If you have been charged with or accused of a violent crime, the alleged victim may petition the court to take out a protective order against you. As such, if there is a protective order issued against you, it is imperative to understand what this means. Unfortunately, many are unsure of the rules they must adhere to, and may accidentally violate the terms. If you aren’t sure what this entails or what happens if you violate an order, you’ll want to keep reading to learn more. Additionally, you’ll discover the importance of connecting with Harris County criminal defense attorneys to explore your legal options during these times.

What Is a Protective Order?

A protective order is issued by the courts to provide victims of crimes additional protections from the alleged criminal defendant. This is often ordered in instances of domestic violence, battery, or harassment. These typically last two years from the date they are granted to the victim by the court.

It’s important to understand that though the terms are often used interchangeably, a restraining and protective order are very different. In Texas, a restraining order is often issued in civil cases to prevent losses and damages to the victim. A protective order, however, can result in a police response and criminal charges.

Common terms for those who have had protective orders taken out against them must adhere to include, but are not limited to:

  • Refraining from contacting the victim or their family
  • Refraining from carrying a firearm, even with a license
  • Refraining from monitoring the victim and their family via GPS

The court also has the discretion to include terms that are specific to the charges against you.

What Happens if I Violate an Order?

If you violate a protective order in Texas, you can face intense penalties as a result. Generally, a first-time violation is a Class A misdemeanor. As such, you may face up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $4,000.

However, if you have been convicted two or more times of a related offense or violated the order by means of stalking or committing an assault against the victim, you can face a third-degree felony charge. This includes two to ten years behind bars and a fine of up to $10,000.

You should also know that even if you reconcile with the individual who took the restraining order out against you, but you violate the terms of the order, you can still face criminal charges. If you reconcile, the individual must petition the courts to change the terms of or revoke the agreement.

If you are accused of violating the terms of your protective order, ensuring you connect with an experienced attorney who can help you through these complex matters is critical. At the Sparks Law Firm, we understand that the idea of facing a criminal offense can be incredibly overwhelming. That’s why our team is ready to assist you through these matters. Connect with us today to learn more about these matters.