Types of Restraining Orders Available in Texas
Restraining orders are an important tool for many who are under the threat of another. These orders provide relief from harassing behavior, physical abuse, stalking, and more.
If you live in Texas, understanding the various restraining orders available is important. It can help you determine which is best suited for your situation.
Here is a broad overview of the protective orders the state provides.
Overview of Texas’s Protective Orders
Protective orders, sometimes called restraining orders, are legal documents that a court issues. They help protect people from harm or harassment. You can request a restraining order when you believe you are in danger. In some cases, the police can request an order for you, fast-tracking the process.
You can request an order against anyone else who is causing you fear, regardless of whether it’s a friend, family member, or someone you barely know. Once a restraining order is issued, it legally prohibits the abuser from having any contact or communication with you.
Violating a restraining order can result in criminal charges and meaningful penalties.
Grounds for a Restraining Order in Texas
Here are some reasons you can request a restraining order against someone:
- Unwanted sexual advances
- Various forms of harassment
- Actual acts of violence or abuse
- Credible threats of violence or harm
Breaking Down Different Restraining Orders in TX
Emergency Protective Orders, Also Called a Magistrate's Order for Emergency Protection
These orders can provide immediate protection for victims and their children. You can obtain these restraining orders quickly, without the presence of the offender. They last for a limited time, typically 20 days. During that period, you should prepare a case for a more permanent order. Law Offices Of Mark M. Childress has years of experience in helping people get the protection they need, so reach out to us if you are in danger.
Violating this order is a crime, and an offender could face severe punishments.
Temporary Ex Parte Orders
These protective orders are often used in cases of domestic violence, harassment, or stalking. They can provide much-needed protection for someone in a vulnerable position.
These orders are granted without the other party’s presence, and they typically last up to 20 days. They can prohibit the abuser from contacting, threatening, or stalking the victims. The orders can also require them to stay a certain distance away.
If an offender violates an ex parte order, it is technically considered a contempt of court crime. The penalties are lighter than those connected to an emergency order, but they do send a strong message to the abuser. If the abuser continues to violate the order, they can face harsher penalties with each offense.
Permanent Protective Orders
Permanent protective orders can help victims of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault. These orders can last for years. Judges can decide the length of the order. Typically, the orders last about 2 years. They can, however, be renewed.
Offenders have the right to defend themselves against protective orders. When they do, they will present their evidence in court against their accuser. Both sides can build their case, so it’s important to have an attorney who can help when requesting a permanent order in Texas.
The state takes permanent orders seriously, and there can be severe penalties for those who violate them.
Behaviors That a TX Protective Order Can Prohibit
- Possessing a firearm
- Physically harming the victim
- Threatening or harassing the victim or their family members
- Contacting the victim through phone calls, emails, or any other electronic communication
- Coming within a certain distance of the victim; this can include prohibiting the abuser from going near the victim’s work, school, local grocery store, etc.
Potential Penalties for Violating a Restraining Order in TX
- Contempt charges (depending on the type of order)
- Third-degree felony (2 to 10 years in prison; fines up to $10,000)
- Class A misdemeanor (up to 1 year in county jail; fines up to $4,000)
- State jail felony (imprisonment 180 days to 2 years; fines up to $10,000)
Even if the violation was unintentional, the court may still decide to hold the respondent in contempt.
How to File a Restraining Order in Texas
- If you are in immediate danger, call the police. They may be able to help you obtain an emergency order, granting immediate protection.
- Visit your local courthouse and ask for the necessary forms. Fill out the forms with as much detail as possible, including the person you are seeking protection from and why. Once the forms are complete, return them to the courthouse and a judge will review your case.
- If the judge agrees that there is a risk of harm, they will grant a temporary restraining order.
- Contact an attorney to help you prepare for filing a permanent order.
- Attend a hearing for a permanent restraining order and present your case to the court. The accused may also attend this hearing and present a defense, so make sure you and your attorney have built a strong case.
If you need legal protection against an abuser, stalker, or harasser, contact our firm today for help. You can reach us online or call us directly at (817) 497-8148.