Where do I file for a protective order for sexual assault, sexual abuse, indecent assault, stalking, or trafficking?
You can file an application for a protective order in district court, juvenile court, statutory county court, or constitutional county court. It can be filed in the county where you live, where the perpetrator lives, or any county where an element (part) of the crime occurred. Also, if there is a current family violence protective order between the same parties that would be involved in this protective order, you have the option of filing it in that court as well.1
The steps for filing for a protective order for sexual assault, sexual abuse, indecent assault, stalking, or trafficking are generally the same as the steps for a domestic violence protective order.
1 Tex. C.C.P. Art. 7A.01(b)
How much does the protective order cost?
There is no cost to file for a protective order.
How do I cancel the protective order once it is issued?
The following people may file an application with the court at any time to cancel the protective order:
- a victim who is 17 years of age or older and received the order based on sexual assault (including aggravated sexual assault), stalking, indecency with a child, continuous sexual abuse of young child or children
- the parent or guardian acting on behalf of a victim who is younger than 17 and received the order based on sexual assault (including aggravated sexual assault), stalking, indecency with a child, continuous sexual abuse of young child or children
- a victim who received an order based on trafficking (including continuous trafficking) or forced prostitution;
- the parent or guardian acting on behalf of a victim who is younger than 18 who received an order based on trafficking (including continuous trafficking) or forced prostitution.1
1 Tex. C.C.P. Art. 7A.07(b)
What can I do if the abuser violates the order?
An abuser can violate a protective order by disobeying any of the restrictions in the order. For example, s/he can violate the restriction:
- not to come near you or a place specified in the order;
- not to abuse you;
- to contact you directly or through a third party (however, contacting you through your attorney can be permissible);
- against possessing a firearm;
- not to harm, threaten, or interfere with the care, custody, or control of a pet or companion animal a person protected by the order; or
- not to remove, attempt to remove, or otherwise tamper with the normal functioning of a global positioning monitoring system (GPS).1
If you believe that the abuser has violated the protective order, you can immediately call 911 and the abuser can be arrested. Under Texas law, a law enforcement officer must arrest the abuser if the officer witnesses a protective order violation, and may arrest the abuser if the order is violated outside of the officer’s presence.2
Depending on various factors, a violation of a protective order can be:
- a class A misdemeanor;
- a state jail felony; or
- a felony in the third degree .3
When the police arrive, it is usually a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and their badge number in case you want to follow up on your case. Make sure a police report is filled out, even if no arrest is made. If you have legal documentation of all violations of the order, it could help you have the order extended or modified in the future.
1 Tex. Penal Code § 25.07(a)
2 Tex. C.C.P. Art. 14.03(a)(3), (b)
3 Tex. Penal Code § 25.07(g)