Protective Orders

Texas House Bill 4173 is relating to the no substantive revision of certain provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, including conforming amendments that were passed and became effective on January 1, 2021.

This house bill was amended by adding Chapter 7B, which is relating to protective orders for victims of sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or trafficking.

The process and what a protective order includes is as follows:

Application for Protective Order

The people who can apply include:

  • Victim of the offense
  • A parent or guardian acting on behalf of a person younger than 18 years of age who is the victim of an offense
  • A prosecuting attorney acting on behalf of a victim

This protective order can be filed in a district court, or juvenile court having the jurisdiction of a district court.

Temporary Ex Parte Order

Then, if the court finds from the information contained in the application for a protective order that there is a clear and present danger of sexual assault, abuse, stalking, trafficking, or other harm to the applicant, the court — without further notice to the alleged offense and without hearing — may issue a temporary ex parte order for the protecting of the applicant or any other member of the applicant’s family or household.

Required Findings Relating to Issuance of Protective Order

The court shall find whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that the applicant is the victim of sexual assault, abuse, stalking, or trafficking.

If the court finds that there are reasonable grounds, it shall issue a protective order that includes a statement of the required findings.

Hearsay Statements of a Child Victim

A statement that is made by a child younger than 14 years of age who is the victim of an offense will be admissible as evidence. This will also be the case in a suit that affects the parent-child relationship. 

Conditions Specified by a Protective Order  

The court may order the alleged offender to take action as specified by the court if it may prevent or reduce the likelihood of future harm to the applicant or a member of the applicant’s family. It may also take action that prohibits the alleged offender from having communication directly or indirectly with the applicant or any member of the family or household in a threatening or harassing manner. The only way they could then contact the applicant is through an attorney or a person appointed by the court, if the court finds good cause for the prohibition. 

The Orders May Prohibit:

  • Going to or near the residence of the victim, their place of employment, or childcare facility or school of the applicant. 
  • Engaging in conduct directed specifically toward the applicant or any member of the applicant’s family or household.
  • Engaging in conduct directed specifically toward the applicant or any member of the applicant’s family or household.
  • Attempting to annoy, harass, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass the applicant.
  • Possessing firearms.

Duration of a Protective Order Regarding Rescission

A protective order may be effective for the duration of the lives of the offender and victim or for any shorter period stated in the order. If a period is not stated in the order, the order is effective until the second anniversary of the date the order was issued.

Contact an Attorney

If you or someone you care about feels threatened by someone and want to consider getting a restraining order, contact a lawyer, like a restraining order lawyer from Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC, today.