Often a Protective Order and Restraining Order are use interchangeably but they are significantly different. A Protective Order is issued to prevent family violence from occurring, and the violation of the Protective Order is enforceable by police by arrest. A restraining order is a set of orders the court imposes to regulate conduct, typically in a divorce, preventing the parties from emptying the bank account, incurring new debt, from confiscating mail, or from speaking badly of the other party in front of the children. The Restraining Order is not enforceable by police.
Emergency Protective Order
If charges are filed against the person who committed family violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking, then the police officer investigating your case may ask the court for an Emergency Protective Order.
The order can prohibit the person who committed family violence against you from the following:
- Committing further acts of violence against you.
- Threatening or harassing you.
- Going to or near your residence, work, and any school or child care facility regularly attended by your children.
The order is good for 31-91 days. It allows criminal charges to be brought against the person who committed the violation of the court order. They require that the abuser be arrested for a specific crime and that they are currently in custody for that crime for the emergency protective order to be granted. Once a defendant has been released from jail, an emergency protective order cannot be issued.
Temporary Ex Parte
Prior to a hearing, a court may enter an Ex Parte Protective Order. An Ex Parte Protective Order can be requested for suits brought under the Texas Family Code or the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. This order may direct the abuser to leave your home, and order the abuser to refrain from abusing you in the future. These orders are good for 20 days, but can be extended by the judge for additional periods of 20 days at a time. Once an Ex Parte has been served, then the officer has the ability to arrest for a violation of a court order.
Final Protective Order
A Final Protective Order, can be requested through an attorney or pro se. The duration of the protective order depends on the source of law that the suit is brought. A violation of certain provisions of a protective order is a criminal offense, and the police should be notified if an individual violates a protective order described in the order. A Final Protective Order can last 2 years to a lifetime.
For help applying for a protective order, please contact:
Resource and Crisis Center of Galveston County
All calls are strictly confidential.