Judge pounding gavelThis is the next post in my series on the handling of charges of harassment or stalking. My last article discussed Texas’ penalties for both harassment or stalking. It is important to understand that each of these offenses can result in incarceration and the latter can result in a felony conviction. It is crucial that you contact a criminal defense attorney immediately if you or a loved one have been arrested. In this article I will discuss a common issue which arises in these types of cases – how to respond after being served with an order of protection. I am board certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Contact my office today to speak with an Austin lawyer.

There are two common ways in which an individual may be served with an order of protection, which is also referred to as a protective  order. The first is when a victim of harassment or stalking goes to a judge  and applies for an order of protection. The second is when a judge  issues such an order as a result of the offending party being arrested. The restraining order will place limits on how the offending party may conduct themselves. The accused person may be strictly prohibited from contacting, approaching, or in any way bothering the protected party. They will be required to stay a certain distance away from the victim’s home, place of work, and other places which the victim is known to frequent. The offending party may  also be prohibited from using third parties to initiate any form of contact. Violating such an order can, at a minimum, result in Class A misdemeanor charges. This means that a defendant, who has already been charged with stalking, would face even more criminal charges. Even an “Emergency Protective Order,” which can be issued without a hearing, can temporarily cause the accused to be forced out of their home, kept away from their children, and prohibited from possession of firearms. All too often, people accused of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking do not realize how serious a protective order can be, and don’t engage counsel in time to contest the allegations in court. This is a serious mistake. If you or someone you care about receives notice that a protective order has been filed and set for hearing, calling an experienced lawyer immediately is critical

If a protective order has been issued against you then it is vital that you follow the terms of the order. Even if the order is based on false allegations, you must still abide by it. Violating an order, even if it is based on false claims, will still result in criminal charges. An experienced criminal defense attorney can assist you with disputing an order that is based on false claims. Your lawyer can, for example, present  evidence which shows conduct by the accusing party that is inconsistent with their claims. Such evidence may include phone records, witness statements, emails or text messages, as well as other relevant information. With an experienced attorney representing you in this process, you increase your chances of a favorable resolution.

If you have been charged with harassment or stalking, and need assistance with a protective order, then contact my office today to speak with an Austin criminal defense lawyer. I have been practicing since 1995 and I pride myself on providing quality service to my clients. My office also serve the cities of Rollingwood, Round Rock, Elgin, Jonestown, Manor, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Creedmoor, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, and San Marcos, Texas. Call today to speak with our attorney.