In Texas, protective orders – also known as restraining orders – are often issued by courts in cases involving domestic violence or stalking. A judge may grant such an order if an individual is arrested on family violence charges, or if the person’s spouse can file a petition with the court requesting protection.
The protective order may restrict a person from:
- Committing domestic assault
- Making direct or indirect threats
- Going near the other individual’s home and place of employment
These orders are valid for as long as the judge decides, typically up to two years. If you are sent to jail or prison, however, the order can last up to one year upon release.
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What Happens If You Violate a Protective Order in Texas?
At the bail hearing, the judge will decide – after reviewing the evidence – whether or not a person violated a protective order with the intent to commit additional family violence or stalking.
If that is the case, the judge can hold you until trial without setting bail. In most cases, a conviction for violating a protective order is considered a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum county jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to $4,000.
However, if the individual who violated the order has two or more previous convictions, then it is considered a third-degree felony. This type of felony is punishable by a prison sentence between two and ten years.
Furthermore, two or more violations of a protective order within a 12-month period can be combined into a single third-degree felony – commonly named Repeated Violation of Protective Order.