Protection and Restraining Orders

When two people have difficulty in their relationship, things can sometimes spin out of control, resulting in domestic violence.  In fact, in Texas, 1 in 3 Texans will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.

But despite what most people think, domestic violence can encompass a wide variety of situations, above and beyond just a simple physical altercation.  It can include threats and intimidation, stalking, kidnapping, economic deprivation, trespassing and harassment, assault with a deadly weapon, and many other elements.

To prevent these types of activities from taking place, many people seek safety through the use of protective orders or restraining orders in Texas.

Although people often interchange the terms protective orders and restraining orders, there are distinct differences between the two.  If you are in a difficult domestic situation, you should understand those differences so you can protect yourself in the best way possible.  Although both must be implemented by the Texas court system and signed off by a judge, that is where the similarities end. 

When to Seek a Protective Order

A protective order is a court order that demands a specific abuser to stop all forms of harassment against another person.  This can include stalking, threatening, physically abusing, or in the cases of discovery or deposition processes in a legal matter, it can protect a witness from unreasonable requests.  It extends to all forms of physical, verbal, and electronic contact, including by telephone, text, email, and social media.  In many cases, the protective order will also include protection for family members.

In cases of domestic violence, when a threat is immediate and eminent, police will often give a victim an Emergency Protective Order.  An EPO is valid for a short time only, generally a week or less, but it provides immediate protection under a longer-term protective order can be put in place. 

When to File a Restraining Order

Restraining orders are used to define what one side, or the other, or both sides, can or cannot do during a lawsuit or other similar legal action.  Restraining orders are less immediate than protective orders and seek to govern a person’s conduct over a longer period of time.  They are typically used in a divorce process as a means of ensuring that one or both spouses maintain a certain level of conduct while a divorce is pending.  Restraining orders can be quite complicated and contain numerous provisions dealing with several types of issues.  This can include limiting contact, securing assets and bank accounts in place while a divorce is pending, among others.

When in doubt, it is always best to seek the counsel of an experienced family law attorney such as George C. Ruiz who will be able to provide guidance on the steps to take to protect you and your interests to the highest degree possible.

The Law Office of George C. Ruiz serves clients in San Antonio, New Braunfels, Schertz, La Vernia, Seguin, Leon Valley, and other nearby Texas communities.