In Texas, alleged victims of family violence, sexual assault, or stalking may request an emergency protective order (EPO) to keep you from contacting or communicating with them. Unfortunately, an EPO can be issued against anyone arrested for these alleged offenses—they do not require a conviction to be activated. This means that the court can put an EPO in place without hearing your side of the story, leading to significant consequences in addition to the criminal charges you may also be facing. So, is it possible to have an EPO dropped or removed? If you are currently facing family violence or sexual assault charges in the Pearland area, here’s what you need to know.
Orders of Emergency Protection in Texas
Under Texas state law, a person arrested for an offense involving family violence, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, or stalking may be subject to an order of emergency protection before being released from custody. In severe cases, such as those involving serious bodily injury or the display or use of a deadly weapon, the magistrate will issue a mandatory EPO. The court does not require the victim to appear in person to request the EPO; instead, a law enforcement officer or other party acting on behalf of the alleged victim can make the request on their behalf. If the magistrate grants the EPO, you’ll face numerous restrictions and potential consequences.
Consequences of an EPO in the Houston Area
Depending on the specifics of the case, an EPO may remain in effect from 31 to 91 days. During this time, the EPO can create significant logistical challenges for child custody arrangements. For instance, if you have visitation rights, but the EPO forbids you from going near the alleged victim’s home, you’ll need to figure out how to enjoy your visitation rights without violating the terms of the EPO. Should you violate the terms in any way, you could face Class A misdemeanor charges in addition to the other criminal charges that lead to the EPO. Repeat EPO violations may lead to third-degree felony charges, carrying a prison sentence between two and ten years and up to $10,000 in fines.
How a Skilled Pearland Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
Facing criminal charges of any kind in Texas can be overwhelming, so you must contact a trusted defense attorney right away to discuss your options. If an EPO has been issued against you, your attorney will help determine the best course of action to have this order removed. Working with an experienced criminal defense lawyer is the best way to ensure that you obtain the best possible outcome.
If you are currently facing assault or domestic violence charges in the Pearland area, contact the Law Offices of Keith G. Allen, PLLC at (832) 230-0075 to schedule a free consultation with a trusted criminal defense lawyer.