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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
Texas takes allegations of family violence extremely seriously. When a person is charged with an act of violence or a threat against a family member, they will be charged with a crime by the State of Texas. In addition to this criminal proceeding, the parties of this alleged violence have the option to petition the court for a protective order.
These orders can have an immediate impact on a defendant’s freedom of movement, their right to communicate with the parties involved, and even kick the defendant out of their home. Midland protective order lawyers represent people who have had these orders filed against them. An accomplished attorney works to fight against these orders becoming permanent and to maintain freedoms and rights.
Who May Request a Protective Order?
While many protective orders are issued as the result of a person being arrested, any person may apply for a protective order at any time. Any adult who is affected by alleged family violence, stalking, sexual assault, or human trafficking is eligible to apply, or file a petition on behalf of their children.
Even if the State of Texas does not arrest a defendant or file charges, an application can still be made. Additionally, those affected by family violence themselves are not the only people who may file the petition. The prosecuting attorney in a criminal case and a state social worker also have the authority to file a petition on a person’s behalf.
Protective Order Process in Texas
When the petition is filed in the local court, a date is set for a hearing to determine the facts of the case. This must be set within 14 days after the application is filed. However, in some situations, especially those where the basis for the application is an alleged crime, the court may issue an emergency order to be temporarily in place until the final hearing can be held. These temporary orders are kept in place for 20 days.
During the hearing on the protective order, the petitioner will be able to present evidence and testimony as to why they fear further harm from the defendant. This can include medical records, photographs, and written threats. During this hearing, the defendant also has the opportunity to present any information that they want the court to consider and to cross-examine the petitioner in open court. Here, Midland protective order lawyers can work to discredit the petitioner’s case. Once the hearing is complete, the judge will issue an order stating whether the protective order will be made final. If the judge denies the order, the protective order will be void. If the order is issued, it will be in place for two years and any violation of that order will result in an arrest and potential jail time.
What Might Protective Orders Prohibit?
On the application, the petitioner will state what they would like the court to do. This may include:
- Prevent the defendant from committing any family violence in the future
- Not communicate any threats to the petitioner
- Not communicate in any manner with the petitioner or any children held in common
- Not go within 200 yards of the petitioner or children
- Suspend the right to carry a firearm
- Require the defendant to attend counseling
- Grant the house to the petitioner
- Change custody of children
Speak with a Midland Protective Order Attorney Today
A protective order issued against a defendant can have a serious and long-term effect on a person’s life. Not only will future abuse be harshly punished, but a person’s contact with their entire family may be cut off. A defendant may even be forced to leave their home.
Midland protective order lawyers defend individuals in these hearings to prevent protective orders from becoming permanent, as well as providing representation against any underlying criminal charges. With protective orders having the power to completely change a person’s life, the stakes could not be higher.