To be accused of or charged with a crime can create not only an emotional but also a physical barrier with one’s loved ones. While some wish to stay with their family in their homes for comfort and reassurance, many are unsure whether a domestic violence charge affects their ability to return home after an arrest.
Not with an issued emergency protective order
In Texas, the court usually issues an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) once law enforcement officers arrest a person suspected of domestic assault. The order has the following consequences:
- Evict the accused from their home for 60 days or more
- Restrict the accused’s ability to go near the residence, workplace or school of anyone protected by the order
- Prohibit the accused from possessing any firearms or weapons
- Prohibit threatening contact towards anyone protected by the order
Does this mean the accused can no longer contact family? Not necessarily. Depending on the charges and details of the case, the court may allow non-threatening contact unless it issues a “no contact” order.
What happens if I violate the order?
Violation of an emergency protection order is a separate criminal offense. Violations carry fines of up to $4,000 or imprisonment of up to one year or both. It is essential to follow all the requirements of an emergency protection order even in case of a wrongful accusation of domestic violence.
Is the order absolute?
No. The court has the power to modify or dismiss the emergency protective order. However, this will still depend on the gravity and available information on the case.
While being apart from your family is difficult, it is important that you abide by the court’s order to avoid complications. It is best to gather available information to protect you and your rights after the arrest.