Protective orders in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, which are also commonly known as restraining orders or orders of protection, generally become effective after a judge has found family violence has occurred and is likely to occur in the future between two people.
Family violence situations often result from false allegations or situations where one party wishes to gain a more favorable position in a divorce or child custody case. The protective order hearing may be your only chance to present your side of the case and avoid a restraining order put in place against you.
If you have been served with a petition for a protective order, it is important to contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. If you fail to appear at the protective order hearing, the court will enter a default protective order against you simply because you did not show.
It is essential to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who can represent your best interests at the hearing and make every effort to avoid having a protective order put in place against you.
Dallas Protective Order Hearing Lawyer
If you have been served with a petition for a protective order in Dallas, or any of the surrounding areas in Texas, including Garland, Irving, Grand Prairie, Denton, Plano, McKinney, Fort Worth, Rockwall, Johnson, Wise, Ellis, Arlington, Mesquite, Carrolton, Richardson, Lewisville, or Frisco.
Attorney Richard McConathy is knowledgeable in all areas of Texas’s family violence laws. He will fight to help you achieve the most desirable outcome for your particular situation. Call Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy for a free consultation at (972) 233-5700 about your protective order hearing.
Dallas Protective Order Terms
When dealing with a potential protective order and protective order hearing in DFW, it is important to understand the key concepts. The following terms are defined in Chapter 71 of the Texas Family Code:
- Family Violence – This can occur when one family member commits an intentional act against another to cause bodily injury, physical harm, assault, or sexual assault. Family violence is also commonly known as domestic abuse, domestic violence, spousal abuse, or dating violence.
- Petitioner – This is the individual who filed the application for the protective order, or the individual who claims they are the victim of family violence
- Respondent – This is the individual who the protective order is being requested against and who allegedly committed the family violence against the petitioner.
- Injunction is a court-ordered prohibition against doing a specific act. A protective order typically has several injunctions.
- Protective Order – This is also commonly known as a restraining order, protection order, or protection against family violence. A protective order issued by the court prevents or requires the respondent to engage in certain acts. The court will grant a protective order if the judge finds family violence has occurred and is likely to occur in the future.
Protective Order Hearing Process in Fort Worth
The protective order hearing process is defined in Chapters 82, 83 and 84 of the Texas Family Code. The process is initiated when one individual claims another individual has committed violence against them, or they are afraid the other person will commit violence against them in the future. This person, the petitioner, will then file an application for a protective order.
After the petitioner has filed for a protective order, the court will then determine if a temporary protective order should be ordered based solely on the petitioner’s allegations before the final protective order hearing. If the court grants a temporary order, it is effective for a maximum of 20 days.
The final protective order hearing must be held no later than 14 days after the application was filed. The respondent will receive notice of the hearing, the date of the hearing, and a copy of the application prior to the final protective order hearing.
At the protective order hearing, the respondent may plead their case, present favorable evidence, have witnesses testify on their behalf, and demonstrate any other reason why the court should deny the protective order. The respondent may also have an attorney defend them at the hearing.
Fort Worth Protective Order Injunctions
If the court grants a protective order after the hearing, or a default order has been entered because the respondent did not appear, the respondent may be prohibited from engaging in certain acts or required to commit certain acts. According to Sections 85.021 and 85.022 of the Texas Family Code, some of the most common injunctions in the protective order can include:
- Award of the exclusive use and possession of community property or jointly owned or leased property to the petitioner;
- Prohibition from removing a child from the petitioner’s possession;
- Prohibition from transferring or disposing of mutually owned or leased property;
- Petitioner granted exclusive possession of a residence and order the respondent to vacate the property;
- Prohibition from removing a pet from the possession of the petition;
- Prevention from communicating with or threatening the petitioner;
- Prevention from committing any act of family violence;
- Prevention from going to any protected child’s school or day care;
- Prevention from going to the petitioner’s work or school;
- Prevention from going to the petitioner’s residence;
- Prohibition from possessing a firearm;
- Required completion of a battering intervention and prevention program;
- Financially support the petitioner or children, if obligated to do so; and/or
- Any other relief the court determines is necessary.
A protective order in Texas is effective for a maximum period of two years.
A violation of a protective order is generally a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, maximum penalties include one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
If the alleged violator has two or more prior violation convictions or commits an assault or stalking offense, they can instead be charged with a third-degree felony. Maximum penalties for a third-degree felony include a $10,000 fine and a prison sentence ranging from two to ten years.
Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Fort Worth Protective Order Hearing Attorney
Contact Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today for a consultation if you have been served with a protective order in North Texas. Richard McConathy is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Dallas with nearly two decades of experience. He will make every effort to help you avoid a protective order and to represent your best interests at your hearing.
Call (972) 233-5700 today for a free consultation about your protective order hearing. The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy represents clients throughout Dallas County and the surrounding counties of Denton County, Collin County, and Tarrant County.