What Happens If You Violate A Protective Order

What is a protective order and what can I do if I break it? If you’re currently under a protective order there are consequences if you violate it.  Likewise, there are consequences if you have a protective order against another party and they violate it.

Protective orders issued by Harris County courts in Houston are binding in all areas of the state.  It is also important to know that protective orders issued in other Texas counties are binding in Harris County as well as all counties in the state.

When a protective order is violated it can result in a fine, jail time, or both.  Protective orders are very serious.  Law enforcement agencies are notified of all protective orders filed in their county.  If the offender violates a protective order law enforcement is notified.  The law enforcement officials will arrest the offender and request that charges be filed.  If the offender violates the protective order in the presence of law enforcement they will immediately be violated.  If the order that is violated is an ex parte order they offender may be issued a fine in an amount up to $500 or up to six-months in jail.  If the order is not an ex parte order then the offender can be fined up to $4,000 and/or jailed for up to one year.

What is a Protective Order?

A protective order is a common court order issued to halt instances of family brutality, rape, and sexual assault, human trafficking or stalking. Protective orders may also be issued outside of these circumstances, for instance, violence in the workplace or shared social setting.  Family violence or domestic violence involves situations when on family member causes or intends to cause physical harm or threatens physical harm to another family member.  It also includes child abuse.

Texas courts define family as both blood relative and relative by marriage, former spouses, parents of a child, both foster parents, and foster children, or people living in the same home.  This is a broad definition of family that is covered or potentially covered by a protective order.Protective Order

When an individual applies for a protective order the court must hear the case within 14 days.  If it is determined that the individual is in immediate danger the court may issue a temporary ex parte order.  This temporary order is valid for up to 20 days.  Final orders are typically effective for 2 years unless the court specifies a different length of time.

A protective order may restrict the aggressor from continuing the dangerous or harmful behavior, harassing, being in the same general area as the complainant, and more. Additionally, some protective orders cover particular circumstances as in child visitation exchanges where two parties must be in each other’s presence.

How Do I Find Assistance?

The individual seeking a protective order can get assistance from the district or county attorney.  They may also get the assistance of a provide attorney or other organization that provides legal assistance.  All applications must be filed in the county where the offender lives.  Protective orders are not just for women.  Men may need to seek a protective order as well.

To get help with filing a protective order or defending against a protective order contact us by calling or texting today.

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