One way Texas responds to allegations of domestic violence is to issue a protective order. This order applies to the alleged abuser and contains a list of conditions that he or she must meet.
Receiving a protective order might be confusing. You might have no idea why your partner or relative has ordered one, and your first instinct might be to pick up the phone and call them to ask why. That would be a huge mistake. Instead, we recommend that you take the following three steps if the police serve a protective order on you.
Read the Order
A judge will issue a protective order, which should contain important information, such as who has requested it and who is protected. You need to carefully review the order, which the police should serve on you.
There are many conditions you must comply with, such as:
- No contact with the alleged victim and family
- Turning over any firearms
- Moving out of the house
- Attending substance abuse treatment programs
Any intentional violation of this order could actually land you in jail, so you must fully understand the conditions.
Contact an Attorney
A judge can issue a temporary protective order without a hearing but won’t issue a permanent order until you have had a chance to tell your side of the story. You need an experienced Houston criminal defense attorney to represent you at the hearing.
An experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer is an excellent asset to have. For example, Tad Nelson can:
- Review your memories of the incident leading up to the protective order.
- Identify which evidence is most helpful to present to a judge.
- Review any statements the alleged victim made.
- Find and interview witnesses to the alleged violent episodes.
- Communicate with the victim’s attorney if you need to coordinate moving out of the home, seeing your children, etc.
- Represent you at your hearing on a permanent order.
These are some of the most important services we provide. We will gladly discuss your options in a free consultation.
Avoid Contact with the Alleged Victim
Here’s a common situation we see: a couple gets into a fight, there’s mutual pushing and shoving, and the police are called. Suddenly, you’re tagged as the abuser and get served with a protective order. Within a week, everything blows over and now your partner wants to get back together. He or she might even turn up at your place.
However, if you are subject to a restraining order—even a temporary one—you must comply with it until it either expires or is dissolved. That means you can’t start seeing or contacting your ex—even if he or she wants to. If you do, the police could pick you up and you could face punishment.
Contact Tad Nelson Today
Violation of a protective order carries steep punishment, so contact a Houston criminal defense attorney who can guide you through the legal process of challenging one. Our office is open to anyone in need of assistance.