what happens if you violate a restraining order? How do you know when you’re breaking one? Learn everything you need to know in this latest post.
A restraining order is put in place to help someone feel protected and control a person’s behavior towards the protected party. Or an order of protection could be to end a public nuisance.
Often a restraining order is issued to discourage further violence in a domestic violence situation. However, the real question is what happens if you violate a restraining order.
In this article, we are going to give you all the information you need if you or someone else violates a restraining order that has been court issued.
How to Get a Protective Order
If there is a case of domestic violence or stalking in Texas, there’s a good chance that a protective order will be issued. If someone is arrested for spousal abuse or violence against their family members, the judge can grant an order of protection. Or your spouse can petition the court for a protective order.
If there is evidence to suggest that violence has taken place and may take place in the future, there will be a separate court hearing held to implement the restraining order. The restraining order will prohibit the following:
- Further acts of domestic violence against the victim(s)
- Making threats indirectly or directly to the victim(s)
- Going near the victim(s) home or workplace
Once an order is in place, the judge may also order the violated to attend therapy sessions in a battering program as well as have them surrender any weapons in their possession. Restraining orders are valid for up to 2 years and lasts 1 year after the violator is released from jail/prison.
Even if the victim mends the relationship with the perpetrator and allows them to come back home, it is still considered a violation of the protective order, and they can be arrested.
Types of Protective Orders
In Texas, 3 types of protective orders fall under the category of family and spousal violence. These types are temporary ex parte protective order, final protective order, and magistrates order of protection.
Temporary ex parte and the final protective order are both issued after the victim has completed their application. The order can be issued before the accused being arrested.
The final order can only have a restraining order issued after the accused has been arrested. If you’ve been a victim of domestic violence call for help.
Temporary Ex Parte
This type of order is put in place to protect the victim and their family from the abuser. The abuser doesn’t have to be present in the courtroom to have the order approved.
However, to receive the order of protection, a judge must believe that the person being accused poses an immediate danger or threat to the victims involved in the case. The decision of the judge will be based on evidence that has been provided in the initial application submitted by the victim.
A temporary ex parte order is typically issued for approximately 20 days. Still, it is possible to have the order surpass that 20-day mark. If the order exceeds 20 days, it is typically because the accused has yet to be served with the restraining order.
Final Protective Order
This type of order begins once the order has been issued and can last for up to 2 years. If there is no date listed on the protection order, it will officially end upon the second anniversary of the time it was issued, so still a maximum of 2 years.
There are a few reasons why a judge may choose to extend the order past the two-year mark. These reasons would include:
- The abuser commits a felony domestic violence act during the period of the restraining order. Even if the accused is not found guilty of the violent act, it still gives the judge cause to extend the protection order
- The abuser caused bodily harm to the victim(s)
After an order has been implemented for 1 year, the abuser and their defense can then file a motion to have the order revoked. If a judge sees that there is no longer a need for the order, it isn’t uncommon for the judge to end the restraining order.
This type of order Is put into immediate effect when the abuser is arrested for one of the following:
- Violence against a family member(s)
- Sexual assault
- Sexual abuse
- Indecent assault
- Victim stalking
- Trafficking of any kind
It is not required by the court that the victim be present during the hearing for the person that has been arrested. The magistrate can issue this type of issue per your request if you choose to be present during the hearing.
Or they can issue the order based on the recommendation of a police officer, primary guardian, state prosecutor, or if they deem it necessary. If no one requests the order, the magistrate must issue an order if the abuser has caused severe bodily harm to the victim.
This type of order can remain in effect from 31-61 days. If the crime that the abuser was arrested for involves an act of violence against a family member, then the order will remain in place for a total of 61-91 days.
What Happens If You Violate a Restraining Order?
As we stated earlier, there are several reasons that a judge may implement a restraining order from public disturbance to domestic violence situations. People may be aware of the stipulations surrounding a restraining order and may not be aware of the potential consequences of violating an order.
Below you’ll find an in-depth summary of all of the consequences that follow the violation of a restraining order.
Contempt of Court, Fines, and Jail Time
Depending on the type of restraining order that has been in place, a violation of the order is violated, it can result in someone being found in contempt of court.
In Texas, the first time a person violates a protective order, it is considered a misdemeanor. Although it is a misdemeanor, a person will still face consequences such as being arrested by the police.
If law enforcement has reason to believe that an order was violated based on self-admission, witness statements, or physical evidence, a person will be arrested. If the person that has broken the order is found to be a danger to the victim, it is possible to be held in jail without bail until court.
Once the court date arrives, the judge will use the evidence that is provided to determine if a violation has actually occurred. If the violated is convicted of violating a restraining order, it is a Class A misdemeanor.
Typically, if it’s the violates first offense, they may be able to receive probation instead of jail time.
The repercussions of a conviction are punishable by up to a year in jail or a fine that can be as high as $4,000. If the violated has violated the order previously, they could face between 2-10 years in prison under a third-degree felony.
Once the ruling has been determined, the protective order will remain in place. For the violated, this could mean that they aren’t able to return to their place of residence, have to pay victims lawyer fees, mandated to attend counseling, and aren’t permitted to carry a weapon.
Fighting A Restraining Order
If someone has been hit with a restraining order, they can fight against the order. When a perpetrator chooses to challenge a protective order, their attorneys will seek to do one of the following:
- Discredit the credibility of the witness or witnesses
- Question the accuracy of the evidence and allegations
When someone has been charged with a violation, it is up to the court to prove that the order was violated with a criminal motive. The defense, in some cases, will seek to verify that the alleged violation was committed unintentionally.
When it comes to domestic violence, the courts and prosecutors do not take these crimes lightly. Therefore if you seek to fight a restraining order, it will take an attorney that is skilled in this area and will help to get you out of serious trouble.
If the evidence is weak, the defense may opt for either dismissal or a lesser consequence. Lesser consequences maybe anger management, better counseling, or any other form of an agreement.
Do You Need a Restraining Order?
We understand that taking out a restraining order on someone or being hit with one can be quite overwhelming and confusing. However, we hope that we have answered all of the questions that you could’ve had right here.
What happens if you violate a restraining order? We think we’ve made it clear what will take place after a restraining order has been broken. If you need help with a potential case that involves seeking a restraining order on someone, contact us today.
The representatives in our office have the experience to represent you in court and get you what you need to ensure that you and your family remain safe.