A protective order is a civil court order issued by a court with civil jurisdiction to prevent continuing acts of family violence. A protective order can order the abuser to:

  • Stay a specified distance, such as 200 yards, away from the addresses listed in the order, generally your home and work addresses
  • Not commit family violence against you
  • Not threaten or harass you or threaten you through someone
  • Not possess any weapons unless that person is a peace officer
  • Not remove or harm pets or companion animals.

Generally a protective order is valid for up to two years and is enforceable by the police and other law enforcement.

How to get help with a Protective Order

The Protective Order Unit of the Fannin County Criminal District Attorney’s Office  represents victims of family violence who seek protective orders. The Unit is located on the third floor of the Fannin County Courthouse at 101 East Sam Rayburn Drive #301 in downtown Bonham, Texas.

Anyone seeking assistance may call the Protective Order Unit at (903) 583-7448 between 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday, or come to the office during intake hours which are 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday- Friday.

You or the abuser must live in Fannin County, and you must provide a daytime address where the constable can serve the abuser with notice of the hearing date.

The Protective Order Unit cannot represent anyone who has any kind of criminal charge (DWI or hot checks, for example) pending in Fannin County. If you have a divorce or any kind of suit affecting the parent child relationship (child support, visitation, custody, paternity) pending in Fannin County, you will need to talk to your attorney about filing your protective order as part of that lawsuit.

Before the Criminal District Attorney’s Office can represent you in a protective order application, you must complete a questionnaire and supply us with information about your situation.

Protective Order FAQ

Q. Do I have to be married to the person I want an order against?

A. No. You meet the relationship requirement if you and the abuser meet one of the following relationships:
1. Former spouses
2. Parents (married or not) of the same child
3. Had a dating relationship
4. Blood relatives
5. Relatives by marriage
6. Used to live in the same house, related or not
7. Your current or former significant other is the abuser’s current or former significant other
8. Foster parents and foster children

Q. Are there different types of protective orders

A. Yes, there are 3 main types of Protective Orders:

TypeHow long does it last?Who issues the Protective Order?How is it enforced ?
Family Violence Protective Order2 yearsA District or County Court JudgeArrest & potential criminal when violatedCivil contempt law suit
Temporary Ex-Party Protective OrderUp to 14 daysA District or County Court Judge. A Temporary Ex-Party Protective Order may be granted when an application for a protective order is filed, and the court believe you are in dangerCivil contempt law suit. May include a “kick-out” order that orders that abuser to vacate the home but only if the violence occurred within the last 30 days and the applicant and abuser lived together in the last 30 days. Not enforceable by arrest
Emergency Protective OrderUp to 90 daysMunicipal or Justice Court or after the abuser is arrestedArrest when violated

Q. Do I have to go to court to get a protective order?

A. Yes. The person you want an order against must be served – receive personal notification of your application for a protective order – and be given the opportunity to show up for court on the hearing day and object to the order.

Q. Can I get a protective order because of mental abuse?

A. No. You must show that family violence — physical abuse (pushing, shoving, slapping, hitting, kicking, choking, or any other act intended to cause physical harm) or the threat of imminent physical abuse (the person is able and likely to follow through) — has occurred and is likely to occur in the future. Mental abuse and emotional abuse are not part of the definition of family violence in the Texas Family Code.

Q. How much will this cost me?

A. Our office does not charge any attorney’s fees to represent you. By law, the district
clerk cannot charge a protective order applicant any filing fees, and the constable cannot charge the applicant for service of the papers.

Q. How long does it take to get a protective order?

A. Usually it takes at least two weeks to get a protective order that the police can enforce.

Q. What can a protective order do?

A. A protective order can order:

  1. The abuser to stay a specified distance, such as 200 yards, away from the addresses listed in the order, generally your home and work addresses
  2. The abuser not to commit family violence against you
  3. The abuser not to threaten you or harass you or threaten you through someone else
  4. The abuser not to possess any weapons.
  5. The abuser not to remove or harm pets or companion animals

Q. How long does a protective order last?

A. A protective order can be in effect for up to two years. However, if the abuser is
incarcerated on the date of expiration, the protective order extends to one year after the
date the abuser is released from incarceration.

The Court has the authority to grant orders exceeding 2 years if the abuser caused you serious bodily injury or if you have 2 or more previous protective orders against the same abuser.

Q. What won’t a protective order do?

A. It will not order the abuser to stay away from you personally; it can only order the abuser to stay away from specific addresses. It will not change the terms of any court ordered visitation or custody. It will not guarantee that the abuser will leave you alone.

Q. What’s the difference between a protective order and a restraining order?

A. Both types of orders can direct a person to stay away from your home and place of employment and to not be violent with you. However, only a protective order is criminally enforceable, meaning that the abuser can be arrested and charged with a criminal offense for violating the order. The police cannot arrest someone for violating a restraining order; you must go back to the judge who issued the restraining order to enforce it.

More Resources: