A protective order is a court order issued to protect victims of family violence and dating violence. “Family violence” is an action or the threat of an action by a member of a “family” or “household” against another member of the “family” or “household” that is intended to cause physical harm, bodily injury, physical assault or sexual assault or reasonable fear of such action. Abuse toward a child of the family or household and dating violence are also “family violence.”
To obtain a protective order, the individual seeking the order must prove that family violence has occurred and is likely to occur in the future. The person seeking the protective order can be granted through testimony alone or other supporting evidence like a police report. In Texas, there is no fee to the individual seeking a protective order. Please be advised that a person found to have committed family violence may required to pay for court costs.
Generally, a protective order will prevent the offending party from:
- Committing more family violence;
- Communicating directly or indirectly with a person protected by the order;
- Going near the home or workplace of a person protected by the order;
- Going near the home, daycare or school of a child protected by the order;
- Following, harassing, annoying, alarming, abusing, tormenting, or embarrassing a person protected by the order; and
- Having a firearm.
In most cases, if the offender violates the protective order they can be arrested. In addition, if the person who violates the protective order is in the country illegally, that person can be deported. Any violations of a protective order may result in the offender facing criminal charges.