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What to Know about Protective Orders in Dallas / Fort Worth TX

Sometimes arguments escalate with loved ones, and when this happens, things can get complicated. The police may get involved, and one of you may be arrested while the other one files a protective order. A protective order is unfortunate because these can be put into place before you are ever convicted of a crime and before you have had a chance to defend yourself. And when a protective order is issued, you usually can't return home or go anywhere near your loved ones -- even if your loved ones no longer want the protective order and want you home.

Retaining an attorney as soon as possible is your best chance at fighting the protective order and fighting any charges laid against you. Contact Carl David Ceder Attorney at Law to learn more about protective orders and what you can do if one has been issued against you.

What types of Protective Orders are there in Texas?

There are four different types of protective orders that could be issued in Texas after a person has been accused of domestic assault. The limits placed on you and your freedom depends on the type of protective order issued. The four types of Texas protection orders are:

  1. Magistrate's Order for Emergency Protection (MOEP)
  2. Twenty-Day Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order
  3. Two-Year Protective Order
  4. Lifetime Protective Order.

As such, protective orders can be issued for emergency situations and they can also be temporary or permanent. 

Magistrate's Order for Emergency Protection

The MOEP is a protective order that generally remains in place for 31 - 61 days unless a weapon was used. A MOEP is requested when a person allegedly commits:

  • Family violence
  • Household abuse
  • Dating abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual abuse
  • Indecent assault
  • Stalking, or
  • trafficking.

The MOEP can be requested by an:

  • An alleged victim of domestic abuse, 
  • A guardian of the alleged victim
  • A police officer
  • A lawyer, or
  • The court. 

A MOEP is mandatory when an officer arrests an alleged offender for domestic violence and causes serious bodily injury or uses a weapon.

Twenty-Day Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order

The 20-day temporary ex parte protective order is issued without the defendant present and is limited to 20 days. The alleged victim could, however, request an extension.

Two-Year Protective Order

This protective order is granted when a judge determines one of the following has occurred and is likely to occur again:

  • Family violence
  • Dating violence, or
  • Child abuse. 

A 2-year protective order must be based on an act of intentional violence, not violence based on recklessness. Further, these protective orders can be issued for more than two years if there's already a history of protective orders (two or more) or the alleged offender caused serious bodily harm.

Lifetime Protective Order

A lifetime protective order can be issued when the case involves:

  • Indecency with a child
  • Continuous sexual abuse of children
  • Sexual assault
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Stalking
  • Human trafficking, or
  • Compelling prostitution.

Under this order, the U.S. Code Title 18 Section 922(g)(8) restricts the offender from possessing a firearm, ammunition, or a Texas concealed handgun license.

Can You Defend Against a Protective Order in Dallas/Fort Worth TX?

If a protective order has been ordered against you, you have options. You can:

  • Allow the order to remain in effect and do nothing;
  • Negotiate the terms of the order; or
  • Request a hearing in court to fight the application and defend against the allegations.

The last option is typically your best option. Fighting the protective order application and the allegations is important to any criminal charges you may face, too, stemming from the same event. It is also important to make sure you protect yourself and your rights.

There is, however, a serious issue to consider: confronting your accuser. If you request a hearing to defend yourself against an application for a protective order, the alleged victim can testify. The problem with this is a simple yet difficult one: once the alleged victim testifies, you have effectively been given the opportunity to confront the witness under oath and so, if your criminal charges go to trial, you may not have another opportunity to do so.

The case of Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 and subsequent cases, have confirmed this rule. Having an attorney in these types of cases is imperative. You will have to be strategic about how you approach both the protective order application and any pending charges. Pending charges can be defended against, but having the accuser at trial to cross-examine is often a key component of the overall defense.

What happens if you violate a Protective Order in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area?

Under Texas Penal Code § 25.07, a person violates a protection order when he or she knowingly or intentionally: 

  1. Commits family violence or an act in furtherance of an offense of trafficking, sexual assault, indecent assault, sexual abuse, or stalking; 
  2. Communicates directly with a protected individual or a member of the family or household in a threatening or harassing manner;
  3. Communicates a threat through any person to a protected individual or a member of the family or household; 
  4. Communicates in any manner with the protected individual or a member of the family or household as prohibited by the order;
  5. Goes to or near any place specifically described in the order or condition of bond;
  6. Possesses a firearm;
  7. Harms, threatens, or interferes with the care, custody, or control of a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal that is possessed by a person protected by the order; or
  8. Removes or tampers with the normal functioning of a global positioning monitoring system.

A violation is typically a Class A misdemeanor that carries a punishment of up to one year in jail and fine of up to $4,000.

The violation could be charged as a state jail felony if the subject of the protective order was a victim of:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Indecency with a child
  • Sexual assault
  • Indecent assault, or 
  • Stalking. 

The penalties include between 180 days to 2 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Further, if the alleged offender has been convicted of violating a protective order two or more times or violated the order by committing assault or stalking, the offense is charged as a third-degree felony. If convicted, the offender could spend between 2 - 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Contact an Aggressive, Smart Protective Order Defense Attorney in Dallas / Fort Worth Today

If domestic violence or other similar allegations have been made against you and a protective order is requested, contact an experienced, aggressive domestic violence attorney as soon as possible. Carl David Ceder represents clients in and around the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area. He knows that there's a lot at stake in these cases, not just the fear of fines and possible jail – real lives can be turned upside down if not temporarily then permanently. Contact his office online or at 469-900-0000 today.