What Are the Consequences of Violating a Protective Order in Texas?
Any time a person is charged with physical or sexual abuse of a child, the consequences can be severe. However, if the alleged offender is subject to a protective order at the time, they may face an additional layer of criminal penalties. If you are the subject of a protective order, or if you have been charged with violating a protective order, a criminal defense attorney can help you understand what is at stake and advise you on how to proceed.
Types of Protective Orders
Texas courts may issue protective orders in response to a variety of situations in which a person has allegedly been a victim of abuse. One common reason for a protective order is an act of family violence, which may include child abuse and other acts that cause or threaten physical harm or sexual assault toward a member of one’s household. Protective orders may also be issued in response to various forms of abuse toward someone outside of one’s household, including sexual abuse or indecency with a child, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking.
Violations of Protective Orders
A protective order prohibits the named person from engaging in further acts of violence or abuse against the protected persons while the order is in effect. If a protective order has been issued against you in response to a prior act, committing another similar act can not only result in new criminal charges for the act in question, it can also result in criminal charges for violating the terms of the order.
However, committing such an act is not the only way to violate a protective order. You can be found in violation of the order if you directly or indirectly communicate with the protected person in a threatening way, or if you communicate with the protected person at all when the order specifically prohibits you from doing so. Depending on the terms of the order, you could also be charged with a violation if you go near the protected person’s home, workplace, school, or childcare facility.
Violating a protective order is, at minimum, a Class A misdemeanor, meaning you could face a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail, in addition to the penalties for any other charges you are facing. However, it is a state jail felony to violate an order issued in response to sexual abuse or assault, stalking, or trafficking. If you commit assault or stalking while violating the order, you can be charged with a third-degree felony. You can also be charged with a third-degree felony if you have a history of violating protective orders.
Contact a Collin County Criminal Defense Attorney
At The Crowder Law Firm, P.C., we can help you understand the terms of a protective order so you can better avoid committing a violation. If you are charged with violating a protective order, we can defend you in court against this and any other criminal charges. For a free consultation, call our Texas criminal defense lawyers today at 214-303-9600.