Texas Protective Order Hearing in Family Violence Cases

An arrest for  Texas Family Violence assault is very serious business. A conviction for an assault will carry lifelong consequences that can effect a person’s career, where they live, and rights to their children. One of the first obstacles a person may face after they have been arrested for family violence charges is a Protective Order Hearing.

Under Texas law  a spouse or person in a dating relationship may apply for a permanent protective order. They usually do so by going to the District or County Attorney’s Office and filling out an application for a protective order. They meet with an investigator or family violence advocate and write out a sworn  affidavit giving the details of what assault occurred, details of past assaults and why and why they are in fear that there  could be further violence.

The next step is to have the defendant served and a hearing date set. The first major decision to be made by a person accused of family violence is whether to fight the protective order. Every situation is different but there are good reasons to have a contested hearing. Here are 3 reasons for having a contested Protective Order Hearing.

1. A hearing on a protective order is a very good discovery device in a criminal trial. The prosecution must put their victim on the stand which means all the details surrounding the assault have to be told under oath.

2. The criminal defense attorney will be able to cross-examine the victim in this case. If the victim’s can be impeached during this hearing it will greatly aid in the clients defense. If the prosecutions primary witness’s credibility is damaged they may never recover.

3. A finding against a defendant in a protective order hearing can not be expunged. Protective Order hearings are conducted under the civil rules. Not guilty and dismissals in criminal cases can be expunged. These rules don’t apply to Protective Orders.

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