Has someone recently taken a protective order, otherwise known as a “restraining order” out against you for family violence (domestic violence) in Denton County? If so, it’s important that you understand the effects of a protective order and what can happen if you violate it.
What is a protective order? In Texas, it is a civil court order that prohibits someone from committing further acts of family violence. However, a victim can also get a protective order against someone who has sexually assaulted them, forced them into human trafficking, or who has been stalking them.
Family violence (also known as domestic violence) refers to spousal abuse, child abuse, and violence between other household or family members. Family violence can refer to physical abuse between household or family members or threats to commit serious bodily harm between such individuals.
“Family” includes any of the following: spouses, parents and children, stepparents and stepchildren, foster parents and foster children, grandparents and grandchildren, any other blood relative or relative by marriage, and members of the same household.
What Can a Protective Order Do to Me?
Suppose a protective order was taken out against you for family violence. In that case, a protective order can:
- Force you to leave the family home,
- Order you to stay away from the people protected in the order (e.g. your spouse and children),
- Order you to relinquish your firearms,
- Order you to stay away from your children’s school or daycare,
- Order you to pay child and spousal support (for up to one year), and
- Order you to receive mandatory counseling.
It doesn’t cost an alleged victim of family violence anything to get a protective order. However, protective orders are issued on a case-by-case basis; it’s up to the judge to decide. The court can impose a fee upon the offender for the costs associated with the protective order, unless the offender can show the court that he or she has little to no income.
What if I Violate a Protective Order?
If you violate a protective order, including an ex parte order, local law enforcement will be notified. From there, law enforcement will seek an arrest and criminal charges will be filed against you.
You may be found in contempt of court, fined up to $500, or sent to jail for up to six months, or both. A violation of a protective order, excluding an ex parte order, is punishable by up to a $4,000 fine, or up to one year in jail, or both.