If you are being restricted by a protective order, it is a stressful situation. The fact is, however, that many people are not fully aware of the exact restrictions they are under. Violating a protective order is a crime, so it is important to understand the parameters of your order and to work within them.
Texas Has Three Kinds of Protective Orders
The State of Texas has three kinds of protective orders that include:
Temporary Ex Parte Orders
Temporary ex parte orders are temporary orders that the judge can issue when he or she believes that – without it – the person asking for the order would be in imminent danger. These orders can last up to 20 days and can be extended for additional 20-day periods – according to the judge’s discretion.
Permanent Protective Orders
Permanent protective orders usually last up to two years, but they can be extended. Such extensions are usually attached to acts of felony violence.
Emergency Protective Orders
Emergency protective orders are issued for instance of sexual assault, stalking, trafficking, and violence, and they generally last for one to two months but are often extended if the precipitating act was aggravated by the presence of a deadly weapon.
Protective Order Violations
While there are many ways to violate a protective order, there are several violations that are most common, and they include:
- Communicating with the person protected by the order – Simply communicating with the alleged victim can be a violation of your order.
- Approaching the person protected by the order – If you are restricted by a protective order, it is important to steer clear of those areas where you would reasonably expect to encounter the protected person. This includes his or her home, school, and workplace, and his or her children's schools and/or daycare facility.
- Threatening the person protected by the order – Making any kind of threat or engaging in any threatening behavior is always a protective-order violation. This extends to everyone in the household of the person protected by the order. For example, threatening the protected person’s roommate is a violation.
- Committing an act of violence against the person protected by the order
- Possessing a firearm while the protective order is in place – The simple act of possessing a firearm when there is a protective order against you is a violation of that order.
Violating a protective order is a serious crime, and if you have been so accused, the best path forward is to work closely with an experienced Killeen criminal defense attorney.