A party can check a restraining order in Texas by looking at online court documents for the civil case in the court where the restraining order was filed. She can also call, email or visit the court in which the civil case was heard. A party represented by an attorney can request that the attorney provide a copy of the restraining order. If a party was the person against whom the restraining order was issued, she should have court papers containing the restraining order.
What Is a Restraining Order?
In Texas, the term restraining order is a civil court order that tells a person not to engage in a certain activity. For example, a restraining order would prevent a divorcing spouse from selling a major asset. A restraining order is not an order used to protect a victim in a domestic violence case.
In Texas, the term for that type of order is protective order, or PO. Certain information in protective orders, like the workplace of the person protected by the order, may not be available online in public records. This is because the person protected by the order made a request for confidentiality, in accordance with Texas law.
Finding Restraining Orders in the Record
When the party locates online the Register of Actions for the civil case, the restraining order can be found in a section called Events & Orders of the Court. A restraining order will be identified by type, such as Temporary Restraining Order. It will be in blue text. This is an indication that there are images of documents relating to the order. When the party clicks on the term containing the words restraining order, he will bring up images of documents related to the restraining order.
Read More: How to Fight a Restraining Order
More About Protective Orders
When the court in Texas issues a protective order, it has made a finding that family violence has occurred and is likely to occur in the future. A court can issue a protective order for up to two years. The person petitioning for the protective order has the burden of proof. The standard for the burden of proof is preponderance of the evidence in favor of the petitioner.
Types of Restraining Orders
There are three types of restraining orders, a temporary restraining order, or TRO; a temporary injunction; and a permanent injunction.
A TRO orders a party not to do a certain thing, such as spend money in a joint bank account. A TRO preserves property for parties already in a lawsuit. It lasts up to 14 days. A TRO is meant to provide emergency relief until there is a hearing on the merits of a temporary injunction.
A temporary injunction orders a party not to do a certain thing until there has been a full trial. It is meant to provide long-term relief until the resolution of the case. It lasts until a final order of the court.
A permanent injunction is an injunction that the civil court issues after a trial. It is meant to provide relief after the case has been resolved. It lasts until a final order of the court.
Penalties for a Restraining Order
When a party violates a restraining order, the opposing party in the lawsuit may bring the violation to the court’s attention. The court has the power to fine and incarcerate the party. The court usually starts out by fining the party. It is rare for a court to incarcerate a party. The court can also fine and incarcerate a party who violates a protective order. The court is much more likely to incarcerate a party who violates a protective order.
- Tarrant County, Texas: Protective Orders
- Travis County, Texas: Protective Order
- Travis County Library: Protective Order? Restraining Order? Peace Bond?
- Travis County, Texas: Online Case Information
- reSearchTX: Search All 254 Texas Counties for Case Information and Documents
- Texas Judicial Branch: Open Records Policy
- Law.com: Texas launches public portal to make most civil court records available online
- Texas Family Code, Title 4: Protective Orders and Domestic Violence
- In Texas, The Public Information Act does not apply to the courts or the Office of Court Administration.
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.