Restraining orders are useful legal devices that can provide a family with a legal defense against an abusive spouse or parent, as any violation of these court orders often comes with serious consequences. This kind of legal action can provide family members with peace of mind, considering that abusive individuals found to have intentionally broken a restraining order may find themselves dealing with the authorities or facing further penalties in court.
Restraining Order Options in Texas
According to laws regarding domestic violence, each state has different laws dealing with restraining orders. However, a restraining order filed in one state will typically carry over to another. This means that an order filed in Texas will remain valid, even if the incident occurs outside of the state. The state of Texas offers the following types of restraining orders:
- Temporary, 20-day protective orders
- Final protective orders lasting a year
- A magistrate’s order for emergency protection
These restraining orders provide protection from approaching family members within a certain distance, trespassing or stalking, or communicating with a family member. The penalties associated with violation of a protective order may include fines and jail sentences and are generally made more aggressive if the violator continues to harass the family in the presence of law enforcement officials dispatched to the scene of the crime.
Getting a Restraining Order
A restraining order is a court order that prohibits an individual from coming within a certain distance of another person. Usually, people apply for restraining orders when they fear for their safety. Because restraining orders are meant to protect people, they are relatively easy to obtain.
Even though they are easy to obtain, restraining orders cannot be granted unless the person filing for the order has a reason for filing. He or she cannot simply ask for a restraining order because he or she is in disagreement with another individual. There has to be an actual cause.
Causes for Restraining Orders
Restraining orders protect people by making it illegal for certain individuals to be within a certain physical proximity of them. Restraining orders may also prohibit an individual from contacting a person by phone or other means.
An individual may qualify for a restraining order when he or she has been the target of:
- Domestic abuse
These actions may all put a person’s life in danger, which is why targets of these actions may be eligible to receive restraining orders.
Requesting a Restraining Order
Requesting a restraining order is a relatively easy task. Your local courthouse will have the paperwork you need to fill out. After submitting the paperwork, you will appear before a judge. If your request is granted, the court will serve the restraining order to the person you filed the order against.
Restraining Order Considerations
In some cases, you may have the option to request either a permanent or a temporary restraining order. If you think you may reconcile with the individual you filed the order against, then a temporary order is the better option.
It is also important to note that you can, sometimes, get a restraining order reversed, but many courts are hesitant to do so since the orders are granted for safety.
Finally, enforcing the restraining order is often up to you. If the person you filed the order against breaks the terms of the order, you will be responsible for contacting the police and reporting the incident.