It is a court order that protects you from someone who has been violent or threatened to be violent.Violence can include sexual assault.
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It can order the other person to:
- Not hurt you or threaten to hurt you
- Not contact you or go near you, your children, other family relatives, your pets, your home, where you work, or your children’s schools
- Not have a gun or a license to carry a gun The police can arrest the other person for violating any of these orders
You can get a Protective Order if:
- Someone has hurt you, or threatened to hurt you, and
- You are afraid that person may hurt you again, and
- Either you, or your spouse or dating partner has a close relationship with the person who hurt you
- A close relationship includes: marriage, close relatives, dating or living together, or having a child together.
You can also get a Protective Order if you have had a Protective Order against the other person before and the other person violated the parts of the Protective Order designed to protect you.
You can also get a Protective Order if you have been sexually assaulted or stalked, even if you do not have a close relationship with the person who sexually assaulted or stalked you. To get more information about this kind of Protective Order, contact the Texas Advocacy Project, Inc. at 800/374- HOPE(4673) or the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault at 512-474-7190.
The judge may give you a temporary order that protects you until your court hearing.
This order is called a “Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order”.
Please note: if you do not receive a court document entitled “Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order” that is signed by the judge after you apply, you do NOT have a protective order yet.You must go to a hearing and ask the judge for a Protective Order. In some cases, the judge orders the other person to leave the home right away. If you want this, you should ask the judge. Be ready to testify at a hearing when you file your Application.
Yes. Even if you get a Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order, you must go to the next hearing. It should be in about 2 weeks.The judge will decide if you should have protection and for how long. If you do not go, the Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order may end.
- You can start by contacting your local county and district attorney’s office. They may apply on your behalf.
- Note: You may also contact the county or district attorney’s offices in the county in which the respondent lives or where the assault occurred. You are eligible to apply for a protective order in any one of these counties.
- You can also contact free legal aid organizations listed in our Legal Help directory they can apply for you as well.
- You can hire a private attorney to apply for a sexual assault protective order for you.
- You can also apply for a sexual assault protective order on your own with the forms included in this packet (this is called applying “pro se”).
- Yes. You can request that your home, work, school and daycare addresses and phone numbers be kept confidential. However, your county of residence will be disclosed through the application process.
- To make your information confidential, you should file a document called “Confidential Information Not to be Disclosed” and list the information you want kept confidential. This document is included in the Sexual Assault Protective Order Kit.
By law, you cannot be charged any court fees associated with applying for a protective order. This includes filing fees and court costs.
Note: If you hire a private attorney to represent you in a protective order application, you will have to pay that attorney their attorney’s fees.
The protective order is a civil lawsuit and criminal charges are separate, criminal court actions. Each case has different requirements and one does not affect the other, except that if a record is made in the protective order hearing, the criminal court can introduceyour previous sworn testimony into evidence.
For this reason, it is important to contact an attorney before filing a protective order. It is also important to review your statements before court and make sure you are consistent with each one. Court can be stressful, especially is your abuser is present. The more you review your statement before court, the better prepared you will be.
Also note, it is OK to say you don’t remember something if you really don’t remember it. Attorneys in court may ask you for many details that you cannot remember. It is better to say you don’t remember than to try and guess.
- It is best to keep a copy of the order with you at all times
- It is best that you bring a copy of the order to law enforcement in Texas so they can enter it into the state database.
- The terms of an out of state order are enforceable even if they are not exactly the conditions you would have gotten in Texas.
- Whether you have your order with you or have registered it with law enforcement or not: the order is still fully enforceable.