You have probably heard of restraining orders and how the work. In the world of law, a restraining order is referred to as a protective order. A protective order is a court order by a judge to prevent one person from interacting with another. It promises legal action if the person it’s served against breaks any of the conditions listed in the order.
Normally, protective orders are issued for the safety of the petitioner. Many protective orders are served because of issues such as domestic violence or stalking. The majority of protective orders will restrict you from approaching, contacting or being near the vicinity of the petitioner. If you violate a protective order, you could be criminally charged as a result.
If you or someone you know has recently been served with a protective order, it’s imperative you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Attorney for Protective Orders in Harris County, Texas
A protective order could impose strict limits on you. It’s likely you’ll be barred from being within 500 feet of the petitioner, their place of employment or their home. This could affect your professional and personal life if you live in the vicinity of one another. If you have a shared home, then it’s likely you’ll be forced to move because of the protective order.
Fight back with legal representation from Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc.. Our attorneys are familiar with protective order hearings through years of experience. We want to make a defense plan for you with our quality legal service. Call (713) 224-5529 today to schedule a free consultation.
[frim] accepts clients throughout the Harris County area including Houston, Pasadena, West University Place and Tomball.
Overview of Protective Orders in Texas
- What Does a Protective Order Do in Texas?
- How Long Does A Protective Order Last?
- Emergency Protective Orders in Texas
- Penalties for Violating a Protective Order
- Additional Resources
What Does a Protective Order Do in Texas?
The purpose of a protective order is to keep the petitioner safe. The order does this by prohibiting the respondent from visiting certain areas or contacting the petitioner. If you’ve been served with a protective order, it’s likely you have another case pending. For example, many protective orders arise out of domestic violence disputes or assault charges.
A protective order can significantly alter your lifestyle. You could be required to leave a shared residence if you live with the petitioner. If your place of employment is within 500 feet of the specific areas listed in the order, then you won’t be able to go to work without violating it. In addition, you might be forced to have limited or no custody of any shared children between you and the petitioner.
Texas Family Code § 85.022 states you must abide by the conditions and terms listed in your protective order, which prohibit you from:
- Possessing a firearm;
- Committing any more domestic violence crimes;
- Contacting the petitioner, their family or friends;
- Threatening, harassing or stalking the petitioner, their family or friends;
- Using any platform to communicate with the petitioner such as social media;
- Staying in the vicinity of the petitioner’s home or their family’s residence;
- Staying in the vicinity of the petitioner’s place of business or employment;
- Staying in the vicinity of a child-care facility, school or residence where the petitioner’s child resides or attends; and
- Visiting any place or residence that is specifically off-limits in the order
How Long Does a Protective Order Last?
The duration of the protective order is determined by a judge. If the order doesn’t specify an end-date, then it will be void on the second anniversary of the date it was issued. It can exceed two years if the court discovers you have done any of the following:
- Committed a felony offense which involved the petitioner or their family. Even if you were never charged or convicted of the offense;
- Inflicted serious bodily injury to the petitioner or their family;
- Has been subject to two or more previous court order for
- The same petitioner who is issuing the current protective order; and
- The court has found you likely to commit family violence now or in the future
Emergency Protective Orders (MPEO) in Texas
In some cases, a magistrate will issue an emergency protective order after an arrest. These are referred to as Magistrate Emergency Protective Orders (MEPO). A MEPO is a temporary protective order, so the petitioner can quickly gain protection without waiting through the legal process. A magistrate can issue an emergency protective order after an arrest for:
- Sexual Assault;
- Aggravated Sexual Assault;
- Stalking; or
- Family Violence Crimes
The petitioner themselves can also apply for a MEPO. They’re not required to have a hearing beforehand but must submit the appropriate paperwork to their county clerk. The majority of MPEOs are issued after a family violence crime which involved:
- Serious bodily injury to the petitioner;
- The use of a deadly weapon during the offense; or
- The exhibition of a deadly weapon during the offense
An emergency protective order has a much shorter duration than a standard restraining order. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 17.292(j) states a MEPO involving serious bodily injury can last for:
- A minimum of up to 31 days; and
- Cannot exceed past 61 days.
If the MEPO is for an incident involving the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon, then the duration will be:
- A minimum of 61 days; and
- Cannot exceed past 91 days.
What Happens If You Violate a Protective Order?
Violating a protective order could put you in some hot water. A violation will result in criminal charges, even if the petitioner is the one initiating contact. You could face a class A misdemeanor for violating a protective order, which is punishable by:
- Up to 12 months in jail; and
- A fine of up to $4,000
Your penalties could be enhanced to a third-degree felony if you do one of the following:
- Violate your protective order and have two prior violation convictions on your record; or
- Violate your protective order by stalking or committing assault onto the petitioner
A third-degree felony can result in:
- Up to 10 years in prison; and
- A fine of up to $10,000
National Domestic Violence Hotline – Visit the official website of the National Domestic Violence Hotline to gain access resources for domestic violence victims. Read into domestic violence statistics, how to get involved and more.
Family Violence Unit – Visit the official website of the Houston Police Department (HPD) to learn more about their family violence services. Access the site to learn about their crisis counselors, how to file a complaint, and their community service agencies which offer domestic violence resources.
Lawyer for Protective Orders in Houston, Texas
Your career and personal life could be restricted by a protective order. It’s important you have legal representation to fight for your freedom. An attorney can file a request for a protective order hearing to challenge your restraining order. At the hearing your attorney can present evidence as to why you’re not a threat to the petitioner.
Contact Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. to start that process today. Our attorneys have contested numerous protective orders in Texas. We will use our resources, skills and knowledge to get the best outcome for your case. Call (713) 224-5529 to schedule a case consultation today.
Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. represents people throughout the Houston metroplex area including Bellaire, Pasadena and West University Place.
This article was last updated March 8th, 2019.