Protective Orders in Texas
What Is a Protective Order?
A magistrate judge will generally order an emergency protective order in assault cases after you are arrested. The purpose of the order is to prevent the accused from committing future family violence against the complaining witness, to not communicate directly or indirectly with the complaining witness or any member of the complaining witnesses’ family, to not go near the residence or workplace, and to suspend the accused’s concealed handgun license and prohibit the accused from possessing a firearm. The order can be for a minimum of 31 days or maximum of 61 days. After the expiration of the emergency protective order, the complaining witness can seek to get a Final Protective Order, which can last up to 2 years.
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Results of a Protective Order
Protective orders come with harsh consequences so always try to fight them! Protective orders are public records, which means anyone can see the order. In addition, you may be required to pay for and complete long and expensive “Batterers Intervention” classes. You can be forced to find a new home if required to stay away from your current residence because the complaining witness lives there or even find a new job. Protective Orders can make it illegal for you to possess a firearm under federal law. This provision can subject you to federal prosecution.
Violating a Protective Order
Violation of a Protective Order under Section 25.071 of the Texas Penal Code is taken very seriously. What this means is that you failed to follow a condition that was set in the order. For example, if you keep visiting the complaining witness at their home or keep calling them and they decide to call the police, you will get arrested. Once arrested, the judge will determine your bond. Your bond amount will be based on the severity of the violation. If you are a continued threat, you can bet your bond will be high.
If you are found to have violated a protective order, it is a Class A Misdemeanor carrying up to one year in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $4,000. If you’ve had two or more previous convictions, it becomes a third-degree felony carrying a 2-10 year sentence in the Texas Department of Corrections and/or a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Fighting a Violation Order
The state will base the violation on the statement of someone else, primarily the complaining witness. The key to fighting a violation is to challenge the credibility or accuracy of the allegations. Providing proof that you were out of town or at work during the time of the alleged violation will certainly help. Remember the State must prove that you knowingly or intentionally communicated, threatened, or tried to see the protected individual beyond a reasonable doubt. It is important to get legal representation immediately. A skilled attorney will know how to effectively defend you against these allegations.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact the Dallas criminal defense lawyers at the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC. We can help defend you today. Call our firm at (214) 238-9844.