Many cases of family violence or domestic violence in Texas involve courts issuing protective orders. Also known as restraining orders or orders of protection, protective orders aim to prevent future acts of violence by legally limiting the contact that alleged offenders can have with alleged victims. Filing a restraining or protective order can be complicated if you are new to the process. The attorneys at Mokolo Law Firm, understand that you may feel overwhelmed during this time, and can guide you through the entire process and represent you at your hearings.
Protective order hearings do not operate like ordinary criminal trials, as the petitioner (the person seeking the protective order) needs to prove the respondent (the person the protective order is being sought against) committed an act of family violence by a preponderance of the evidence. Unlike the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt used in criminal prosecutions, a preponderance of the evidence simply means that a majority of the evidence supports the petitioner’s argument.
Types of Protective Orders in Texas
Protective orders and restraining orders are used interchangeably, but the terms have specific meanings in Texas. Texas essentially has three kinds of protection orders:
- Protective Orders — Protective orders and family violence are covered under Title 4 of the Texas Family Code. Protective orders are issued when courts find that family violence has occurred and is likely to occur in the future. Under Texas Family Code § 81.0015, there is a presumption that family violence has occurred and is likely to occur in the future if the respondent has been convicted of or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for an offense against the person under Title 5 of the Texas Penal Code or an offense against the family under Title 6 of the Texas Penal Code against the child for whom the petition is filed, the respondent’s parental rights with respect to the child have been terminated, and the respondent is seeking or attempting to seek contact with the child. A protective order can last for up to two years. Specific kinds of protective orders include temporary ex-parte protective orders granted when applications are filed and Magistrate’s Orders for Emergency Protection issued by judges without victims being present in court.
- Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs) — A TRO is a civil court order that preserves property and protects parties who already have a lawsuit filed. The TRO remains in effect for 14 days or until the date of a hearing. A TRO is different from a protection order in that it cannot award child custody, order a person to leave a shared home, or stipulate any kind of payment. A TRO also requires the parties to have filed a suit for dissolution of marriage. Laws relating to TROs are established under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 680 and Texas Family Code § 6.501.
- Peace Bonds — The peace bond process in Texas is established under Chapter 7 of Title 1 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. A peace bond is basically a court order that requires a person to deposit money (the peace bond) with the court. If the person commits a prohibited action, such as an act of family violence, he or she will forfeit his or her peace bond.
Contact Mokolo Law Firm at 713-784-2906 to schedule a consultation with one of our family law attorneys.