What You Need to Know About Texas Protective Orders

Protection Order

What You Need to Know About Texas Protective Orders

Like all states, Texas courts issue orders of protection to provide legal protections to victims of stalking, violence, harassment, and domestic abuse.

In Texas, family violence involves harm or threatened harm against:

  • Spouses
  • Dating partners
  • Close relatives
  • People who live together
  • People who have a child together

Acts of harm include bodily injury, assault, sexual assault, or threats of committing such conduct against someone.

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

Types of Texas Protective Order Options:

  • Magistrate’s order for emergency protection: Also known as an “emergency protective order,” a Magistrate’s order for emergency protection may be issued by the court after an abuser has committed a criminal act of physical or sexual violence against another person. This order is automatically granted if the abuser seriously harmed their own family member. Depending on the individual circumstances of the case, this protective order can last 31-91 days.
  • Temporary ex parte order: This protective order is only given after an application to a judge, and if granted provides you and your family with immediate protection from your abuser. A judge will grant you this order so long as you can prove that your abuser present a danger to you or your family. A temporary ex parte order can last up to 20 days, but it can be extended upon request.
  • General or “permanent” protective order: A general protective order canĀ arise out of a temporary ex parte protective order or can be a stand-alone application. If granted, it typically lasts 2 years unless otherwise stated by the judge. The judge may extend this order if:
    • The abuser committed an act of felony violence against you or a family member
    • The abuser caused physical bodily harm to you or a family member
    • You’ve been granted a protective order in the past and can prove that the abuser is likely to commit violence against your family again

How Do I Apply for a Temporary and Permanent Protective Order?

A judge will determine whether your request should be granted and how long the order should last. You must file an application with the court. Along with the application, you must submit 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 your information 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. Still, you 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 must be served with the application and ex parte temporary protective order and notice of the court date. At the hearing for the permanent protective order, the offender will also be allowed 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?

Protective orders are quasi-criminal which means that it is a civil case that gives criminal consequences. 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 order prohibited the offense committed. Penalties include up to 1 year in jail and/or $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. Our family law attorneys 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.

Contact Camille Borg Law PLLC at (469) 646-7763 to schedule a consultation with our family law team.

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