Protective orders, more often called restraining orders, are issued frequently by Texas courts in cases involving domestic violence or stalking. An order might be issued if you are arrested for alleged family violence or if a spouse or partner requests one from the court.
Being subject to a restraining order can greatly disrupt your life. It can prevent you from going near someone’s home or work. You could be forced to attend a battery prevention class, and you might have to give up possession of your firearms.
These disruptions can affect you for a long time because restraining orders can be effective for up to two years, or up to a year after you are released from jail.
What it Means to Violate the Conditions of a Restraining Order
Violating a protective order is a serious matter. It’s so serious that police can arrest you without a warrant as long as they have probable cause to believe you violated the order.
Officers can get probable cause by getting statements from witnesses, seeing physical evidence such as cuts or bruises on the victim, or from statements you make yourself.
Most Texas restraining orders spell out the things that you cannot do while you’re under the order. Typically, you can be found in violation if you:
- Make direct or indirect threats against the protected person
- Commit domestic assault
- Get caught with a gun
- Go too near the person’s house, school or workplace
- Vandalize or damage the protected person’s property
- Commit any other crime or act of violence against the protected person
What Happens if You Violate a Protective Order in Texas?
After your arrest, there will be a bail hearing. Here the judge will determine whether you violated the order with the intent to commit stalking or violence. If the judge believes that was indeed your intent, you could be detained without bail until your trial date.
Even if this is your first offense for violating a restraining order, you can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. A conviction is punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000.
For first-time offenders, lawyers can often convince judges to sentence you to probation or community supervision, plus counseling and possibly substance abuse treatment if needed.
If you have two or more previous convictions, you can be charged with a third-degree felony. This means a possible sentence of two to 10 years in prison.
If you’re accused of violating a restraining order, contact a lawyer right away. You may have defenses available. For example, you might not have even known a restraining order existed. A lawyer can also argue for more lenient punishments such as anger management or counseling instead of jail.
Call Our Fort Worth Lawyers if You Are Accused of Violating a Restraining Order
At Lee & Wood, LP we help clients fight against alleged protective order violations in Fort Worth, Weatherford, Granbury and all surrounding areas. We provide a free initial consultation where we’ll listen compassionately to you, and explain how we can help. Call 817-678-6771 or email us today.