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New Law for 2023 Makes Changes to Texas Protective Order Registry

 Posted on January 11, 2023 in Criminal Defense

Tarrant County Criminal Defense LawyerEvery year, the Texas legislature and the federal government pass new laws, and in many cases, these laws go into effect on January 1 of the following year. Keeping abreast of changes to the law is not always easy, but in some cases, it can be important to understand how these changes may affect the lives of regular people. One law that recently went into effect involved the Protective Order Registry of Texas (PROTECT), which is a database of orders of protection that are issued in cases involving domestic violence and some other types of crimes. 

What Is the Protective Order Registry of Texas?

In 2019, the Texas legislature passed a bill known as "Monica's Law," which was named after a woman who was murdered by an ex-boyfriend. In this case, the ex-boyfriend had a history of domestic abuse, and he had previously had protective orders issued against him. However, law enforcement officials in the county where the murder occurred did not have access to information about the previous protective orders, and they did not respond appropriately to help prevent violence from occurring.

In response to this issue, Monica's Law created a registry of protective orders that have been issued in the state of Texas. This registry is maintained by the Texas Office of Court Administration, and there are a variety of different types of protective orders that must be entered into the system. These include temporary "ex parte" protective orders, final protective orders issued by a court, magistrate's orders for emergency protection, and even applications for protective orders. Law enforcement officials and others involved in the criminal justice system can access this registry, including police officers, prosecutors, and court clerks. The general public has limited access to the registry, and information about a particular order will only be available if the victim in the case has given authorization.

Changes to the Protective Order Registry for 2023

HB 3774, which was passed in 2021, made some adjustments to the protective order registry that took effect on January 1, 2023. In addition to protective orders that are issued in cases involving family violence, the registry will now include other types of orders as well. Applicable orders may include those issued in cases involving accusations of crimes such as sexual assault, indecent assault, indecency with a child, stalking, or human trafficking. 

The law also allowed for information about protective orders to be removed from the registry under certain circumstances. In cases where an order is vacated following a successful appeal or a bill of review from a district or county court, records must be removed from the registry within three business days. In cases where protective orders are vacated for other reasons, information about those orders will not be accessible to the public, although police officers and court officials will still be able to view this information.

Contact Our Fort Worth Protective Order Defense Lawyer

Protective orders that are issued in cases involving family violence or other types of crimes can affect a person's life in many ways. In addition to placing restrictions on a person that may prevent them from returning to their home or contacting their family members, information about these orders will remain in the Texas protective order registry for years to come. If you are facing accusations that may lead to the issuance of a protective order, you will need to take the correct steps to defend against criminal charges, avoid consequences that could affect your daily life, and protect your reputation. At The Dameron Law Firm, our Tarrant County family violence defense attorney can provide you with strong and effective representation to help you resolve these matters successfully. Contact our office at 817-222-0624 to set up a free consultation today.



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