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If you do not feel safe because someone has threatened to harm you or has already harmed you, you do not have to continue to live in fear. You can apply for a protective order to restrain the person from hurting you again.

There is no shame in seeking help. The attorneys at the Ramos Law Group, PLLC, are here and ready to help if you are ready to take that step. Getting yourself out of a bad situation takes real courage, and we consider it a privilege to empower our clients to take the legal steps needed to move forward. We offer compassionate, confidential consultations. 

Who Can Get a Protective Order?

In Texas, when you fear for your life or safety based on another person’s conduct, you can request a protective order (PO). POs restrain the conduct of the other person, and some states call them restraining orders.

You can request a protective order based on family violence or stalking, trafficking, or sexual violence. Family violence POs can only be issued if the parties have a qualifying relationship, while POs related to other criminal acts can be issued regardless of the parties’ relationship. 

What Is Family Violence?

Three situations qualify as family violence for PO purposes:

  • A family or household member threatens, attempts to cause, or actually causes physical harm, bodily injury, or sexual assault;
  • A family or household member abuses a child of the family or household; and
  • Dating violence. 

Understanding these situations requires a few definitions.

Family includes: 

  • Individuals related by blood or marriage, 
  • Former spouses, 
  • Parents of a shared child, and 
  • Foster children and foster parents.

A household includes individuals who live together, regardless of their relationship. Household members include people who previously lived together.  

Abuse includes: 

  • Physical injury substantially harming a child; 
  • Directing sexual conduct toward a child; 
  • Encouraging sexual conduct by a child; 
  • Allowing or participating in the creation of child pornography; 
  • Physically, emotionally, or mentally injuring a child while using a controlled substance; 
  • Allowing a child to use a controlled substance; or 
  • Forcing a child to get married.

Finally, dating violence includes threatening, attempting to cause, or actually causing physical harm, bodily injury, or sexual assault between individuals currently or previously in a romantic or intimate relationship. Dating violence also includes violence against a person’s former romantic partner’s current partner. 

Who Can Apply for a Family Violence PO?

Usually, the person who experienced the violence files the application. Any adult can file on a minor’s behalf, though the person who files is often a family or household member. A minor can file on their own behalf if the request is based on dating violence. 

When Can Crime Victims Request POs?

Although these cases often involve criminal prosecution, criminal charges need not be filed for you to request a PO for:

  • Sexual assault or abuse,
  • Indecent assault,
  • Stalking, or
  • Human trafficking.

An adult may request a PO on behalf of a minor victim, as can a prosecuting attorney in a related criminal case. If the victim is over 18 years of age, they can object to the prosecutor filing a PO on their behalf.

What Types of Protective Orders Can You Get?

In Texas, there are three types of POs:

  • Temporary,
  • Permanent, and
  • Emergency.

Temporary and permanent POs are civil in nature, while emergency POs are criminal in nature.

Temporary Protective Orders

Temporary POs are referred to as being “ex parte” because they do not require that the person you file the order against be provided time to respond. You have to convince a judge there is a “clear and present danger” that the other person will commit family violence or criminal harm against you or the person you request the order on behalf of. 

Temporary POs last for 20 days and can be extended for an additional 20 days. After that, you request a permanent order in court if you want the PO to continue.

Permanent Protective Orders

To get a PO that lasts longer than 20 days, you have to present your case to a judge in a court hearing. The person you file the order against will have the opportunity to respond and defend themself. If they are notified of the hearing and choose not to attend, the court may enter a default order granting the PO. The other party may also consent to the PO.

If the other party does not agree to the PO and shows up to court, you can present your evidence that family violence or a criminal act occurred. Usually, that requires you to testify and explain what the other person did, using any evidence you may have such as photos, text messages, or witnesses. Then, the responding party will have a chance to defend against your evidence. After that, the judge will decide whether to issue a PO.

Facing your abuser in court and revealing details about the harm they caused is a challenging process and can expose you to additional trauma. We understand how difficult testifying can be, and we work with all our PO clients to provide whatever resources they need.

