If you are in possession of a protective order, you may not quite understand what your responsibilities are. To be compliant, you must follow all of the instructions and avoid doing any of the prohibited activities.
It is important that you understand what constitutes a violation of the order, because doing so may result in hefty penalties.
How protective orders work
According to the Texas Judicial Branch, there are two types of protective orders: Temporary and general. The person who wants protection can ask the court to award a temporary order without going through a hearing first. If granted, this order usually remains in effect for up to 20 days. During this time, there is a hearing, in which the protected person can argue his or her case for a general order, which typically remains in effect for up to two years. You will also have a chance to state and defend your case at this hearing.
Whether it is a temporary or general protective order, the judge will check off which activities you will not be able to do. These may include:
- Staying a certain number of feet away from the protected person
- Staying away from your residence if the protected person lives there
- Staying away from the protected person’s place of work
- Staying away from a child’s school
- Carrying a licensed concealed handgun
The judge may also order you to participate in counseling or in an addiction treatment program.
According to the Texas Penal Code, the court would consider you to be in violation of the order if you do not follow the terms laid out by the judge. This constitutes a Class A misdemeanor unless you violated the order by committing an assault or you have violated the order previously. In those situations, a violation would be a third-degree felony.
For a misdemeanor, the penalties may include a fine of up to $500, jail time of up to six months or both. For a felony, you may owe a fine of up to $4,000, serve jail time for up to one year or both.