The Law Office of Daniel J. Palmer

The Complex World of Texas Protective Orders

Part 2- Criminal Emergency Protective Orders

Not too long ago, when I was an Assistant District Attorney here in Bexar County, I co-directed a seminar for members of the San Antonio Bar Association regarding complexities of the Protective Order system in San Antonio and the surrounding areas. At the time, I was the lead 1st chair attorney for the Protective Order Division of the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office. Over the next few blog posts, I want to introduce some current issues in the field of Protective Orders that as a citizen, you should be aware of.

I previously introduced two different types of protective orders, as well as some of the more common types of PO’s that you see, including a Criminal Emergency Protective Order.

Criminal Emergency Protective Orders occur when a Judge believes that the individual who accused you of a crime is in danger of being threatened or injured by you during the pendency of your charges. These EPO’s, as they are called, are very difficult to get lifted and are concerning for several reasons.

1.      You could be kicked out of your house immediately after an EPO is signed by a judge.

EPO’s are not designed to put you on the streets, but unfortunately that is what often happens due to Judges issuing EPO’s in an abundance of caution for the alleged victim, without any evidence to prove that you may have committed the act in which you were arrested for. Not only that, EPO’s are typically issued before you have had access to an attorney, and before much evidence has been gathered in the case.

2.      EPO’s can keep you away from your children.

As stated before, if an EPO is filed against you and your house is listed  as a protected address on the EPO, and your children live in that house, then the EPO could effectively keep you from having access to your children, even if prior custody orders are in place. Many people have asked me if this will hold up even if the children were not party to the alleged incident. The answer to that can be complicated, but to be frank, yes that is an absolute possibility, as I have seen it happen to those accused of violent crimes often.

3.      Once issued, EPO’s are generally very difficult to get lifted without an attorney experienced in Domestic Violence crimes.

After your case gets sent to County or District court, the County/District Judge typically will not lift the EPO since they were not the issuing Judge. You must then find the original Magistrate Judge that issued the EPO and convince him/her to lift it, which can be tremendously more difficult than it sounds.

It is very important that you contact an attorney the moment you are arrested. It is possible to prevent an EPO from ever being issued. If an EPO is in fact issued, a qualified attorney may be able to help you to get that EPO lifted. Next post, I will discuss Civil Protective Orders and what they entail.


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