What Does a Protective Order Do in Texas?

A protective order can place a number of restrictions against someone responsible for domestic violence, stalking, and other forms of abuse. Those who feel threatened or have been harmed by a family member, romantic partner, roommate, or someone else with whom they live can petition the court for a protective order.

If you aren’t sure how to handle this process, you can always turn to an experienced family law attorney for guidance on petitioning the court for a protective order.

What a Protective Order Can Provide

A protective order is a court order formally requiring an individual to cease certain activities and adhere to specific restrictions. The purpose of the protective order is to ensure the safety of its petitioner when allegations of abuse arise.

The following are a few of the provisions a judge can issue in a protective order:

  • Order an individual to refrain from harming or threatening the petitioner
  • Order an individual to refrain from contacting a petitioner by any means
  • Order an individual to refrain from coming within a specific distance of the petitioner, their family members, their pets, their home, their place of work, or their children’s schools
  • Order an individual to refrain from carrying a gun
  • Order an individual to submit to drug testing or attend a substance abuse treatment program
  • Order an individual to vacate a property

When a protective order involves a partner with whom a petitioner has minor children, the court can also make determinations for child custody, visitation, and child support.

What Happens If Someone Violates a Protective Order in Texas?

Violating a protective order in Texas is a Class A misdemeanor, and a conviction can be penalized with up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.

Under certain circumstances, violating a protective order may be a third-degree felony. Someone may be charged with this offense if they were previously convicted at least twice for violating a protective order or committed an assault or stalking when violating a protective order.

If convicted of violating a protective order as a third-degree felony, an individual may be sentenced to prison for 2 to 10 years and fined up to $10,000.

How Long Does a Protective Order Last?

The duration of a protective order depends on its type. In most cases, judges issue temporary protection orders to provide survivors and their loved ones with immediate protection from an abuser. Also known as temporary ex parte orders, these last up to 20 days but can be extended for an additional 20 days upon request.

Permanent protective orders can last as long as a judge deems necessary, but they typically expire after two years. Judges will consider extending permanent protective orders when an abuser commits an act that would be charged as felonious family violence (even if no such charges actually occur), if the abuser serious harms a member of the household, or if the petitioner has had multiple protective orders previously issued against an abuser.

We Can Assist with Protective Orders

If you are being abused by someone in your home, you can get the relief you need from a protective order. Petitioning for this order, however, can be an intimidating process. That’s why you should consider the compassionate and capable legal counsel of Kay Polk, Attorney at Law.

We can guide you through the protective order petitioning process and handle many of the details for you. Rest assured that when all you want is to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones, we can be there to help.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact Kay Polk, Attorney at Law today.