Austin Domestic Abuse Protective Order Lawyers
Domestic violence is a very real and pressing issue in divorce, child custody, and other family law matters. If you identify with this situation, your first call should be to an experienced Austin domestic violence victim attorney for help. Depending on the circumstances and under Texas law, you could be eligible for a protective order to keep you safe against further domestic violence from your abuser.
If you’ve been the victim of domestic abuse by a spouse or other member of your family or household, contact us at Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., immediately to discuss your legal options. You will receive a confidential consultation.
How Our Lawyers Can Help with Protective Orders for Domestic Violence
Many people confuse restraining orders with protective orders. Although these orders can protect the person requesting them, the court only issues them under specific circumstances.
The court will typically grant a protective order if it determines the petitioner is in clear and present danger of violence. The court issues a restraining order to prohibit the abuser from engaging in specific conduct, such as contacting the person requesting the order.
No one deserves to live in fear. A skilled domestic violence attorney will help you determine which order is better for your situation and secure an order from the court to help keep you and those you love safe.
At Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., our lawyers offer help for victims of domestic violence by securing protective orders for themselves, their children, and others who need it.
Texas Protective Orders
When someone wants to protect themselves from a family or household member, they can obtain one of the orders below:
- Protective order – The court can issue a protective order to someone vulnerable to violence or threats of violence. The order protects the victim from continued acts of violence and prohibits the abuser from contacting them.
- Restraining order – A restraining order is common during divorces. It can protect a person from damaging acts by their spouse, such as using a joint credit card or withdrawing money from a bank account.
The only people allowed to request a protective order are:
- Blood relatives
- Members of the same household
- A related or non-related child living in the household
The person requesting a protective order must prove they face an imminent threat of violence or violence. Obtaining the order restricts the offender’s access to their victim. It’s illegal for the abuser to approach or contact the victim.
Three types of protective orders for domestic violence are available in Texas:
- Temporary Ex-Parte Protective Order – A temporary ex-parte protective order provides immediate protection to the victim from continued acts of violence. However, there is no criminal penalty if the abuser violates the order. If the judge believes the abuser presents a danger to the victim, the victim won’t have to see them in court. This type of order lasts anywhere from 20 to 40 days.
- Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection – The Magistrate’s order for emergency protection typically occurs after a domestic violence arrest. This temporary protective order remains in effect for 31 to 60 days. However, if the abuse involves a deadly weapon, the order can last up to 91 days.
- Permanent Protective Order – A permanent protective order can last up to two years or a timeframe the court determines.
How to Obtain a Protective Order in Austin, Texas
If you are the victim of domestic abuse, you must follow multiple steps to request a protective order from the court. The steps vary from one county to the next, but these are the general guidelines.
File the Application
Typically, you must apply for a protective order in the county where the abuse happened or where you or your abuser live. If there’s a pending divorce case or another legal matter that affects the parent-child relationship, you must file in one of these locations:
- The court where the case is pending
- The court in the county where you live (you must also notify the clerk of your other case)
You have to bring these items with you to apply for a protective order:
- A valid government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license
- Valid and current address for the person you’re seeking a protective order against
Complete All Required Forms
You must complete multiple forms and file them with your protective order request. You should include information such as:
- Your name and the county where you reside (note that you can also include your children in the petition, but the court might not issue a protective order if the abuser didn’t commit violence against them)
- The abuser’s name, address, and county of residence
- Your relationship with the abuser
- The type of protective order you’re seeking
- Whether you’re receiving support from the state child support division and include the case number
You can include additional information as evidence in the case, such as:
- Copy of a divorce or custody agreement
- Social Security number of each child you have
- Names and addresses of schools
- CPS caseworker or case number
You should also explain each incident of abuse or threat. Include specific dates, times, and locations. Indicate whether the abuser used acts of physical violence or verbal threats. You can also advise whether you want a temporary ex-parte order to protect yourself from immediate danger.
Don’t sign the application until you bring it to the courthouse and show it to the clerk. You must sign it in front of a notary public. Requests for protective orders are matters of public record. Once you file, your abuser and their attorney can access them.
After you file your petition, the judge will review your submitted forms and evidence. They will decide whether a temporary ex-parte order is appropriate if you apply for one. The temporary order can last up to 20 days until you can attend a hearing for an extended order.
Service of Process
If the judge approves your order, the court clerk will issue a notice of an application for a protective order and arrange to deliver the notice to your abuser. Your abuser will also receive any documents you submitted with the application. They can hire an attorney to represent them at the hearing if they would like.
Attending the hearing is mandatory. You should immediately request a new hearing date if you can’t attend. The judge will likely dismiss the case and reject your request for a protective order if you don’t attend the hearing.
You can present your testimony and evidence to the judge during the hearing. The judge will grant a permanent protective order if they believe there is more than a 50% chance that the abuser:
- Committed family violence; and
- Is likely to commit other acts of violence in the future.
Fighting False Accusations
While the attorneys at Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C. represent individuals who need protective orders, we could also help if you have had an order issued against you. Our criminal defense lawyers understand the impact unfair allegations of abuse can have on your life. You might be worried about being able to see your children and what the charges could do to your job, finances, and reputation in the community. We’ll be ready to assist you if you are in this situation.
It’s vital to note that if the judge has already granted a protective order against you, you must comply with all of its conditions. You must stay away from the person who filed the request. However, you should also prepare a case to defend yourself, whether you face a future protective order hearing or criminal trial.
Various actions you can take before the scheduled court date include:
- Gather physical evidence related to the alleged incident, such as photos, clothing, and other items
- Collect all documentation relevant to the matter, such as phone records, emails, letters, computer records, and evidence of where you were when the abuse occurred
- Create a list of people who could testify on your behalf
Contact Our Family Law Attorneys Today to Learn More
Since 1963, the family attorneys at Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., have worked to protect individuals and families in Austin. Unfortunately, domestic violence can and does occur in some relationships, but you don’t have to tolerate it. You have legal options to protect yourself and those you love from it.
If you are considering pursuing a protective order, contact Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C. You’ll meet with an Austin domestic violence victim lawyer to discuss your situation confidentially. We’ll be ready to listen to you and help you understand your options.