The 411 on Protective Orders

What Exactly is a Protective Order?

A Protective Order is a civil court order that is created so it is illegal for someone to threaten the safety of the person who filed the Protective Order. You might need one as protection against someone who wants to harm you. Protective Orders are most commonly issued to prevent acts of family violence. Often known as domestic violence, family violence is when a member of a family or household has physically harmed another member, threatened physical harm, or abused a child. It can also be issued to prevent further acts of sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking.

How Can a Protective Order Help?

The offender that the Protective Order is placed against cannot contact or go near the person who requested the order. They cannot harass or threaten the victim, either directly or indirectly by communicating the threat through another person. The offender may not contact or go near the person's children, child's school, or other family members, relatives, pets, their place of business, or home. It also prevents the offender from having a license to carry a gun. If any of these Protective Orders are violated the police can arrest the person for violating Protection Orders.

Should I Get a Protective Order?

It is a good idea to get a Protective Order against the offender if you have either been stalked or physically or sexually assaulted by the person. You don't have to have a close relationship to the person. You can get one if someone has threatened to hurt you or has hurt you in the past and you are legitimately worried that the person might hurt you again. You can get such protection if you, your spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend had a close relationship with the person who threatened you or hurt you. A close relationship includes marriage, relatives, someone you dated or lived with or have a child with. You can also get a Protective Order if you have already had one against that person before and the other person violated the parts of the Protective Order designed to protect you.

How Can I Get a Protective Order?

You can apply through a private attorney or a legal aid service program. The application must be filed in the county in which you or the offender lives. There are no minimum time limits to establish residency, and Protective Orders are available in every county in Texas. They usually last up to two years.

How Fast Can I Get Protection?

A judge may issue a temporary order that will protect you until your court hearing. It is called a "Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order." Once you file for one it usually takes about two weeks. At this court date, the judge decides if you should have protection and how long it should last. You must attend this court date, if you do not, the Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order may end.

How Will the Other Person Know?

You must have the other person "served" before your court hearing date to get a Protective Order. This means someone else, not you, will serve "or give" the person a copy of your application. A good family lawyer can help you through this process. Please note when the other person receives your application, they will also receive a copy of your signed affidavit or declaration. You should feel safe to live your life. If you feel you may need a protection, please contact the Puhl Law Group and we can help you get the process started.

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