What is a Restraining Order and What Happens if You Violate One?

Restraining orders are serious legal matters, and it can be overwhelming to know that you are the subject of such an order. If you are facing charges for violating a restraining order in Texas, it is important to seek assistance from our qualified criminal defense attorneys. At Granger and Mueller, we have over 20 years of experience defending those in Travis County facing a restraining order or charges resulting from a violation of a restraining order.

What is a Restraining Order?

A restraining order, also referred to as a protective order, is a direct court order instructing you to refrain from specific activities. Here are the situations where a court may put a restraining order in place:

  • Someone has hurt you or threatened to hurt you; and
  • You are afraid that person may hurt you again; and
  • Either you, your spouse, or dating partner has a close relationship with the person who hurt you.

A close relationship includes marriage, close relatives, dating or living together, or having a child together. Upon the person filing for a restraining order, the court will then have a hearing on that application. At that point, the court considers the following factors:

  • Whether family violence has occurred; and
  • Whether family violence is likely to occur in the future.

If the court finds family violence occurred and is likely to occur in the future, the court is then entitled to order the restraining order to apply to the individual who committed the violence.

How Long Does a Restraining Order Last?

The duration of a restraining order varies and is often up to the discretion of the judge. Typically, these orders will last for around two years. If the restraining order lasts for more than two years, then the court has to make a specific finding as to why that extended period is necessary.

What Happens if I Violate a Restraining Order?

Restraining orders are serious legal matters, and violating a restraining order comes with serious consequences ranging from jail time to fines. What a violation actually looks like varies depending on the nature of the restraining order. For example, a restraining order could order you to stay away from your shared children’s school or the alleged victim's workplace. Therefore, in those cases, if you then went to the child’s school, you would be in violation of the order.

Any provision in the restraining order can be enforced in court. However, not all violations will result in the police arresting you and placing you in jail. Certain violations can be subject to a $500 fine or imprisonment for six months, or both.

It is also important to note that the person who is protected by the order cannot waive or give permission to ignore any of the provisions in the restraining order. So even where you have expressly been told by the individual who has the order that they no longer wish to have the order in place, you need to go through the proper legal channels. Otherwise, you will have still violated the restraining order.

Contact Granger and Mueller Today if You Have Been Charged with Violating a Restraining Order in Texas

If you are facing a restraining order or being charged with a violation of a restraining order, you deserve high quality criminal legal defense. Contact our skilled criminal defense attorneys at Granger and Mueller today at 512-474-999 for your free legal consultation.