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Texas Protective Orders Laws

In Texas, as in other states, protective orders are intended to protect individuals from abusive partners or others who may try to cause harm. Texas protective orders laws allow for both temporary (20 days maximum) and general (up to two years) protective orders, also referred to as "restraining orders." Violating a protective order can result in a jail sentence and/or fine.

This article contains a brief overview of protective orders in Texas.

Texas Protective Orders: At a Glance

Refer to the table below to learn about Texas protective order laws, or find out more in-depth information on the subject in the discussion below. You can also visit FindLaw's Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders section for more general information on this topic.

Code Section

§ 71.001 et seq. of the Texas Family Code

Activity Addressed by Order

Enjoin contact; exclude from dwelling, employment, school; regarding minors: enjoin contact, temporary custody, support; counseling; reasonable court costs and attorney fees; suspension of a firearm license; removing a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal from the possession or actual or constructive care of a person named in the order

Duration of Order

Temporary: maximum 20 days, may be extended; General: maximum two years (which may be extended in the following instances: the defendant committed an act constituting a felony involving family violence, caused serious bodily injury, or was the subject of two or more protective orders, and after a finding by the court that the subject of the protective order has committed family violence and is likely to commit family violence in the future)

Penalty for a Violation of Order

Fine, maximum $4,000 and/or jail, maximum of one year; if family violence occurs, can be prosecuted for a misdemeanor or felony

Who May Apply for Order

Adult member of family; prosecuting attorney; department of protective and regulatory services; dating partners; “family" includes individuals related by consanguinity or affinity, individuals who are former spouses of each other, individuals who are the parents of the same child, without regard to marriage, and a foster child and foster parent, without regard to whether those individuals reside together; “household" means a unit composed of persons living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other

Can Fees Be Waived?

Yes; fees paid by respondent

Order Transmission to Law Enforcement

Copy to the chief of police where the protected resides and, not later than the third business day after the date of the order or information is received, enter the information required, into the statewide law enforcement information system maintained by the Department of Public Safety

Civil Liability for Violation of Order

Yes, contempt of court

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Get Help with a Protective Order Today

If someone is hurting or threatening to hurt you, there are resources available for you when you're ready. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline for 24/7/365 support at 800-799-7233. If you've been abused or fear someone may abuse you in the near future, you may want to get a protective order.

Please contact a Texas domestic violence attorney for help.

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