The state of Texas takes the protection of individuals in cases involving family violence, child abuse, sexual assault, and similar serious offenses very seriously. When court orders or bond conditions are set in these cases, they serve a critical role in safeguarding the alleged victims and the community. As a result, violating these orders can result in serious consequences.
The State of Texas has very specific laws concerning the violation of certain court orders or conditions of bond in family violence, child abuse, sexual assault, and other related cases. If accused, you can speak with a skilled Austin criminal defense attorney at our firm about constructing a strategic defense that fits your unique situation.
Texas Law On Violations Of Court Orders
Texas Penal Code Section 25.07 addresses violations of court orders or bond conditions in specific types of cases, including child abuse or neglect, family violence, stalking, sexual abuse or assault, indecent assault, or trafficking. Violations of court orders in such cases include the following actions:
- Committing family violence or acts related to specific offenses such as sexual assault, trafficking, etc.
- Any form of communication with a protected individual that is threatening, harassing, or prohibited by the court order.
- Going near specific locations like the residence, place of employment, or school of a protected individual.
- Possessing a firearm.
- Harming or interfering with the care of a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal owned by the protected individual.
- Tampering with a global positioning monitoring system.
Legal Consequences of Violating a Court Order
Violating these kinds of court orders is an infraction that is likely to be classified as a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $4,000 fine. However, under certain circumstances, such as repeat offenses or specific prior convictions, the offense can escalate to a state jail felony (punishable by up to 2 years in jail and a $10,000 fine) or even a third-degree felony (punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine). Convictions under similar laws in other states can be considered equivalent for the purpose of determining repeat offenses.
Texas state law also details how a serious offense involving the repeated or continued violation of specific court orders or bond conditions in cases related to child abuse or neglect, family violence, sexual abuse or assault, stalking, indecent assault, or trafficking will be handled.
The law states that a person commits an offense if, within a 12-month period, they engage in conduct that constitutes an offense on two or more occasions. While a one-time lapse may be addressed with some degree of leniency, a series of actions over a year is classified as a felony of the third degree.
Some Potential Defenses
Lack Of Knowledge
Someone who has been accused of violating a court order in a family violence case must have knowingly or intentionally violated the order. If it can be shown that the individual was not aware of the specifics of the court order or the bond conditions, this could serve as a defense. Additionally, if the court order was not properly issued, or if it was vague or ambiguous in its terms, this could be grounds for a defense.
If the actions that constituted the alleged violation were unintentional or accidental, this could be a viable defense. For example, inadvertently being in a prohibited area without the intent to violate the order could be an excusable defense.
Lack Of Evidence
The prosecution must prove the violation beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is insufficient evidence to meet this standard, the defense can argue for the dismissal of the charges.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Violation Of A Court Order In A Family Violence Case?
A violation of this aspect of Texas state law occurs when someone knowingly or intentionally disobeys specific conditions of a bond or court order related to family violence, sexual assault, stalking, or similar offenses. This includes actions like communicating with a protected individual in a prohibited manner, going near their residence or workplace, possessing firearms, or tampering with monitoring systems.
Are There Different Levels Of Charges Under The Law?
Yes, the severity of the charge can vary. Generally, this kind of violation is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. However, it can escalate to a felony in cases of repeat offenses or if the violation involved an assault or stalking.
Can An Order From Another State Be Enforced In Texas?
Texas law recognizes orders issued by other jurisdictions, under certain circumstances. Therefore, it’s important to avoid assuming that you can’t be held responsible for a violation of an order issued by another state simply because you’re located in Texas now.
Is It Possible To Defend Against Charges Of Violating A Court Order?
Yes, there are various defense strategies that can be employed, such as lack of knowledge, unintentional violation, invalidity of the order, or insufficient evidence. The effectiveness of each defense depends on the specifics of an individual’s case.
What Should I Do If I'm Charged With Wrongdoing?
Contacting a skilled criminal defense attorney is crucial. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can help you understand the charges, the potential consequences, and the legal options available to you. A defense attorney can also represent your interests in court and work to achieve a favorable outcome on your behalf.
Cofer & Connelly, PLLC Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you have been accused of violating a court order related to family violence under Texas law, it's crucial to seek representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. The experienced criminal defense lawyers at Cofer & Connelly, PLLC are equipped to handle cases involving violations of court orders in family violence, child abuse, sexual assault, and related matters.
Contact Cofer & Connelly, PLLC at (512) 991-0576 or online for a consultation regarding your case. Our team is ready to support and help you through every step of the legal process.
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