Have you been served with a petition for a protective order or charged with violating a restraining order? Protective orders are taken very seriously in Dallas and come with serious repercussions if they are not obeyed. Violating a protective order can result in high fines and jail time.
If you have been served to appear for a protective order hearing or you are facing charges for violating a protective order, it’s crucial to seek experienced legal counsel. A Dallas restraining order lawyer at the Edgett Law Firm is here to represent you and protect your legal rights. Contact our law firm for a free consultation today.
How a Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You Fight Criminal Charges for Violating a Restraining Order
When you are facing a protective order hearing or a criminal charge related to a restraining order, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and hopeless. While you are presumed innocent in the criminal justice system, it doesn’t always feel that way. A temporary protection order can be placed against you and limit your freedom even before you have the chance to defend yourself.
If you are accused of violating a restraining order, the consequences can be harsh. Even an innocent text or being too close to the petitioner accidentally can result in jail time and hefty fines.
At the Edgett Law Firm, we will work tirelessly to protect your rights and defend you at the protective order hearing and in court. Our law firm has more than a decade of legal experience representing clients in criminal cases with over 5,000 cases handled successfully. We take pride in our reputation with local prosecutors and local judges with extensive courtroom experience.
When you hire a Dallas criminal lawyer at the Edgett Law Firm to represent you, you can depend on us to:
- Perform a thorough investigation of your case
- Gather evidence to build the strongest possible defense
- Look for weaknesses or fabrications in the petitioner’s statements against you
- Represent you at the protective order hearing and in court
- Negotiate with the prosecution if you are facing a protective order violation
Protection orders in Dallas can come with serious repercussions, particularly when criminal charges are involved. You do not need to face the hearing or court alone. Contact the Edgett Law Firm today to schedule a free case review with a Dallas restraining order violation lawyer.
Types of Restraining & Protective Orders in Dallas
While the terms protective order and restraining order are usually used interchangeably, they are actually quite different.
In Texas, a restraining order dictates that someone cannot contact another person and may list things each party may and may not do in a court case. These orders are usually filed along with other court documents to maintain specific conduct during court proceedings.
Restraining orders can be Injunctions or Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO) under Texas Family Code Section 6.501. These orders are usually long with general language and may contain provisions that limit contact, use of joint resources, or order support.
Protective orders are usually associated with cases of alleged family violence, stalking, or harassment. These orders are designed to stop someone from threatening, harassing, stalking, or physically assaulting a victim and other household members.
Protective orders are more nuanced with greater detail to address:
- Length of time the protective order will be in effect
- How any criminal offenses shall be addressed
- Type of protection that is being sought based on the details of the case
There are three types of Texas protective orders:
- Temporary ex-parte orders
- Permanent protective orders
- Emergency protective orders (Magistrate’s Order of Emergency Protection) issued after an arrest for stalking, sexual abuse, sexual assault, and trafficking
A permanent protective order requires that the party the order is filed against be present in court. Temporary and emergency orders can be issued without the party present. While the first two orders are issued in civil court, an emergency protective order is issued by a criminal court.
A temporary protective order can last up to 20 days while the permanent order can remain in effect for up to 2 years. An emergency protective order involving serious bodily injury can last 31 to 61 days. When an emergency order involves the use of a deadly weapon, it can last for 61 to 91 days.
The Protective Order Hearing Process in Texas
A temporary ex-parte protective order can be obtained against you if you are accused of physical harm, abuse, or assault against a partner and the judge believes it is likely to happen again. To receive a temporary protective order, the other party must present evidence before the judge issues the order that is in effect for up to 20 days. You do not need to be present for this order.
A permanent or final protective order can remain in effect for up to two years and you must be given a chance to attend a hearing and present evidence and arguments in your defense. A hearing will be held that is separate from any criminal proceedings within 14 days of the petitioner filing an application.
You will receive notice of this hearing along with the date, location, and copy of the application.
During the protective order hearing, you have the chance to plead your case, present evidence, call witnesses to testify, and demonstrate why a final protective order should be fined. A Dallas restraining order attorney can help you defend yourself during the hearing.
An order will be issued if the court finds that domestic violence or certain offenses have occurred and are likely to occur again. A default order can also be entered if you do not appear for the hearing. This is why it is crucial to consult with an experienced protective order defense lawyer in Dallas ahead of your hearing date.
Common Injunctions in a Dallas Protective Order
If a protective order is filed against you or there is a default order, you may be prohibited from a range of actions.
Common injunctions in a protective order in Dallas include:
- Prohibited from possessing a firearm
- Required completion of an intervention program
- Prevention from going to the petitioner’s residence, school, or work or the school of a protected child (including biological, adoptive, and foster children)
- Prohibited from committing acts of violence against a family member
- Prohibited from removing a child from the petitioner
- Prohibited from transferring or disposing of jointed held or leased property
- Prohibited from communicating with the petitioner
- Prohibited from exercising child custody rights
These injunctions can extend to not only the petitioner but also the petitioner’s current romantic partners, roommates, children, and pets.
It’s common for protection orders to contain provisions that allow for either no contact, remaining a certain distance away, or allowing for peaceful contact:
- A “peaceful contact” order allows you to contact the petitioner for issues such as visitation with children you share
- A “No contact” order bar you from calling, texting, emailing, assaulting, stalking, or harassing the petitioner
- A “stay away” order requires that you remain a certain distance, such as 100 yards, from the petitioner and their home, work, school, and car.
- A “move out” order requires that you move out of the home you share with the petitioner
These injunctions can remain in effect for up to 2 years. These strict limits can prevent you from coming within 500 feet of the petitioner, their job, or their home. If you live nearby, this can upend your life. If you share a home, you will typically be forced to move immediately.
The consequences of a protective order are harsh. An experienced Dallas criminal defense attorney at the Edgett Law Firm will help you protect your legal rights and defend you at the hearing. Our goal is to prevent a restraining or protective order from being issued against you.
Penalties for Violating a Restraining Order
When you violate a restraining order, you are accused of violating a judge’s direct order. This can have very serious consequences. With probable cause that you violated the injunctions of the order, such as contacting the person protected by the order, you can be arrested without a warrant. You can also be held without bail until a judge determines if you pose an immediate threat.
Violating a protection order is a Class C misdemeanor for a first offense. If you are convicted, you face up to a $4,000 fine and up to 12 months in jail.
With two or more previous convictions for violating a restraining order or committing a stalking or assault offense, violating a restraining order is instead a third-degree felony. This is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and 2 to 10 years in prison.
Contact a Dallas Restraining Order Lawyer for a Free Case Review
A protective order can restrict your freedom and your rights. It may affect not only your personal life but your career and even where you live. At the Edgett Law Firm, our Dallas restraining order lawyers are here to fight for your freedom and your rights. We will help you challenge the protective order or charges that you violated an existing order to safeguard your future.
Contact our law offices today to schedule a free case review with a Dallas restraining order defense lawyer who can help you explore your legal options. We represent clients in and around Dallas, including Collin County and Dallas County.