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What Happens When a Protective Order Expires in Texas?

If you’re concerned about your safety or the safety of your loved ones, obtaining a protective order can provide valuable legal protection. This court-issued document prevents one person from engaging in harmful behavior toward another person, including:

  • Physical abuse
  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Making threats

But what happens when a protective order expires in Texas? It’s important to know your options to ensure that you maintain the highest level of protection in your situation. Let’s dive into how you can extend protection.

Starting Point: How a Protective Order Works in Texas

The process of obtaining a protective order usually starts with the victim filing a petition in the appropriate jurisdiction. Once the petition has been filed, a judge will review the case and determine if there are grounds to issue a protective order according to the Texas Family Code.

Many factors will be considered while a decision is being made (such as the severity of the alleged abuse or threat, the credibility of the petitioner, and any supporting evidence being provided).

The judge may also consider whether there is any immediate danger to the petitioner or any dependents. If he or she believes that there is a legitimate threat to the petitioner’s safety, the judge can issue a temporary protective order (also referred to as an “emergency protective order”). This will give the petitioner immediate protection until a full hearing can be held.

Individual Rights and Responsibilities Under a Protective Order

Both involved parties need to understand their individual rights and responsibilities under a protective order. The person against whom the court has issued the order (who is referred to as the “respondent”) must follow all terms and conditions. This can include any of the following:

  • Maintaining a certain distance from the petitioner.
  • Not contacting or harassing the petitioner.
  • Not making any acts of family violence or threats.

The person who files the protective order (who is referred to as the “petitioner” or “protected party”) has the right to expect compliance with the order. He or she can expect the legal system and law enforcement agencies to enforce the order if the respondent chooses to violate its terms.

We recommend the petitioner keep an accessible copy of the order with them at all times to have physical proof on hand. They should also inform any relevant parties (such as employers, schools, or childcare providers) about the order.

Gathering Evidence for a Protective Order Hearing

To officially obtain a protective order, it’s often necessary to present evidence that supports the allegations made against the respondent. This will strengthen the case and demonstrate the need for protection. It’s a critical step in ensuring the courts understand the severity of the situation. Many types of evidence can be helpful during a protective order hearing, including:

  • Photographs of injuries or property damage
  • Text messages or emails containing threats or abusive language
  • Witness statements
  • Medical records capturing bodily injury
  • Any kind of documentation that supports the petitioner’s claims

It’s important to speak with a family law attorney, such as one of our attorneys, to understand what type of admissible evidence is most relevant to your jurisdiction.

The Role of Law Enforcement in Enforcing a Protective Order

A protective order is only effective if it has been enforced, which is why the role of law enforcement is essential. If the respondent violates any of the terms and conditions that have been specified in the protective order, the petitioner must report it to the police as soon as possible.

Law enforcement agencies have the authority to arrest the respondent and to initiate legal proceedings if he or she has violated the order. The petitioner must document any violations and cooperate with law enforcement. This will ensure the safety of the protected party and will hold the respondent accountable for their actions.

Next Phase: Modifying or Terminating a Protective Order

No protective order is set in stone, as it has an expiration date. If a protective order is set to expire soon, you should know that you have options to modify or terminate a protective order in certain circumstances.

For example, a protective order may need to be modified if circumstances have changed or more protection is needed. Parties may have reconciled with each other, or the petitioner may want to change the distance requirements.

Either of these circumstances can lead to a court-requested modification. In some cases, the protected party may choose to end the protective order, which will require this person to file with the court and provide a valid reason for the termination. The court will look at the request and consider what will be in the petitioner’s best interests and safety.

How Long Texas Protective Orders Stay in Effect

There are two types of protective orders: emergency and permanent. A judge can decide to issue an emergency protective order at the time of an arrest, and it can last for any of the following terms:

  • 30 days
  • 60 days
  • 90 days

After the assault has happened, the victim may decide to file a petition for a permanent protective order. They’re usually issued for two years in a typical assault allegation. But if the incident is more serious, the judge may issue a permanent protective order. Some of these circumstances can include but may not be limited to:

  • Aggravated assault
  • Continuing domestic violence assault
  • Sexual assault

This kind of protective order can last for five years or even longer. It’s usually filed in a civil courtroom (where it will be given a civil case number) and considered separate from any related criminal case.

Overall, the duration of a protective order in Texas will depend on the type and circumstances of the case:

  • Temporary orders will expire after a short period, but they can be extended during the court hearing.
  • Final protective orders will be in effect for a much longer period, but they can be extended or made permanent under certain conditions.

If you’re in this situation, it’s important to stay informed about your rights. You should also be aware of how a family law attorney can help you navigate the legal complexities of extending a protective order.

What Happens When a Protective Order Expires in Texas? Call a Family Law Attorney

If you’re wondering, “What happens when a protective order expires in Texas?” and are looking for legal support, be sure to contact Parker & Aguilar. Our team of expert family law attorneys will help you through every step of the process.

We will review the terms of the original order, examine the circumstances related to your case, and help you determine the best course of action to maintain the protection you need.

We represent clients in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, Galveston County, and Matagorda County. If you live in one of these counties, contact our Angleton office at 979-267-7660 or our Sugar Land office at 281-944-5485 to speak with one of our caring attorneys about your case.

Let us help you maintain the protection you need.