There are several different types of protective orders that can be issued by a court in the State of Texas. These varying protective orders are issued to protect victims of a wide range of assorted crimes. Some orders are specific to criminal cases.
Types of Protective Orders in Texas
The two main types of protective orders issued in Texas criminal cases include the following:
- Protective Order (PO): A PO can be requested by a complainant or a prosecutor. It is issued by a judge and can last for up to two years. A PO prohibits an alleged offender from contacting his or her complainat, going to certain places, possessing firearms, and committing further acts of violence. A victim of family violence will often seek a Protective Order from the court.
- Emergency Protective Order (EPO): An EPO is usually given to complainants of family violence and is issued by a magistrate or judge. An EPO can last for up to 31 days and prohibits an alleged offender from contacting a complainant or going to certain places. This type of order is often given ahead of a protective order.
Are Protective Orders Public Record in Texas?
In Texas, orders of protection are considered public records; however, they are not always accessible to everyone. On May 7, 2019, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 325, known as Monica’s Law, establishing the Protective Order Registry of Texas (PROTECT), a statewide database of orders of protection that are issued in cases involving domestic/family violence. Article 13 of Texas House Bill 3774, which passed during the 2021 regular legislative session and went into effect on January 1, 2023, amends Monica’s Law, providing for the protective order registry to include protective orders for complainants of sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or trafficking and for the removal of certain vacated orders from the registry. Under Texas law, protective orders issued in cases involving these acts are not available for public inspection, except by the parties directly involved in those cases, their attorneys, and certain law enforcement personnel. (Note: even when protective orders are not available for public inspection, they may still appear on background checks and some other types of searches.)
Are you in need of help from a professional criminal defense lawyer in Austin, Texas, or the surrounding area? If so, you should reach out to the board-certified attorney Brian Erskine of Erskine Law. Mr. Erskine has experience with cases involving protective orders and a thorough understanding of how the law applies. The caring and competent counsel at Erskine Law is available to help you understand protection orders and provide legal guidance related to your situation. Contact Erskine Law for a free consultation about your case.