Violation of Protective Order
When a court in Texas issues a protective order (also referred to as a restraining order or protection order) against an alleged offender following allegations of family violence, the person subject to the order usually has to abide by a number of restrictions—regardless of whether the individual agrees with the conclusions drawn by the judge issuing the order. If an alleged offender (referred to in the court order as the respondent) violates any specified term of a protective order, that person can face criminal charges.
Many alleged protective order violations are purely technical and rarely involved any kind of criminal intent, such as accidentally calling an alleged victim (referred to in the court order as the petitioner) or responding to texts, emails, or other electronic messages that were sent be alleged victims, children, or other parties the alleged offender is prohibited from contacting. Regardless of the basis for the alleged violation, it is important to understand that courts in Texas take these types of allegations very seriously as alleged offenders are viewed as having defied a judge’s specific court order.
Attorney for Protective Order Violations in Fort Worth, TX
Were you recently arrested for allegedly violating the terms of a restraining order in the DFW area? Do not try to explain your actions to police without legal representation. Contact Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC as soon as possible.
Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC are experienced criminal defense lawyers in Fort Worth who aggressively defend clients accused of family violence offenses in communities throughout Tarrant County, Parker County, and Johnson County, including Arlington, Cleburne, Fort Worth, Weatherford, and many others. Call (817) 502-3600 today to have our attorneys review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free initial consultation.
Overview of Violations of Protective Orders in Tarrant County
Types of Protective Order Violations in Texas
The specific restrictions placed on a person by a protection order vary from case to case. Thus, actions that constitute violations of such court orders also depend on the requirements of each restraining order.
An alleged offender can generally be charged with violating a court order under Texas Penal Code § 25.07 if that person knowingly or intentionally:
- Commits family violence or an act in furtherance of a trafficking of persons, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, or stalking offense;
- Communicates either directly with a protected individual or a member of the family or household in a threatening or harassing manner, a threat through any person to a protected individual or a member of the family or household, or in any manner with the protected individual or a member of the family or household except through that person’s attorney or a person appointed by the court, if the violation is of a protective order and the order prohibits any communication with a protected individual or a member of the family or household;
- Goes to or near any of the following places as specifically described in the order, including the residence or place of employment or business of a protected individual or a member of the family or household, or any child care facility, residence, or school where a child protected by the order or condition of bond normally resides or attends;
- Possesses a firearm;
- 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 condition of bond; or
- Removes, attempts to remove, or otherwise tampers with the normal functioning of a global positioning monitoring system.
Violation of Protective Order Penalties in Tarrant County
A restraining order violation is generally a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000. Protective order violations, however, can become third-degree felony offenses punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 if the alleged offender:
- Has previously been convicted two or more times of a violation of certain court orders or conditions of bond in a family violence, sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or trafficking case offense under Texas Penal Code § 25.07 or two or more times of a repeated violation of certain court orders or conditions of bond in family violence, sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or trafficking case offense under Texas Penal Code § 25.072, or has previously been convicted of one of each of the aforementioned offenses; or
- Has violated the order or condition of bond by committing an assault or the offense of stalking.
When an alleged offender’s actions that constitute a violation of a protection order also constitute a separate criminal offense (such as domestic assault or stalking), that person can be prosecuted for either or possibly both alleged criminal offenses.
Texas Resources for Protective Order Violations
Victim Advocates | Tarrant County — Victim advocates in Tarrant County assist victims of family violence and many other types of crimes. Visit this website to learn more about the many wyas victim advocates can provide help, including informing victims you of their rights, assisting with safety planning, and accompanying victims to court. You can also find information about the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office’s Texas Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) program.
Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office
401 W. Belknap St.
Fort Worth, TX 76196
The Battered Women’s Foundation (BWF) — The BWF is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency that works with many agencies to stop domestic violence. In addition to services such as counseling, emergency food, and clothing, the BWF offers a two-year program for victims of family violence. On this website, you can find a list of food pantries in Tarrant County, learn more about renters’ rights, and find information related to computer training.
The Battered Women’s Foundation
4166 Willman Ave.
Richland Hills, TX 76180
Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC | Fort Worth Violation of Protective Order Defense Lawyer
If you were arrested in the greater DFW area for allegedly violating an order of protection, it is in your best interest to not say anything to authorities until you have legal counsel. Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC will stand up to protect your rights and fight to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed.
Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC represent individuals in Weatherford, Arlington, Cleburne, Fort Worth, and surrounding areas of Tarrant County, Parker County, and Johnson County. You can have our lawyers provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (817) 502-3600 or submit an online form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.