A court order is a binding order outlining the things a person can or cannot do. For instance, in a stalking order a person is prohibited from being in the same area as the individual they are accused of stalking. A person is guilty of violating a court order when they do something or fail to do something they are supposed to do that is outlined in the order. In Texas, there is a law against violating certain court orders or conditions in a sexual assault, family violence, sexual abuse, trafficking, or stalking case.
When Will a Person Be Charged with Violating a Court Order in These Kinds of Cases?
A person can be charged with violating a court order in the aforementioned types of cases in Texas when they intentionally or knowingly:
- Commit family violence
- Directly communicate with the victim or their family to threaten or harass
- Go near the prohibited place described in the court order, such as the victim’s home, school, place of employment, or child care facility
- Possess a firearm
- Threaten, interfere, harm, or take custody of the victim’s companion animal, pet, or assistance animal
- Attempt to or actually remove or tamper with a global positioning monitoring system
What Is the Punishment for a First Offense of Violating a Court Order?
A first offense for violating a court order under this law is a Class A misdemeanor. The punishment for a Class A misdemeanor is:
- About a year in county jail
- $4,000 fine
- Time in county jail and a fine
Can Violating a Court Order Be a Felony in Texas?
Violating a court order under this law becomes a felony when the person has been convicted of two or more times or committed an assault or stalked the victim. The repeat violations increase the offense to a third degree felony punishable by:
- Two to 10 years in state prison
- $10,000 fine
- Both a fine and state prison time
Should I Talk to a Lawyer?
Violating a court order is a serious offense, especially if it is violated more than once. Contact a Texas lawyer regarding your criminal charge to figure out how you can defend yourself against it.