Too often in my practice, I meet couples who have had a long history of inflicting physical harm or bodily injury upon one or both of the parties. Either gender can be a victim. We hear about domestic violence on the news way too frequently and many incidents go unreported, often out of fear and intimidation. Texas courts will not tolerate any family violence.
As a family law attorney, I will not tolerate it either and will take all steps available to protect my client and his/her children. The last thing I want to read about in the paper is my client or their child has been a victim of such violence.
The Court can enter a protective order that prohibits one person from committing family violence against another. The protective order usually goes so far as to prohibit one person from even going near the other person's residence or place of employment. A copy of the protective order is given to the police and recorded in their computer database. It includes the following language:
VIOLATION OF A PROTECTIVE ORDER IS PUNISHABLE BY A FINE UP TO $5000 OR CONFINEMENT IN JAIL FOR UP TO ONE YEAR OR BOTH. FURTHERMORE, IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR ANY PERSON WHO IS SUBJECT TO A PROTECTIVE ORDER TO POSSESS A FIREARM OR AMMUNITION. ALSO, NO PERSON, INCLUDING A PERSON WHO IS PROTECTED BY THE ORDER MAY GIVE PERMISSION TO ANYONE TO IGNORE THE PROTECTIVE ORDER.
The applicant to the Protective Order cannot waive the requirements of a protective order. If he/she invites you over for dinner or to meet at a local restaurant, as soon as you arrive, the applicant to the Protective Order can call the police and off to jail you go - it is no defense that the applicant invited you over. If you have been served with a Protective Order and the applicant invites you over, DO NOT GO. You are not only violating a court order, but you will most likely be arrested. This ability of the police to arrest you on the spot is the difference between a protective order and an injunction, the latter of which can only be enforced by going back to court complaining of the violation.
If you have been involved in family violence, either as a victim or as the alleged abuser, I urge you to get professional counseling. Professional counseling can break the cycle. Also, please let me know the details so we can discuss a protective order, and whether your specific facts qualify you for a protective order.