Things To Know About Texas Domestic Violence Laws

This is a multi-part blog post dealing with the issues upon arrest & consequences of a conviction or plea bargain in Texas domestic violence cases.  Because there are many bad consequences, there are things to know about Texas domestic violence laws.

 What is an Emergency Protective Order?

An emergency protective order is issued against the accused by the magistrate at the arraignment hearing. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 17.292 “Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection”.

The protective order may:

  • Evict the accused from their residence for sixty (60) days or more;
  • Prohibit the accused from possessing or being in the vicinity of a firearm, weapon, or ammunition;
  • Prohibit the accused from communicating directly with a person protected by the order or a member of the family or household in a threatening or harassing manner;
  • Going to or near the residence, place of employment, or business of a member of the family or household or of the person protected under the order; or the residence, child care facility, or school where a child protected under the order resides or attends.

What happens if I violate the emergency protective order?

Violation of the emergency protective order results in a separate criminal offense punishable by a fine of as much as $4,000, or by confinement in jail for as long as one year, or both. An act that results in domestic violence or a stalking charge may be prosecuted as a separate misdemeanor or felony offense. If the act is prosecuted as a separate felony offense, it is punishable by confinement in prison for at least two years. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 17.292.

Can the judge kick me out of my own house?

The protective order may evict the accused from their residence for sixty (60) days. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 17.292

Can I be ordered not to have any contact with my wife or children?

In Texas, an emergency protective order by itself cannot prohibit the arrested person from making non-threatening communication or contact with the protected person. However, nothing prohibits the magistrate from making an additional “no contact” condition of bail. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 17.40. ”Conditions Related to Victim or Community Safety”.

 Can I get the protective order modified, changed, or dismissed?

The court that issued the emergency protective order can modify all or part of the order after each party has received notice and a hearing has been held. In order to change or modify the order, the court must find Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 17.292:

  • the order as originally issued is unworkable;
  • the modification will not place the victim of the offense at greater risk than did the original order; and
  • the modification will not in any way endanger a person protected under the order.

What if my spouse or girlfriend says she will not enforce the protective order?

Only the Judge who issued the emergency order can change it or set it aside. No other person can give permission to anyone to ignore or violate the order Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 17.292.

 How long is the protective order in effect?

An emergency protective order is in effect for not less than thirty-one (31) days and not more than sixty-one (61) days Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 17.292.

A final protective order issued by a District Court may be in effect for up to two (2) years. Tex. Fam. Code § 85.025.

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