STEPHEN B. TYLER,
Victoria County Criminal District Attorney
Check Department - (361)575-4812
Family violence is a serious danger and threat to society and its members. Victims of family violence are entitled to the maximum protection from harm, abuse or threats of harm or abuse, as permitted by law.
Family Violence is defined as any act by one member of a family or household intended to physically harm another member, a serious threat of physical harm, the abuse of a child or dating violence.
Dating Violence is defined as any act by an individual intended to physically harm another individual with whom that person has or has had a dating relationship, or a serious threat of physical harm. A dating relationships defined as a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.
What Is A Protective Order?
A Protective Order is a civil court order issued to prevent continuing acts of family violence.
HOW CAN A PROTECTIVE ORDER HELP?
A protective order may prohibit a person from…
· Committing further acts of family violence;
· Harassing or threatening the protected person directly or communicating the threat indirectly through another person;
· Going to or near a protected person’s residence or place of employment;
· Going to or near a school or daycare center attended by a child protected under the order;
· Possessing a firearm.
WHO IS ENTITLED TO A PROTECTIVE ORDER?
A protective order may be issued to:
·victim of family violence or dating violence who is..:
1.Someone with whom the victim is related by blood or marriage;
2.Someone with whom the victim has had a child; or3. Someone with whom the victim has or has had a continuing dating relationship of a romantic or intimate nature
· a victim sexual assault who has been threatened with future harm.
Click on this link to download Questionnaire for Protective Order to see if you qualify.
HOW TO APPLY
You can apply for a protective order in person, with the help of clerk, KERRY POZZI or Assistant District Attorney, ALLISON MAREK. You or the Respondent must reside in Victoria County. The person requesting a protective order (the applicant) will be required to complete an application providing us information about the parties involved. An attorney will review the application and may request an interview to gather additional facts and information regarding the case. Click on this link to download Packet for Applying for a Protective Order.
WHAT INFORMATION DO WE NEED?
When you apply for a protective order, you must provide the following:
· The name and address of each applicant;
· State the relationship between the applicant and alleged offender;
· The police report number and name of investigating agency if there is one;
· A statement from the applicant describing detailed recent acts of family violence; and
· A current address for the respondent. This is an absolute requirement
For faster service, please download the application, fill in the information and bring to our office as soon as possible.
The applicant should file for the protective order as soon as possible after family violence has occurred. If there are past incidents of family violence, the applicant needs to provide this information in the application form.
Once the application is approved by an assistant district attorney, court documents are prepared. The applicant will be contacted to review and sign the forms before filing with a District Court. A hearing on the application for a protective order will be held within fourteen (14) days from the filing date. This will give the Sheriff's Office time to serve the respondent with Citation and Notice of Setting. However, if the respondent has not been served before the initial hearing, the case will be reset for an additional two (2) weeks.
The Sheriff's Office will hand-deliver the paperwork to the respondent. The documents consists of an Application for a Protective Order with a sworn affidavit signed by the applicant detailing the recent acts of violence, and a Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order.
If the respondent has been served, the court will hear the case. If the respondent has not served, the judge cannot hear the case. Assistant District Attorney, BEATRIZ Q. GONZALEZ will go with the applicant to court, present the case to the judge and to talk to the respondent or the respondent’s attorney.
If the respondent agrees to the conditions of the protective order, an Agreed Protective Order will be issued. If the respondent does not appear in court after being served, the applicant automatically gets a protective order by default. If the respondent denies the charges, a hearing will be held in front of a Judge who will decide if the applicant should get the protective order. Once granted, the protective order will be in effect for two (2) years
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE PROCTIVE ORDER IS VIOLATED?
Call the police immediately!! Remember, protective orders do not offer complete protection. No piece of paper can protect you from all instances of violence.
If a person violates the order and law enforcement is notified, officials will act to arrest the person and seek to have charges filed. If the violation is in the presence of law enforcement, he or she must be arrested immediately.
WHAT ARE OTHER OPTIONS AVAILABLE?
A Magistrate’s Order for Emergency protection may be issued when a defendant appears before a magistrate after arrest for an offense involving family violence or a sexual assault. The order may be issued on the magistrates own motion or at the request of the victim, the victim’s guardian, a peace office or the attorney representing the State.
A Magistrates Order for Emergency Protection prohibits the alleged offender from the same acts as stated above.
The victim does not have to be present in court when the order is issued.
Once granted, the Magistrates Order for Emergency Protection will be in effect for up to sixty-one (61) days.
Remember, if someone has physically assaulted or threatened you, contact the police department or sheriff’s office to press charges. Even if you are ineligible for a protective order, you may be able to have the person arrested for assault, criminal trespass or stalking.