How long does a permanent (final) protective order last?
A permanent protective order is effective for the time period stated in the order, which generally may be up to a maximum of 2 years. If there is no time period written on the order, then it expires on the second anniversary of the date the order was issued.1 However, the may judge to issue an order for longer than two years if:
- the abuser committed an act that would be considered a felony offense involving family violence against you or a member of your family or household even if the abuser was never charged with or convicted of the offense;
- the abuser caused serious bodily injury to you or a member of your family or household; or
- the same petitioner (you or your child) had two or more protective orders issued against the abuser in the past and in each of those prior cases, the judge found that the abuser committed family violence and was likely to commit family violence in the future.2
Regardless of how long your order lasts, after the order has been in effect for one year, the abuser can file a motion to ask that the order be discontinued. (If the order lasts more than two years, the abuser can file a second motion, one year after s/he files the first motion.) The judge will then hold a hearing to determine whether there is a “continuing need for the order.” If the judge believes there is no need to continue the order, the judge can end the order earlier than the original date set. However, the fact that the abuser did not violate the order does not by itself support a decision that the order is not needed anymore.3
Note: The order can actually expire after the original expiration date if the abuser is in jail or prison when the order is set to expire or if s/he was released from jail/prison within the one year before the order’s expiration date. In either case, the order will automatically be extended as follows:
- If the abuser was sentenced to more than 5 years of incarceration, the order will expire on the first anniversary of the date s/he is released from imprisonment.
- If the abuser was sentenced to 5 years or less of incarceration, the order will expire on the second anniversary of the date s/he is released from imprisonment.4
In either case, you can request a new order from the court showing the extended expiration date to make it easier to for the police to enforce the order in case the order is violated after the expiration date written on the original order.
1 Tex. Fam. Code § 85.025(a)
2 Tex. Fam. Code § 85.025(a-1)
3 Tex. Fam. Code § 85.025(b),(b-1),(b-2)
4 Tex. Fam. Code § 85.025(c)