Being arrested for an incident involving domestic assault or family violence can be stressful. However, if the court decides to issue an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) before you’re even released from your arrest, you may face significant obstacles and face additional legal troubles if you violate the terms of these orders. If you have been arrested for a domestic assault offense, it’s essential that you contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options. Together, you can discuss the implications of the EPO issued against you to ensure that you don’t suffer additional legal consequences.
Magistrate’s Emergency Protective Order
Victims of family violence in Texas may be eligible to secure an EPO against the defendant, even before the defendant is released from jail. Texas courts recognize that there are certain circumstances in which a magistrate’s order is necessary to stop the defendant from causing further harm to the victim. Unlike a protective order, an EPO does not require a hearing and may be put in place before the defendant is released following their arrest. The magistrate may issue an EPO at their discretion, or they may determine that the specifics of the case require a mandatory order of emergency protection. Discretionary orders may be issued following an arrest involving family violence, sexual assault, or stalking, while an EPO must be issued if the magistrate determines that the incident of family violence also included serious bodily injury to the victim or the use (or exhibition) of a deadly weapon during the assault.
The Terms of a Magistrate’s Order of Protection
Depending on the specifics of the situation, an EPO may require the defendant to immediately stop all communication with the victim or members of the victim’s family or residence. The order may also order that the defendant is no longer allowed to be in the vicinity of the residence, work environment, school, or childcare facility of the victim or the victim’s family. Additionally, the order compels the immediate suspension of the defendant’s concealed handgun license and states that the defendant may no longer possess a firearm while the order is in effect. In situations where the EPO conflicts with an existing child custody order, the terms of the EPO supersede those of the prior orders.
Steps to Take if a Magistrate’s Order of Protection is Issued Against You
As soon as you are arrested for an offense involving domestic assault or family violence, you should reach out to a trusted criminal defense attorney right away to discuss your situation. An EPO may be issued right away, and you may unknowingly violate the terms upon your release from jail. In fact, violating the terms of the EPO could result in a jail sentence of up to one year, a $4,000 fine, or both. The sooner you contact an attorney, the more informed you will be as you navigate this challenging situation. Don’t open yourself up to further legal troubles—seek reliable counsel right away to keep your future as bright as possible.
If you are facing domestic assault or family violence charges in the Pearland, Houston or Galveston area, contact the Law Offices of Keith G. Allen, PLLC at (832) 230-0075 today to arrange a free consultation with a skilled criminal defense attorney.