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Penalties for Violating a Protective Order

In Plano and throughout the state of Texas, victims of family violence (domestic violence) can seek a protective order from the courts, which orders an abuser to STOP hurting them. People can also get a protective order if they are victims of sexual assault or stalking at the hands of a family or household member, or former member of the family or household.

Under Texas law, family violence (also known as domestic violence) occurs when a family our household member threatens or causes physical harm to another member of the family or household. It also includes spousal abuse and child abuse.

What Can a Protective Order Do?

Suppose “John” is married to “Anna,” who gets a protective order against him. Anna claims that John has been physically abusing her. The protective order prohibits John from:

  • Committing further acts of violence against his wife Anna.
  • Contacting Anna by any means, including calls or texts.
  • Going near Anna’s work or the couple’s family home.
  • Going near their son’s elementary school.
  • Possessing or owning a firearm.

In addition to the above, the protective order requires that John pay the mortgage, spousal support and child support. It also requires that John attend mandatory counseling. If John fails to pay child and spousal support, he won’t be immediately arrested because they are not “criminally enforceable,” but Anna can take him to court and he can be found in contempt, forced to pay a fine and jailed.

Criminally Enforceable Violations

If John is named in an active protective order and he contacts his victims, tries to communicate with them, or abuses one of the people named in the order and Anna calls the police, law enforcement will seek to arrest him and have charges filed. The penalties for violating a protective order include up to a $4,000 fine, or up to one year in jail, or by a fine and imprisonment.

Accused of violating a protective order? Contact our firm to set up a consultation with a Plano domestic violence attorney!