Not everyone qualifies for a protective order. There are particular requirements that must be met and steps that must be taken for the Protective Order Department to seek a protective order on your behalf.
- You or the abuser must be a resident of Aransas County, AND
- Physical violence has occurred in the past; AND
- Physical violence will more than likely occur in the future; AND
- Applicant is a victim of physical violence or stalking and the abuser is a member of applicant’s household or family (including dating relationships) or victim has been sexually assaulted by abuser; AND
- Criminal charges have been filed with law enforcement* ; AND
- You must be willing to attend a hearing before the court where the basis for your application will be presented to the judge, AND
- You must NOT currently be involved in a divorce or any kind of suit affecting the parent-child relationship with the abuser. If you are married and currently seeking a divorce, a protective order should be sought through your attorney.
* The County Attorney’s Office can consider applications where criminal charges have not been filed, but all criminal activity should be reported to Law Enforcement.
If your case meets these criteria contact our office to complete an application for a protective order. To get started with a protective order, you must complete and submit an application detailing your situation. Additionally, at the time of application submission, please provide the contact information of any witnesses that have personally observed the abuse, as well as supporting text messages, voicemails, photographs, police reports and medical records. If this additional information is not provided, it will slow down the speed at which your application is processed. Not all applications submitted will be approved.
If the above criteria are not fully met, then the victim may seek a RESTRAINING ORDER through his or her own private attorney.
The victim may also file a Protective Order Pro Se by downloading a protective order kit off of the Attorney General’s Website and following the directions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is domestic or dating violence?
Domestic Violence can be threats, harassment, verbal abuse, assaults and other physical violence between members of a family or household. For relief, contact local law enforcement and the County Attorney’s Office
Dating Violence can be threats, harassment, verbal abuse, assaults and other physical violence in a dating relationship even if you are no longer dating the person threatening you. For relief, contact local law enforcement and the County Attorney’s Office.
What is a threat?
The term “threat” does not have a legal definition. However, in the context of a protective order, a threat would be a statement showing an intention to inflict pain, injury or damage to someone or their property. Simple name calling by itself does not constitute a threat.
What is a protective order?
The law provides that in very particular situations, a family or household member may be removed from the home and denied contact with household members for the protection of others in the household. If the removed person returns to the home or contacts household members in violation of a protective order, he or she may be arrested by law enforcement and charged with Violation of Protective Order. There is no cost to the applicant for protective orders. Costs of court may be assessed against the Respondent. Protective orders typically last up to two years, but in certain cases (such as those involving sexual assault), the protective order can last for up to a lifetime.
What is a restraining order?
A restraining order varies from a protective order in that a violation will result in civil contempt of court proceedings instead of arrest. The County Attorney's Office does not provide restraining orders. Contact a trusted attorney or the Bar Association for a referral.
Does a protective order require a hearing?
If the application is accepted by the County Attorney’s Office, there is typically a temporary order granted without a hearing. This temporary order lasts for 14 days and is granted by the judge without a hearing. However, in order for a final protective order hearing to be granted, a hearing is required by law. The Respondent will be at this hearing. The Respondent can choose to represent himself or hire an attorney. At the hearing, the Court will hear testimony from the applicant and other witnesses. The applicant and other witnesses may be subject to cross-examination from the Respondent or the Respondent’s attorney. The Respondent may also testify.
Can I drop the protective order if I change my mind?
The Aransas County Attorney Office does not allow applicants to drop protective orders once they are filed. Nor do we provide any aid or legal services to aid the applicant in discontinuing prosecution of protective orders or getting them dismissed once they are granted. While our office greatly desires to help those in need, please only apply for a protective order if you intend to follow through with the process.