A Violation of a Protective Order is a serious offense in Austin. Although commonly charged as a Class A Misdemeanor, both prosecutors and Judges treat the offense harshly. In Travis County it means a warrant or arrest, and may cause an existing Personal Bond for any related assault case to be revoked.
If there is an additional (or new) Assault or Stalking that occurs during the Violation of Protective Order, or a prior-able conviction (or two related priors under other code sections) then it's a 3rd Degree Felony for the Violation of Protective Orders (plus a new assault or stalking offense). Sometimes a phone call or text message will trigger a new charge of Violation of Protective Order. Even if the other party (the alleged victim) initiates contact, the mere response is a violation.
Having a violation of protective order, especially paired with a pending assault, is not an ideal place to be in terms of legal footing. Protective Orders on general are a serious matter, and so violations are even more serious. The bulk of defense work here centers on the relationship between parties (was the alleged victim complacent in the violation -- which is not a defense, but more mitigation). Also, an investigation should be focused on the credibility of the party reporting the violation. Is it just word of mouth, or is there physical evidence (in terms of phone logs, etc...).
How Long do Protective Orders Last? Protective Order lengths vary, but if it's longer than 90 days, there has to be a hearing before a Judge. The hearing is not a criminal trial, but instead the Judge must agree that "more likely than not" domestic assault has occurred." If so, then a Protective Order can last years.
It might not seem like much at the time, but once a protective order is in effect, an individual may be required to temporarily give up parental rights to the other party, may be prohibited from remaining at thier home, and may need to pay money (financial support) to the alleged victim or household members.
Because a Violation of Protective Order is usually paired with Family Violence, related areas obviously include the three varieties of Family Violence, as well as regular Assault. If the person being allegedly assaulted is a family member or in a (past or present) dating relationship, then the offense can fall under a subcategory of Assault, which is Assault Causes Bodily Injury Family Violence.
At the felony level, there is a similar offense if the person has a prior assault family violence (or related) on their record, which is Assault Causes Bodily Injury Dating, Family, Household Member.
Lastly, if there is the allegation of a person using thier hands on the other person's throat, the case is enhanced to a 3rd Degree Felony, Assault by Strangulation. This charge is also known as Assault Intentionally or Recklessly Impede Breath Circulation
A Full List of Assault Offenses can be found below, or by clicking Assault Offenses in Texas.
Judges in Travis County are reluctant to release the accused after a Violation of Protective Order. But an initial denial of personal bond doesn't mean the answer is actually no. Keates Law Firm can act quickly to try and assist with a personal bond to release the accused person. Be sure to read more about Bond, Personal Bonds, and Travis County Jail Releases.
Legislative Update 2021: Senate Bill 6 Passed. Senate Bill 6, passed in the legislature in 2021, drastically altered the availability of personal bonds in the criminal justice system. As a reminder, a personal bond is a release from jail by the court without needing to pay for it. Senate Bill 6, specifically Art. A17.027, mainly prohibits a new Judge from releasing a person on a personal bond if that person was re-arrested while out on bond for certain offenses. In other words, a situation where a person was already released on bond, and that case is still pending -- and then they are arrested on a new (usually violent) charge. In that situation, the original Judge (the one presiding over the first arrest) has control over personal bonds, to an extent. This is a newly evolving statute and law, and only certain offenses apply, so call us if you or your loved one has been either re-arrested or has a warrant while already on bond with a pending case.
Violation of Protective Orders are governed by a large number of different statutes, including those in the penal code, the family code, and civil statutes. Depending on which type of Protective Order is present, and how it was served on the other party, there may be a variety of defenses available. But each case is different, and as mentioned above, most defenses involve possible mitigation in whether the alleged victim complacent in the violation -- which is not a defense, or focuses on the credibility of the party reporting the violation.
If you'd like to talk in detail about your situation, or if you have questions, contact us for a Free Case Consultation. Keep in mind, Keates Law Firm only practices in Austin and Travis County.
Hiring the right attorney from the beginning is important. Poor legal decisions will have a negative effect upon the case as it progresses. The Keates Law Firm has over 16+ Years Experience handling Violation of Protective Orders cases. Our focus is to try and have the case dismissed against you. We don't even discuss pleas until all legal and negotiation options have been explored in detail.
Call Us to talk about your particular case and situation. It's a 100% Free Phone Consultation with Criminal Defense Attorney Keates. No Sales Pitches, No Hassles. We'll see if we are the right Law Firm for you, and give you a quote. Be sure to check out Keates Law Firm's Reviews and also our past cases and Results.
Your goal should be Dismissal for any Violation of Protective Orders charge. While not every case can be dismissed, often times the goal becomes avoiding jail, or getting a reduced charge, or even getting a favorable probation with a possible dismissal at the end, called Deferred Adjudication. If dismissed, a person can later seek an Expunction of a Criminal Record, which is where a Judge Orders the offense records destroyed, including police reports, court records, and prosecutor files.
Likewise, if Deferred Adjudication is successfully completed, the person can have thier record sealed through Motions for NonDisclosure.
Legal Fees are typically unexpected, so Keates Law Firm realizes that most people don't have thousands of dollars immediatly available after an unexpected arrest. Keates Law Firm offers no interest Payment Plans for legal fees for cases in Austin, Travis County. Most Payment Plans require a credit or debit card on file, with a deposit for representation. Attorney Payment Plans are paid monthly with no interest. Payment Plan Lawyers in Austin, Travis County are few, but Keates Law Firm has had success and many happy clients who appreciate spreading out legal fees over payments. Check out our Austin Attorney Payment Plans page for more details, or call for a Free Consultation.
(a)A person commits an offense if, in violation of a condition of bond set in a family violence, ...[or A Protective] order issued ... and the person knowingly or intentionally:
(1) commits family violence or an act in furtherance of an offense under Section 20A.02, 22.011, 22.012, 22.021, or 42.072;
(A) directly with a protected individual or a member of the family or household in a threatening or harassing manner;
(B) a threat through any person to a protected individual or a member of the family or household; or
(C) in any manner with the protected individual or a member of the family or household except through the person's attorney or a person appointed by the court, if the violation is of an order described by this subsection and the order prohibits any communication with a protected individual or a member of the family or household;
(3) goes to or near any of the following places as specifically described in the order or condition of bond:
(A) the residence or place of employment or business of a protected individual or a member of the family or household; or
(B) any child care facility, residence, or school where a child protected by the order or condition of bond normally resides or attends;
(4) possesses a firearm;
(5) harms, threatens, or interferes with the care, custody, or control of a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal that is possessed by a person protected by the order or condition of bond; or
(6) removes, attempts to remove, or otherwise tampers with the normal functioning of a global positioning monitoring system.
Violation of Protective Order cases can be either Misdemeanors or felonies. Violation of Protective Order offenses can often lead to jail time and a temporary or permanent loss of parental rights. There may also be a loss of Firearm Rights, and individuals on Probation will need to surrender all registered (and unregistered) firearms.
|Level of Offense||Punishment|
|Class C Misdemeanor||Not Applicable|
|Class B Misdemeanor||Not Applicable|
|Class A Misdemeanor||Not more than 1 year in a county jail, and/or no more than $4,000 fines|
|State jail felony||Not Applicable|
|3rd Degree Felony||2-10 Years in Prison, and/or no more than $10,000 fines|
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