If you are the victim of domestic violence or abuse, call your local authorities to seek help if you or your family is in danger. If you would like to take further legal actions to protect yourself, then a civil protection order will keep you safe for a certain period of time.
A civil protection order is a court-ordered protective order mandating that your abuser stay away from you. Depending on the circumstances, the extent of the civil protection order may vary. I will unpack what this means and how it works. In the meantime, remember that your safety is what matters most. If you are in danger, it is vitally important that you reach out to local law enforcement.
How Does a Civil Protection Order Work?
Legally, a civil protection order is a suit that seeks protection to prevent an abuser from being near the victim or victim’s family. If the abuser fails to abide by this order, they will immediately be arrested and jailed.
As part of this legal proceeding, a judge can also order the payment of child support or medical support. There will also be terms set for the conditions of visiting your children if the judge allows. The judge can also order the offender to leave their home.
It is always important that you understand your legal rights in this situation. If you have experienced abuse during your ordeal – while also trying to look out for the safety of your children – then you may not be able to focus 100% on protecting your rights. Let me help by further discussing the various protection orders available to you.
What Are the Different Types of Protection Orders?
For civil protection orders, there are three types of protection orders in Texas that are important in this context:
- Temporary ex-parte order
- Permanent (or final) order
- Criminal protection order; this is typically deployed in an emergency situation
Temporary Ex-Parte Protective Order
A temporary ex-parte order legally means that one party is asking the court to act without the legal need to offer the other party notice. In other words, you can approach the court to take action without having to notify your abuser.
A court can order a temporary ex-parte without the abuser present in court. In this case, the judge has to recognize the abuser as an immediate threat and danger to the victim to grant the order. The judge then reaches a decision based upon the information provided.
Typically, an ex-parte protective order lasts for up to 20 days, and it is extendable if required.
Permanent (Or Final) Protective Order
A permanent protective order is generally two years in length. However, the judge can order a lengthier amount of time if there are felony offenses committed, even if the abuser was not legally charged. For example, if the abuser caused bodily harm or has been subject to a previous protective order, the judge may extend the timeframe of the order.
Then, after the order has been in effect for one year, the abuser can file a motion to discontinue the order. After two years, they can file another motion until the order expires. After the order has expired, the judge will hold a hearing to determine whether the order needs to be continued.
Keep in mind that for both ex-parte and permanent orders, law enforcement does not need to arrest the abuser for them to be legally required to adhere to the order. You can go the route of pursuing a court order to protect yourself and your family.
Emergency Protective Order
An emergency protective order (EPO) is different from the other two protective orders. This is the most severe of the protection orders in Texas, as it is a criminal protection order.
Keep in mind that the criminal court can issue the criminal protection order without the victim present in an effort to protect you as the victim. For this protective order, law enforcement will arrest the abuser and charge them with a crime.
An EPO then becomes mandatory if the abuser is arrested or charged with causing serious bodily injury or if there is evidence of the abuser using a deadly weapon during an assault.
If your situation falls into this category, please seek immediate help from local police to protect you and your family.
How Long Does a Civil Protection Order Last?
The duration of the civil protection order will depend on the severity of the abuse. Issues such as stalking, sexual assault, family violence, and emotional abuse can affect the timeline. If children are present (or harmed), the order’s severity will also vary.
Then, if the abuser violates an order, an arrest is immediately made, and the perpetrator is then charged with a crime. Continuous violations will result in felony charges. This may also lead to the timeline extended until the abuser demonstrates their ability to adhere to the protection order.
Contact Me For For Support With a Civil Protection Order
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you need an attorney who understands your legal rights in Texas. Your safety matters and you need an attorney in your corner who will fight tirelessly for your protection.
Contact my office immediately to learn how to best protect you and your loved ones. We can further discuss the various types of civil protection orders to ensure you have the appropriate protection.
Call me at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to further discuss your situation. I help families in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County with these types of critical family law matters. Otherwise, if you are in immediate danger, please call local law enforcement right away.