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Protective Orders vs. Restraining Orders in Texas: Key Differences


At The Law Offices of Jed Silverman, we understand the importance of ensuring our client's safety and protecting their rights in legal matters. When addressing issues of harassment, domestic violence, or stalking, obtaining the appropriate legal protection is crucial. Two commonly sought remedies in such cases are Protective Orders and Restraining Orders. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they serve distinct purposes under Texas law. This blog post will explore the key differences between Protective Orders and Restraining Orders in Texas.

Understanding Protective Orders

A Protective Order, also known as a "Protective Order Against Family Violence" in Texas, is a legal document issued by a court to protect victims of domestic violence, abuse, or harassment. This order is specifically designed to shield family members or household members from further harm. To obtain a Protective Order, the petitioner must establish that family violence has occurred and that there is a clear risk of future harm.

Under Texas law, family violence includes any act committed by a family member or household member against another member, resulting in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or threats that reasonably place the victim in fear of imminent harm. The court may grant a Protective Order, which typically lasts for two years, with the possibility of extension if necessary.

Scope of a Protective Order

One key difference between Protective Orders and Restraining Orders lies in their scope. Protective Orders primarily focus on protecting victims of domestic violence within a familial or household context. It aims to prevent the abuser from contacting or approaching the victim. It may also provide additional relief, such as granting the victim exclusive possession of the residence and child custody arrangements.

The Purpose of Restraining Orders

On the other hand, a Restraining Order is a broader legal tool that can protect individuals from various forms of harassment, threats, or harm. Restraining Orders are not limited to family or household relationships and can be sought by any individual who feels unsafe or threatened by someone else's actions.

Eligibility for Restraining Orders

In contrast to Protective Orders, which require a familial or household relationship between the parties involved, Restraining Orders can be sought against acquaintances, neighbors, co-workers, or anyone else who poses a threat. To obtain a Restraining Order, the petitioner must show evidence of harassment, stalking, or other threatening behaviors that put their safety at risk.

Duration of Restraining Orders

Restraining Orders in Texas can vary in duration, depending on the case's specific circumstances. They may be temporary, lasting only until the court hearing, or extended for a more extended period if the court deems it necessary for the petitioner's safety.

Violation Consequences

Violating both Protective Orders and Restraining Orders is a serious offense in Texas and can result in severe consequences for the individual who breaches the order. Such violations can lead to criminal charges, fines, and even imprisonment.

Understanding the distinctions between Protective Orders and Restraining Orders in Texas is essential to ensure you seek the appropriate legal protection for your situation. Whether you are facing domestic violence within a family or household relationship or experiencing threats and harassment from outside parties, obtaining the right legal remedy is crucial to safeguarding your well-being.

We are committed to helping our clients navigate complex legal issues and obtain the protection they need. If you find yourself in a situation that requires a Protective Order or a Restraining Order, do not hesitate to reach out to our experienced team for guidance and representation. Your safety and rights are our top priorities, and we are here to support you throughout the legal process.

Contact The Law Offices of Jed Silverman today to learn more!

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