A protective order, also known as a restraining order, is intended to protect persons or family members from abuse or harm. A protective order stays in effect for two years unless the judge specifies a shorter amount of time. Also, an individual who has a protective order against them could be required to give up parental rights, give up the use or possession of community property (jointly owned or leased) or pay financial support to the petitioner or other family members.
If you are accused of violating a protective order in Texas, it can lead to serious criminal charges. If you are convicted of violating the terms of a valid protective order, you could face imprisonment and heavy fines. It is critical to hire a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in dealing with these specific types of cases. Time is of the essence, so don’t wait to contact an experienced Dallas protective order lawyer at the Law Offices of RJ Harber at (214) 389-1189 for help today.
What is a Violation of a Protective Order?
The Texas Penal Code 25.07 at http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us outlines the terms of a violation of protection orders which include the following:
- Committing an act of violence or sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault or stalking against a family member;
- Communicating with a protected individual or family member in a threatening and harassing way, or in any way that is prohibited by the protective order;
- Threatening a protected individual or family member;
- Possessing a firearm;
- Visiting or going near the protected individual or family member’s home or place of work; or
- Visiting or going near a school or daycare facility where a protected minor or child attends.
Protective orders are usually issued for different types of relationships between the parties involved, including family, two people who are in a relationship but not married, roommates, or individuals who do not fit in those categories.
Spousal/Family violence -Violence that involves an intentional act by one family member against another that results in bodily injury. This is also known as domestic violence or abuse. A family member is anyone related by marriage, a former marriage, blood, foster parent, parents of the same child or a step-parent.
Dating violence – Violence that involves an intentional act by one party against another person that they currently or previously dated that results in physical harm or bodily injury.
Household violence – Violence against a household member can be a person that lives or has previously lived in the same residence, such as a roommate.
Petitioner – Also known as the complainant, this is the individual who requests the protective order.
Respondent –Also known as the defendant, this is the individual who is the alleged offender.
Penalties for Violating a Protective Order
If the order is not modified or terminated, you can be charged with a class A misdemeanor. If you are charged with a class A misdemeanor conviction, you can spend up to one year in jail and/or receive fines totaling not more than $4,000.
If there are repeated violations of a protective order, additional charges could be filed. If you are charged with violating a protective order, you may face a felony conviction of the third degree. If you have 2 or more protective order violation convictions against you and/or violate the protective order by stalking or assaulting the petitioner. A felony conviction is punishable by jail time ranging from 2-10 years and/or a fine up to $10,000. A felony conviction also means you will ruin your personal and professional reputation, and it this will make it difficult for you to find suitable employment or housing in the future.
What to Do If You Are Accused of Violating a Protective Order
Sometimes it is not difficult to violate a protective order. For example, by coincidence, you run into the person who is under the protection of a protective order from you in a public place. In another scenario, the two parties involved try to resolve matters after a protective order has been issued. Even good intentions can still result in a conviction because an agreement between the people involved does not affect the status of a protective order that already exists. There cannot be any communication between the two parties while the order is in place. The defendant is prohibited from visiting with the victim at home or their place of business, or any additional locations that are listed in the protective order. If the victim wishes to resume relations with the defendant, they need to go back to court and request modification or termination of the order from a judge.
Suspected violation of protective orders can sometimes be based upon exaggerated claims or misunderstandings. Sometimes it does not take a lot of evidence to issue a protective order. In some cases, the protective order should have never been issued in the first place since the request for was based on frivolous testimony or hearsay that did not result in verifiable injuries on the part of the petitioner. It’s possible that he complainant will have a corroborating witness if a lack of physical evidence exists.
The court conducts a separate hearing that considers the issuance of the order, so it is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney representing your case. Regardless of the other party’s version of what happened, your legal rights can be violated if evidence based on hearsay is presented in court. An attorney who is extremely knowledgeable about these types of cases will be able to effectively defend a charge for a violation of an order of protection. If you are asked to speak with law enforcement regarding your case, it is important to seek legal counsel immediately. Remember that anything you say might be used against you, so make sure to have a lawyer present before giving any statements.
Contact a Dallas Protective Order Attorney Today
If you have been charged a violation of a protective order, you need to contact the Dallas law office of RJ Harber. He has over ten years of experience helping people just like you who have been accused of violating protective orders in Texas. He is prepared to help you get the charges against you reduced or dropped completely. Contact us today at (214) 389-1189 for a free case consultation.