In Texas, victims of family-based violence can seek protection under the law by requesting a protective order. Protective orders are civil orders designed to protect the victim from abuse such as:
- Physical abuse –Physical abuse includes grabbing, hitting, and slapping. The victim does not have to show external signs of abuse for charges to be filed.
- Emotional abuse – Emotional abuse reduces a person’s self-esteem. This may include name-calling, belittling comments or other comments that may upset the victim and occur on a frequent basis.
- Psychological abuse – Psychological abuse involves threats and intimidation and may involve threats of exposing personal private details to friends and family over social media accounts.
- Economic abuse – In certain instances, one person is the many provider of financial support. One person may withhold financial support in order to control the person or to coerce the person to do something they would not do.
What is in a protective order?
Protective orders have several provisions that stop a person from doing something. Some of the common language one will notice in a protective order are:
- No contact – No contact includes phone calls, text messages, emails and stalking.
- Distance – The person will be required to maintain a certain distance away from the victim
- No firearms – In nearly all cases, the firearms of the accused abuser in the court order will be seized.
What are the penalties for violating a protective order?
Violations of a protective order are taken very seriously in Texas. When a protective order is issued a copy of the order is given to the local department of safety as well as the police station where the victim lives. If the accused violates the protective order they could face:
- Civil charges – Civil charges may involve jail time, fines and other punitive measures as determined by the court.
- Criminal charges – Violation of a protective order may subject the accused to face fines of up to $4,000 and jail time. If violence was committed the accused could face misdemeanor or felony charges, the results of which could be jail time of six months to two years and additional fines.
If you are currently a victim of domestic violence, please contact the authorities and seek help first. Once you have received the immediate help please contact an Arlington family lawyer for a consultation regarding protective orders.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Brandy Austin Law Firm for their insight into family law and protective orders.