Protective Orders For Acts of Family Violence

protective order picSeveral types of protective orders are available in Texas to protect you and your family from family violence, abuse or serious injury.

“Family violence” is (i) violence by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household, (ii) abuse by a member of a family or household against a child of the family or household, or (iii) dating violence.

“Violence” is an act intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault or sexual assault, or is a threat that reasonably places a family member or household member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault or sexual assault.

“Abuse” is (i) physical injury resulting in substantial harm to a child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to a child, including an injury that varies from the child’s history or explanation given, (ii) sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare, including indecency with a child or sexual assault, or (iii) compelling or encouraging a child to engage in sexual conduct.  “Abuse,” however, does not include an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator that does not expose a child to a substantial risk of harm

“Dating violence” is an act by an individual against another individual with whom the offending person has or had a dating relationship that is intended to cause physical harm, bodily injury, assault or sexual assault, or is a threat that reasonably places the individual in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault or sexual assault.

The three types of protective orders available in Texas to protect you and your family from family violence, abuse or serious injury are (i) temporary ex parte protective orders, (ii) final protective orders, and (iii) magistrate’s orders for emergency protection.

Temporary ex parte protective orders.  Temporary ex parte protective orders may be issued when there is a clear and present danger of family violence.  Temporary ex parte protective orders can be granted by a court without notice to the other party or a hearing unless the applicant asks the court to remove the offending person from the residence.  This type of protective order is effective for up to twenty days unless extended.  A person who violates a temporary ex parte protective order can be punished in a civil proceeding for contempt and subject to civil penalties and criminal prosecution.

Final Protective Orders.   Final protective orders may be issued when family violence has occurred and is likely to occur in the future, or when a previously rendered protective order has been violated.  Final protective orders issued for these purposes require notice to the offending party and a court hearing.  This type of protective order is generally effective for up to two years, although a final protective order can be effective longer in certain circumstances (such when the offending party is confined or imprisoned on the date the protective order is set to expire).  A person who violates a final protective order can be punished in a civil proceeding for contempt and subject to civil penalties and criminal prosecution.

Magistrate’s orders for emergency protection.  A magistrate may order emergency protection after a person has been arrested for family violence, sexual assault or stalking.  A magistrate’s order for emergency protection can be granted by a court without notice to the offending party or a hearing.  This type of protective order is effective for at least 31 days, but no longer than 61 days – unless the family violence involved the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon.  In such instances, a magistrate’s order is effective for at least 61 days, but no longer than 91 days.  A person who violates a magistrate’s order for emergency protection can be punished in a civil proceeding for contempt and subject to civil penalties and criminal prosecution.

Under Texas law, peace officers are obligated to enforce protective orders, including protective orders issued in another state if an officer reasonably believes a valid protective order is in effect and has been violated.

Don’t subject yourself to ongoing family violence or abuse when a protective order might save you and your family from serious injury.  Call Sonya Coffman.  Because . . . family matters.