Permanent protective orders usually last for two years. They may last longer if the circumstances involved bodily harm or acts that constitute felonies, regardless of conviction, or if the subject of the PO has had two or more POs issued to protect the same person before.

Emergency Protective Orders

You can only request an emergency protective order (EPO) when the state arrests an individual for family violence or sexual assault. The state may also request an EPO through a police officer, magistrate, prosecuting attorney, or the court may issue it on its own motion. EPOs last 31 to 91 days. 

What Can Protective Orders Do?

The law empowers the court to restrain the subject of the PO’s conduct in several ways, including prohibiting them from:

  • Committing criminal acts or acts of family violence against you;
  • Coming within 200 feet of you, your home, your workplace, your family, or your children’s school or care facility;
  • Contacting you electronically;
  • Living in your home;
  • Possessing a gun;
  • Harming or threatening your pets; or
  • Tracking or monitoring you.

The court can tailor the order to ensure you are protected.

Reach Out for a Confidential Consultation with a League City Protective Orders Attorney

Applying for a PO is a challenging process, but we encourage you to begin as soon as possible. If you need a protective orders lawyer, contact us today. We can provide a confidential consultation and help you locate resources to keep you safe. We aim to empower all of our clients and offer our support and compassion through every step of the PO process.

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Our Client Testimonials

Superb Law Firm

The decision to end my 25-year marriage was not an easy one, but hiring the Ramos Law Group was. From the initial consultation to the execution of the Divorce Decree everyone at the firm displayed the utmost professionalism and I was treated as if I was their only client. My attorney Lindsey, always provided precise legal guidance, was usually one step ahead of the opposing counsel, and had a superb understanding of how things would play out in the court room. Additionally, whenever my case needed a little extra horsepower, Mary provided that "surge" to keep things on track.

Worth Every Penny

"Ms. Ramos and her entire staff worked with professionalism and compassion to guide me through the most difficult time of my life and to an outcome that was best for my family and myself. Ramos Law is incredible and I highly, highly recommend their services."

Custody case won

"I was recommended to see Mary Ramos for my on coming custody case,it was the best thing I could've done honestly.The Ramos law group was quick with emailed responses and telephone calls,informative with ANY questions I had and they also took action with what they thought would work,which it did,I had money troubles and they were still willing to help they sent me with a younger lawyer Lindsey Lewis to help save some money and she was the best!She knew what she was doing and Mary was still on my case to make sure things went smoothly and to catch any details Lindsey and I might have missed.All in all I am a very satisfied client and if I ever needed a family lawyer again I would come back.My case was won as I received primary for my daughter which is exactly what I asked for.If you're willing to listen to what they have to say and follow their guidance they're definitely worth hiring.I thought I wanted sole custody for my daughter and they explained that wasn't in the best interest for her and honestly they were right,they speak to you on a professional level and also a real level of how things are actually going to work and what could happen if you take a certain action.They definitely care about their clients and make their own bond with you,you're not just money in their pockets you turn into family. "

Divorce Attorney

"I received excellent advice and representation from Ms. Lindsey Lewis. She kept me updated at every step of the process, and I never felt as if my case was set aside. I would hire The Ramos Law Group in the future. "

Highly recommend

"I started my divorce with a lawyer who was not very responsive. My divorce case was complicated and needed more laborious scrutiny. Since the case was not moving forward I had to switch lawyers. Made the switch to Ramos Law group. Since the very first day Mary and her team have been very efficient and meticulous. Since the case was complicated the team had to go through myriads of pages in discovery. I was pleased with the legal team that helped us handle the paperwork in a very timely manner. All my questions were answered very promptly. The relay of information was easy with their software system. We finally had a law firm that we could trust. My divorce was finalized and I only have Mary and her team to thank for going through a difficult divorce. I would highly recommend the Ramos law group for their help and support for getting my life back on track. "

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