Happy Valentine’s Friday out there to everybody, and I figured on this day where we celebrate love, what better topic to discuss than protective orders and restraining orders? Now, here in Texas, peoples tend to use protective and restraining orders interchangeably, but the two things are actually quite different both in how they come about and the penalties for violating them.

A restraining order is actually a civil order. It usually comes out of a lawsuit that is filed in a civil court, and it is issued by that civil court judge and it tells parties to a lawsuit what they can and can’t do. So for example, in a divorce, it tells them they can’t withdraw money from certain accounts, it tells them they can’t move their children outside a certain range. That sort of thing. Biggest thing to know about restraining orders is a violation of a restraining order since it’s a civil order is usually not criminally enforceable. You can go to jail for a contempt of court charge, but other than that, you won’t face criminal ramifications for violating a restraining order.

Protective orders, however, are a totally different animal. They come out of a criminal court case, typically in assault, family violence case or a stalking or harassment case, something like that, and they protect an individual from being contacted, harassed, or threatened by the target of the protective order. Now protective orders because they’re criminal in nature face very significant criminal ramifications if they’re violated.

Typically, it’s a class A misdemeanor if you violate a protective order. However in certain circumstances, they can be up to a third degree felony. So it’s important that if you or anybody that you know thinks or knows that they’re under a protective order or a restraining order, and you have concern about what that means to either you or the person that you know, have them contact us, we’re happy to walk them through it.

Flip side, or alternatively, if you are feeling threatened or you feel like you would like to place a restraining order, a protective order on an individual, we’re happy to answer those questions as well since we’re familiar with the process and how it works, we can walk you through what the police officers will typically need, what information the prosecutors will typically need in order for those to be successfully put into place to protect you and your family.

So any questions at all, please feel free to feel free to contact us here at the Wahlen Law Office, we’re happy to walk you through it and talk to you about how those two different orders may impact you or your family. Happy Valentine’s Day everybody, we’ll see you next week.