Protective orders serve many different purposes in Texas, but most commonly, you hear about them in terms of domestic violence or stalking.
If you are accused of violating a protective order, there are some steps you need to take – and quickly – to help protect yourself from penalties. Intentional violation of a protective order is a Class A misdemeanor, but don’t let the word “misdemeanor” fool you. This kind of crime can result in up to a $4,000 fine and a year in county jail. If you’ve been convicted in the past for violating a protective order, or if you violate a bond condition after release from jail, you could face a third-degree felony, which can land you in prison for two to ten years.
We’ve seen some cases where a defendant and a petitioner for the protective order try to reconcile. Know that even if the petitioner does want to reconcile, this does not void the protective order. You will both need to go to court to get the order tossed out, otherwise any direct or indirect contact between you and the petitioner will be considered a violation of the protective order.
If it is your first time being convicted for violating a protective order, you have a good chance of avoiding jail time, but you will likely receive probation. If you do, the judge may also make counseling and substance abuse treatment mandatory. Also, the protective order will likely remain. You may not be able to own a gun. You might have to attend classes to prevent domestic abuse. You may even be required to pay for the petitioner’s court and counseling fees. Just because you avoid jail doesn’t mean a conviction won’t have dramatic effects on your life.
The best thing you can do for yourself in this situation is to speak to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.