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Legal Information: Texas

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
November 5, 2020

What is the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Registry? Who has access to it?

The National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC) is a nationwide, electronic database used by law enforcement agencies in the U.S, Canada, and Puerto Rico, that contains information on protective orders. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials.

All law enforcement officials have access to it, but the information is encrypted so outsiders cannot access it.

How do I register my protective order in Texas?

You do not have to register your protective order1 however it might make enforcement of the order easier if you do so.  To register your protective order, you must take a certified copy to either the local Sheriff’s Department or to the Department for Public Safety office.  You may be asked to sign an affidavit stating that you believe the protective order is valid.  You should be given a certified copy of your registered order.2

If you need help registering your protection order, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in Texas for assistance.  You can find contact information for organizations in your area here on our TX Advocates and Shelters page.

1 Tex. Fam. Code § 88.004(e)
2 Tex. Fam. Code § 88.005

Do I have to register my protective order in Texas in order to get it enforced?

No. Texas state law says an order does not have to be registered to be enforced, but the protective order must be valid.1

A police officer must treat an order as valid as long as it appears to be valid.2 A order appears valid if it:

  • contains your name and the abuser’s name;
  • is not expired;
  • the court that issued it had the authority (jurisdiction) to issue the order; and
  • the abuser was given notice of the protective order hearing and the opportunity to attend the court hearing before the order was issued or, in the case of an ex parte temporary order, soon after the order was issued.3

1 Tex. Fam. Code § 88.004(e)
2 Tex. Fam. Code § 88.003(e)
3 Tex. Fam. Code § 88.004(d)

Will the abuser be notified if I register my protective order?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.1  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Staying Safe page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan.  You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our TX Advocates and Shelters page.

1 18 USC § 2265(d)

What if I don't register my protective order? Will it be more difficult to have it enforced?

Maybe.  In Texas, you do not have to register your protective order to get it enforced.1  However, if your order is not entered into the state registry, it may be more difficult for a Texas law enforcement official to determine whether your order is real and therefore it could take longer to get your order enforced.  Additionally, when you register your order in Texas, you will be given a certified copy of the registered order which should be easier for Texas law enforcement to recognize.2  If you are unsure about whether registering your order is the right decision for you, you may want to contact a local domestic violence organization in your area.  An advocate there can help you decide what the safest plan of action is for you in Texas.  To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in Texas, go to our TX Advocates and Shelters page.

1 Tex. Fam. Code § 88.004(e)
2 Tex. Fam. Code § 88.005(b)

Does it cost anything to register my protective order?

No. There is no fee for registering your protective order in Texas.1

1 Tex. Fam. Code § 88.005(f)