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What Are the Consequences for Violating a Texas Order of Protection?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Karnes County criminal defense attorney protective order violation

Texas law enforcement offers individuals who have been the victims of domestic violence the option of filing for an order of protection. More commonly known as a restraining order, an order of protection is set in place for those who have experienced family violence or violent threats. These legal orders are only validated for certain reasons to avoid having protective measures taken against innocent Texans. The state allows an individual to obtain an order of protection if someone has hurt them or threatened to hurt them; they are afraid that the designated person will hurt them again; and either the individual, his or her partner, or his or her spouse has a close relationship with this person. This “relationship” can include marriage, dating, relatives, cohabitation, or having children together. If an order of protection is filed against someone, he or she will be notified of the terms to avoid violating the legal order and thus committing a crime.

What Constitutes a Violation of an Order of Protection?

There are multiple ways a person can be accused of violating a restraining order. These are known as “elements of the offense.” In order to be found guilty of this type of violation, the prosecution must prove that a defendant was under the restrictions of an order of protection and was aware of the order. A violation of a protective order means that a person knowingly and intentionally performed at least one of the following prohibited acts: 

  • Committed family violence

  • Committed stalking, sexual assault, or aggravated sexual assault

  • Directly/indirectly threatened or harassed the protected person or one of his or her family/household members

  • Engaged in prohibited communication with the protected individual (if specified in the order)

  • Possessed a firearm or weapon

  • Threatened, harmed, or interfered with the protected individual’s pets or animals

  • Was present within the restricted distance or locations specified in the order

What Are the Legal Consequences of a Violation?

The level of the offense can vary depending on the circumstances of the violation. For those who have violated an order of protection for the first time, the offense is considered a Class A misdemeanor. This can lead to a $4,000 fine and up to one year in jail. The severity of the offense can be increased if the defendant has had two prior violation convictions, and a violation was done by committing assault or the defendant is found guilty of stalking another person. These violations increase the charge to a third-degree felony, which is punishable by 2-10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Call an Atascosa County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Anyone who has been issued an order of protection should seek legal counsel to fully understand the details of the order and to avoid further legal action being taken against him or her. In many cases, those who violate an order of protection do so unintentionally as a result of being misinformed about the order’s stipulations. Our BCP Criminal Defense Attorneys have handled thousands of criminal cases at all levels throughout Texas, and we provide our clients with aggressive representation to help avoid convictions or harsh sentences. If you have received an order of protection or have been charged with violating a restraining order, contact our Pleasanton domestic violence attorneys at 830-769-1010 to set up a free consultation.

Sources:

http://www.txcourts.gov/media/478295/chapter9.pdf

http://www.txcourts.gov/media/1437657/protectiveorderkit-english.pdf

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PE/htm/PE.12.htm

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