PROTECTIVE ORDERS

A Protective Order is a method to help keep a victim of family abuse or stalking safe from future acts of violence or stalking. A permanent Protective Order will usually only be issued after a full hearing before the appropriate court before a County judge or a higher court.  A Protective Order can be in effect up to two years.  In order to apply for a Protective Order the family violence must have occured within the past 30 days.  A Protective Order which is granted is the same as a conviction on the perpetrator's criminal record.
 
Protective Orders are civil orders issued by a judge to prevent one person from committing certain acts against others.  The personal relationship between "respondent" (person alleged to have committed the prohibited act) and the victim (person to be protected) determines which kind of petition would be filed.  A family or household member means married or divorced people; parents and their children; persons related by blood (such as brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts or grandparents); and people who have lived together or have lived together in the past.  people who have never lived together may also ask for a Protective Order if they have a child together or have been involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship.  You can also apply for a Protection Order to protect a child, elderly person, or dependant adult in your family or household.  A Protection Oder may include; stop domestic abuse, no direct or indirect contact with petitioner, no stalking, evicting the respondent, housing for the petitioner when the respondent is the sole owner or lessee, temporary custody of minor children, financial support and counseling.
 
 
 EMERGENCY PROTECTIVE ORDERS
A Magistrates Emergency Protective Order can only be issued at the time of arraignment.  That means the perpetrator MUST BE ARRESTED BEFORE AN EPO CAN BE ISSUED.  In Fannin County, either the Justice of the Peace, the Municipal Judge, or a law enforcement officer will ask for the order, which is in effect for 30-91 days depending on the situation.
 
In Fannin County the District Attorney (DA) acts as the victim's attorney at no charge, and there is no charge for the application nor is there a filing fee.
 
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PROTECTIVE ORDER AND A RESTRAINING ORDER ?
 
Both types of orders can direct a person to stay away from your home and place of employment and not be violent with you.  However, only a Protective order is criminally enforceable, meaning that the abuser can be arrested and charged with a criminal offense for violating the order. 
 
The police cannot arrest someone for violating a Restraining Order; YOU must go back to the judge who issued the Restraining Order in order to enforce it.