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What are the penalties for violating a protective order?

When you are faced with a situation where a court order becomes necessary to protect yourself, it’s understandable to be nervous about the protective order not actually being enough to stop the other party. However, the consequences for violating a protective order can be quite severe. Understanding what happens when someone violates a protective order is an important step in being thoroughly informed about the process.

Any person who has violated one of these orders faces possible jail time and monetary fines, but the details depend somewhat on the specific circumstances. For instance, violating a temporary protective order can mean as much as a $500 fine and 6 months in jail. The usual maximum jail time is one year. However, if the violation also included an act of family violence, the jail time can be extended to a minimum of two years. Family violence matters may also result in criminal prosecution for a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the situation.

Respondents to protective orders can also be required to pay the fees for filing the order, and this is also true if the person violates the order and is charged with contempt. A person found in contempt of a court order may also have additional penalties imposed on them by the courts.

If you believe that the person you are trying to obtain a protective order against may not adhere to the terms of the order, it’s important to talk with your attorney. He or she can give you information on what to do if the other party attempts to contact you and what legal options you may have.

Source: FindLaw, “Texas Protective Orders Laws,” accessed Jan. 22, 2016

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