A Closer Look At Ensuring Your Safety
Domestic violence can be a traumatic experience for any family or individual. In Texas, protective orders are a crucial tool in providing safety and support to those affected by domestic violence. Understanding the different types of protective orders available can help you determine the best course of action for your situation.
At Bineham & Gillen, we’re committed to guiding you through your legal journey in San Antonio. Let’s delve into the three types of Texas protective orders and the criteria for qualifying for one.
Restraining Order vs. Protective Order
Often, these two terms are used interchangeably, even though there are differences between them. In Texas, a restraining order is often linked to a civil case, whereas a protective order is usually associated with family violence.
Protective orders are legal documents issued by a court that offer various protections for the petitioner, which can be you or your child. These orders can direct an abuser to:
- Cease all acts of family/dating violence.
- Halt any form of communication with you or a third party.
- Stay away from your home, workplace or other specified locations.
- Avoid the school or daycare facility of a protected child.
- Provide child support during the order’s duration.
Anyone who violates a protective order can be arrested. To qualify for a protective order in Texas, the abuser must be a family or household member, or someone who has committed sexual assault, even if they are not a family member or partner.
What Is A Protective Order In Texas?
Texas law provides three main types of protective orders, each designed to address different levels of urgency and duration.
Temporary Ex Parte Order
A temporary ex parte order is an immediate form of protection issued by a civil court. To grant this order, a judge must believe there is a clear and present danger posed by the abuser to you or a family member.
Typically, this order lasts no more than 21 days but can be extended in 20-day increments if necessary. Notably, the abuser does not need to be present in court for this order to be issued. It offers protection while the abuser is being formally notified of the injunction.
Permanent (Final) Protective Order
During a hearing, both parties have the opportunity to present their arguments. If the judge is convinced that abuse has occurred, they will issue a permanent protective order, which can last up to 2 years.
In cases where the abuser has committed a felony involving family violence or caused serious bodily injury, the judge may extend the order beyond the typical two-year limit. In extreme instances, lifetime protective orders can be issued.
Emergency Protective Order
If your partner has engaged in offenses such as stalking, assault, sexual assault, sexual abuse or trafficking, an emergency protective order may be issued. This order can be requested by you, your guardian, the arresting police officer or the prosecutor. These types of orders are commonly filed at the time of the arrest by the arresting officer.
Filing For A Protective Order
To initiate the process, you need to file an application at the District Attorney’s office in the county where the abuse occurred. If you have an ongoing divorce case, file the application in the court handling your divorce.
The application must be thoroughly completed and submitted, after which a judge will review your case to determine the appropriate type of protective order.
Seeking Legal Assistance
Navigating family disputes and the complexities of protective orders can be challenging. The experienced family lawyers at Bineham & Gillen in San Antonio are here to support and guide you through this process. If you need assistance obtaining a protective order or have any legal concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us to get started on your next steps.