What is a protective order?
A protective order is a civil court order that tells an individual not to commit any further acts of violence. The District Attorney's Office does not issue the protective order. The District Attorney's Office will prepare and file your application for a protective order and represent you in court. Only a District Court judge can grant a protective order. Most protective orders are in place for two (2) years. There are certain circumstances when a protective order can be issued for a victim's lifetime.
How long will it take to get a protective order?
A protective order takes at least two weeks to obtain and requires at least one appointment in our office and at least one court appearance.
What do I have to show?
Before a judge will grant a protective order, you must show that family violence or dating violence has occurred and that family violence or dating violence is likely to occur in the future. Family violence or dating violence is defined as an act intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or a threat that places you in reasonable fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault. When you go to court, you must be able to show that the person you want the order against has recently committed more than one act of physical violence against you or made threats to physically harm you.
You must also show that you and the person you want the order against meet one of the following relationships: 1) related by blood; 2) related by marriage; 3) have been married; 4) have lived together; 5) have had a child together; 6) have had a dating relationship; 7) have or had a dating relationship or marriage with the same individual; 8) foster parent or foster child.
You must provide an address where the person can be found during the day because that person will need to have personal notification of your application for a protective order.
If you are seeking protection for your children, you will need to provide their dates of birth and school or daycare information.
What if I am going through a divorce?
If you are married to the person and you are currently going through a divorce, you should talk to your divorce attorney about getting a protective order as part of your divorce. The Midland County District Attorney's Office does not typically represent individuals in protective order proceedings if they are represented by an attorney in a divorce proceeding.
The Midland County District Attorney's Office does not get involved with custody, visitation, child support, or property matters. If those issues are important to you, you may want to consult with a private attorney.
What happens when I go to court?
Once the application has been filed and the person you are complaining against has been served, the court will hold a hearing. You will be required to testify during the hearing. An attorney with the Midland County District Attorney's will represent you in court and prepare you for the hearing. After hearing the testimony and examining all of the evidence, the court will then make a ruling.
What happens once the protective order is granted?
After the protective order is granted, the person you are complaining against will be ordered NOT to: commit any further acts of violence against you, communicate directly with you in a threatening or harassing manner, go within a specified distance of your home or place of employment, possess a firearm, or remove or harm pets or companion animals.
The local police department or sheriff's office will be sent a copy of the order. If the person complained against commits any of the prohibited acts, criminal charges can be filed if there is sufficient proof of a violation. The maximum punishment that a violator can, but not necessarily, receive is one (1) year in jail and/or a $4,000 fine or a combination of the two.
I am ready to begin the process, what is the first step?
Download the PROTECTIVE ORDER INTAKE FORM.docx. Complete the form and bring it to the Midland County District Attorney's Office located at 500 N. Loraine St., Ste. 200, Midland, Texas 79701.
If you have questions while filling out the form, please call us at 432-688-4410.