection period may be longer than 2 years if the person the order is rendered against:
- Committed a felony family violence offense;
- Caused serious bodily injury; or
- Was previously subject to two or more protective orders.
What Does a Protective Order Do?
A protective order places several limitations and conditions on a family or household member who hurt or threatened to hurt you, your children, or your relatives. Because a court orders it, the person named in it must abide by the terms. Otherwise, they could face arrest, criminal charges and penalties, and incarceration.
The exact conditions specified in your order will vary depending on what the judge determines is necessary to protect you and your relatives.
Potential orders can include prohibiting the offender from:
- Harming or threatening to harm the applicant and the applicant’s relatives;
- Contacting the applicant or the applicant’s relative;
- Going near the applicant, the applicant’s children, or the applicant’s pets;
- Going to the applicant’s residence, work, or the applicant’s children’s school;
- Purchasing or possessing a firearm;
- Disposing of or transferring property.
A judge can also make child custody, child support, visitation, and spousal support orders. If the applicant and the offender live together, the judge can also order the offender to vacate the residence if at least some of the alleged abuse happened in the 30 days prior to filing the protective order.
How Do I Get a DV Protective Order?
You might be able to apply for a protective order if you were the victim of family violence.
In Texas, family violence involves harm or threatened harm against:
- Dating partners,
- Close relatives,
- People who live together, or
- People who have a child together.
Acts of harm include bodily injury, assault, sexual assault, or threats of committing such conduct against someone.
You must submit an application, a supporting affidavit or declaration, and other forms to the court in the county where you or the offender live. After your application is received, the judge will consider the application and decide if you are imminent danger and qualify for a temporary ex parte protective order while you wait for a court date. A court can issue an ex parte order right away, without holding a hearing where the offender is present. That means your abuser/offender would not be able to argue their side of the story to convince the judge that an order is not warranted. The judge’s decision will be based primarily on the information you provide about the situation. If the ex parte temporary protective order is not granted, you can still have a hearing on the merits of your claims at a later hearing and still will have an opportunity to convince the judge that you need a protective order.
After the Court considers your request for an ex parte temporary protective order, the court will schedule a hearing where you must present your arguments about why protection is needed.
The ex parte order remains in effect until your final protective order is approved or denied or for up to 20 days.
The offender will need to be served with the application and ex parte temporary protective order and notice of the court date. The offender will also be given a chance to speak and answer questions from the judge.
If the judge determines that family violence has happened and may occur in the future, the judge should grant your request.
What Happens If My Abuser Violates the Protective Order?
Violating the terms and conditions of a protective order is a crime. Depending on what the offender’s conduct entails, the penalties they face vary.
For instance, a violation may be:
- Contempt of court, punishable by up to $500 in fines and/or up to 6 months in jail.
- A class A misdemeanor if the offense committed was prohibited by the order. Penalties include up to 1 year in jail and/or up to $4,000 in fines.
- A separate felony if the offense was a felony-level domestic violence crime. The punishments include a minimum of 2 years of imprisonment.
Call Our Firm for Guidance
If you or a loved one is a victim of domestic violence in McKinney, seek help immediately. Report the incident to local law enforcement. Then, reach out to Camille Borg Law PLLC. We can help complete and submit the application and can assist in preparing for your hearing.
We will be your compassionate ally throughout your case. Call (469) 646-7763 or submit an online contact form today.