Courts understand that when people are arrested for family violence, revenge could be on the mind of the person who was put in jail. When you are initially brought in front of the Judge in jail, the Judge does not know if you are guilty of the conduct you were arrested for or if the allegations are even valid. Their immediate concern is what you are going to do once released from jail.
In an attempt to protect the accuser and to try and prevent any further violence from occurring, the Judge will most likely grant an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) against you that you must comply with upon being released from jail. The EPO can be very damaging to you and your reputation. This will be a very trying time in your life and you need a true professional fighting for you. Call us at 214-741-4000 for immediate help.
What is an Emergency Protective Order?
An Emergency Protective Order (EPO) is a court order that prohibits a person, for a short period of time (anywhere from 31-91 days), from doing certain things. The most damaging restriction often results in the person being kicked out of their own home. If an EPO is granted against you, you can expect the order to prevent you from:
- Going within a minimum distance (usually 100-500 yards) of the alleged victim’s or members of the alleged victim’s family’s:
- Residence (even your own home).
- Place of employment.
- Child care facility and/or school and residence if different than above.
- Communicating directly with the alleged victim or with a member of the alleged victim’s family in a threatening or harassing manner, or communicating with them at all.
- Communicating a threat through any other person to the alleged victim or member of the alleged victim’s family or household.
- Committing further family violence.
- Stalking the alleged victim.
As unfair as the restrictions seem, you will have zero input into what happens. The Emergency Protective Order does not require a hearing. You will not be able to be heard or have any say in the matter. The alleged victim does not even have to request it. An EPO can be requested by:
- The alleged victim.
- The guardian of the alleged victim.
- An attorney representing the State.
- A police officer.
- The Judge on their own motion in certain circumstances.
Can The Emergency Protective Order Be Removed?
Yes. However, reconciliatory actions or agreements made by persons affected by an order do not affect the validity of the order or the duty of a police officer to enforce it. This means if the alleged victim tells you it is ok to come home, don’t! They do not have the authority to change the order on their own. If you call the alleged victim and get into a subsequent argument, this too could violate the order.
The EPO can be removed and/or modified. This, in all likelihood, will take the cooperation of the alleged victim and can be tricky at times, for we have to make sure that any communication with them will not be taken the wrong way and violate the EPO. If the alleged victim is still mad or angry, it would be best to give them a cooling off period before we try to contact them. If the alleged victim is cooperative, I will take the following steps on your behalf:
- I will meet with the alleged victim.
- Obtain an affidavit of non-prosecution (not necessary in all cases).
- Make sure the alleged victim is prepared to testify.
Regardless of if the victim is cooperative or not, I will then:
- Contact the correct prosecutor.
- File a motion to remove or modify the EPO.
- Have a hearing.
- The Judge is going to want to hear from the alleged victim and obtain sworn testimony that they are not being threatened or coerced into requesting the removal or modification.
Penalties for Violating an Emergency Protective Order
- Up to 365 days in jail.
- Up to a $4,000 fine.
- Up to two years of probation.
- 180 days-2 years in a State Jail.
- Up to a $10,000 fine.
- 2-5 years of probation.
Any violation where it is show that the person has two prior convictions of family violence, stalking, assault, and certain sex offenses:
- 2-10 years in prison.
- Up to a $10,000 fine.
- Up to 10 years of probation.
You Need a Professional Defense
The reality of being kicked out of your house and instantly having to find a new place to live is unsettling. Not being able to see or communicate with your kids or attend their sporting events can be taxing on you. Do not take things into your own hands or violate the EPO. It is not a defense to violating the EPO that the family violence charge was made up. We have over 25 years of experience in criminal law. Let us professionally start to put your life back together. Call 214-741-4000 for the help that you need.