If you have been charged with violation of protective order in Texas, you could be facing significant penalties. The court takes protective orders very seriously, as they are direct orders from the court prohibiting you from engaging in certain activities. Below, we explain how protective orders work, and what to expect if you have violated one. To learn more, speak to a Fort Worth TX criminal defense attorney at Hoeller & McLaughlin, PLLC today.
What Is a Violation of Protective Order?
Protective orders are usually issued in domestic violence cases, with the intent of protecting the alleged victim from assault or threats.
It’s important to remember that you can be arrested on probable cause if evidence exists (physical evidence or witness statements) that you’ve either threatened or assaulted a victim or entered a prohibited space. In fact, no one at the scene even needs to be hurt for you to get arrested. This means that you can be arrested for violation of protective order even if an ex invites you over for a meeting of reconciliation.
Another factor that could lead to an arrest is possessing a firearm. You must follow the mandate of turning in your firearms to law enforcement, a licensed dealer, or another valid third party within the given time frame set by the judge.
First offense of protective order violation is typically a misdemeanor with more penalties and conditions added on than regular misdemeanors.
What Happens If You’ve Been Charged With Violation of Protective Order in Texas?
Once you’ve been arrested for protective order violation, you will wait in jail for a bail hearing. During this hearing, a judge will examine the evidence of your case in an effort to determine if a violation has occurred. If the judge does not see the evidence, then you will be released. However, if evidence of a violation is detected, then you will wait in jail for a trial. Take note that you won’t be able to post bail if the judge determines you’re a threat to the victim.
During your trial is when you’ll receive your sentencing. Convictions of first offense protective order violations carry Class A misdemeanor penalties. Such penalties can include a maximum fine of $4,000, one year in prison, or both. However, an experienced Fort Worth TX criminal defense attorney may be able to help you reduce those penalties down to just probation.
Further convictions of protective order violation carry the penalties for third-degree felonies. Such penalties typically result in a two to 10 year prison sentence. In addition, you may also be ordered to therapy or substance abuse treatments during incarceration. However, your attorney might be able to reduce your sentence to just jail time.
After you’ve served your sentence for violation, the court will most likely keep the protective order in effect. This means you’ll need to revoke any firearms that you may still possess for up to five years after your jail sentence. You may also be ordered to repay the victim for any therapy or legal fees.
If You Have Violated a Protective Order
If you are facing charges involving a violation of protective order in Texas, timing is important. You need a skilled criminal defense attorney on your side. We can help you contest witness statements and dispute any physical evidence against you. Get the help you need by contacting Hoeller & McLaughlin PLLC today.