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What if Someone Violates a Restraining Order?

03/26/24

The Legal Information Institute defines a restraining order as “a court order enjoining a person from taking a particular action in relation to another person.” Most often, restraining orders are put into place after allegations of domestic violence, stalking, or some other type of serious conflict. In Texas, you will hear these types of restraining orders referred to simply as protective orders. The violation of a restraining order (protective order) is a crime. In this article, our San Antonio criminal defense lawyers explain what happens if a person violates a restraining order in Texas.

Violation of a Protective Order in Texas: A Criminal Offense

In Texas, violating a protective order is recognized as a serious criminal offense (Tex. Pen. Code § 25.07). The law explicitly prohibits individuals from knowingly or intentionally committing any act that is specifically forbidden by a court’s order. To be clear, the violation of a protective order is a standalone criminal charge. A person can be arrested and charged with a crime based solely on the fact that they violated an order. Police and prosecutors take these cases very seriously.

Violation is a First Degree Misdemeanor But May Be a Felony in Certain Circumstances

In most cases, the violation of a protective order is classified as a Class A misdemeanor in Texas. While not always a felony, it is still a bad criminal charge to face. A Class A misdemeanor can result in penalties including up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000, or both. Further, a protective order violation could be enhanced to a felony offense in certain circumstances. More specifically, a person could be arrested and charged with a third-degree felony for violating a protective order in Texas if:

  • They have already violated protective orders on two previous occasions; or
  • They committed stalking or assault while violating the protective order.

The Consequences Will Vary Based on the Nature of the Violation

In any given case, the consequences for violating a protective order will depend, in large part, on the specific nature of the allegations. For example, a person who violates a protective order on accident will be treated far differently than a person who violates a protective order intentionally. Along the same lines, a first-time violation of a protective order may be treated less harshly than repeat violations. An attorney can help you navigate a specific situation.

Note: There could also be adverse family law consequences. For example, if a person violates a protective order, that could potentially be used against them in a child custody case.

Get Help From Our San Antonio Restraining Order Attorney Today

At Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda, PLLC, we are a boutique law firm that provides solutions-focused legal guidance and support across the full range of criminal cases and family law matters. If you have any questions about restraining order violations, we are here as a legal resource. Contact us now to arrange your confidential, no-obligation initial appointment. With an office in San Antonio, we handle restraining order violations throughout the entire region.