Have You Been Served With a Protective Order in Texas?
Protective Orders In Texas
A protective order in Texas is a legal order that prohibits a person from having contact (physical, telephonic, electronic, etc) with the person or persons they are accused of abusing. Protective orders can be a life-saving tool for victims of domestic violence, but can also be extremely detrimental to those falsely accused of domestic violence. The result of an Order of Protection being ordered can include loss of access to and possession of children, being kicked out of the marital residence, losing your constitutional right to own firearms, and punitive costs and fines.
Retaliatory allegations of abuse can be common, especially in contested child custody or divorce cases. If you have been accused of domestic violence and served with a Motion for Protective Order, it is absolutely vital you take the following steps:
- Hire legal counsel immediately.
When served with a Motion for Protective Order in Texas, you will also be noticed of a hearing. This can be set as little as three days from the date you are served, so you have very little time to hire counsel and prepare your defense. An attorney will need as much time as possible to prepare your legal defense and collect evidence. It is absolutely imperative you call an attorney as soon as you are served.
- If served with an Ex Parte Order of Protection, read the entire order and follow it to the letter until further action from the Court.
Sometimes the applicant for the protective order will submit an affidavit that leads the judge to believe the allegations of abuse are so serious that a temporary/emergency order should be issued before the actual hearing. If this occurs, you must follow the terms of the order until further judgment is issued by the court. If you violate any of the terms you can be arrested and it will damage your defense at the protective order hearing. As unfair as this may be, protect your case by following the terms. These temporary orders typically only last two weeks, so find alternative housing and stay away from your alleged victim.
NOTE: Read the entire order including the WARNINGS section which is one area most individuals fail to read in detail. The following provision highlights the importance of reading the entire order to avoid the very common mistake of allowing the applicant to entice you to violate the order.
“NO PERSON, INCLUDING A PERSON WHO IS PROTECTED BY THE ORDER, MAY GIVE PERMISSION TO ANYONE TO IGNORE OR VIOLATE ANY PROVISION OF THIS ORDER.”
- Prepare your defense.
For a judge to grant a Protective Order, the judge must find two things: that family violence has occurred and that it is likely to occur in the future. You will have been served with an affidavit outlining the claims of violence. Gather everything you have to refute these claims – social media posts, witnesses, photographs, recordings, etc. Provide everything you have to your legal team so that they can formulate your defense.
- Continue to follow the terms of any Order of Protection.
If your defense fails and the judge does find that family violence has occurred and an Order of Protection is warranted, you must follow the terms as ordered by the judge. Even if your spouse or partner attempts to see you or contact you, do not allow yourself to fall into that trap. Failure to comply with the terms of the order can result in your immediate arrest. A few years ago Orders of Protection typically lasted two years unless they are extended but recently the court has been granting a significant number of lifetime protective orders in Harris County, so do not give the other side any ammunition.
Served With A Protective Order In Harris County?
If you believe your spouse or partner has filed a Motion for Protective Order in Harris County or you have been served with a Protective Order in Texas, contact the team at the Ramos Law Group immediately. These are time sensitive matters and we can help you. Call us at (713) 225-6200 today.
Still Need More Information?
Visit our protective orders and meet the judge pages to learn more or the court site for information on court policies and procedures in your Motion For Protective Order in Harris County.