What does a Protective Order do?
If granted by a District Court Judge, a Protective Order:
- Orders the person you filed against not to commit any violence against you.
- Orders the person you filed against not to come within a certain distance of where you live, work, and attend school.
- Orders the person you filed against not to communicate with you in any manner, whether by phone, mail, or any electronic/online communication.
- Orders the person you filed against to refrain from any harassing, threatening, annoying, alarming, abusing, tormenting or embarrassing behavior towards you.
- Orders that the person you filed against not commit any of the above acts towards you or your household members.
Who can you file a Protective Order against?
- Someone related to you by blood.
- Someone you currently live with or have lived with in the past.
- Someone you have a child with.
- Someone you are currently married to or have divorced.
- Someone you currently have or have had a dating relationship with.
- Someone you have a third-party relationship with because of your prior dating relationship or marriage to someone currently dating or married to that person.
- Someone who has been stalking you.
- Someone who has sexually assaulted you.
- Someone who has trafficked you.
What are the legal requirements to apply for a Protective Order?
- If you are seeking a family violence Protective Order, the law requires that you prove family violence has occurred and family violence is likely to occur in the future.
- If you are seeking a stalking Protective Order, the law requires that you prove that there are reasonable grounds that you are the victim of stalking.
- If you are seeking a sexual assault Protective Order, the law requires that you prove that there are reasonable grounds that you are the victim of sexual assault.
- If you are seeking a trafficking Protective Order, the law requires that you prove that there are reasonable grounds that you are the victim of trafficking.
What documents and information do you need to apply for a Protective Order?
The documents each individual will have may vary, but this is a list of evidence commonly available for Protective Order applications, which should be brought with you when you apply for a Protective Order:
- A police report or a police report case number.
- If you have not made a police report, you can obtain guidance on how to do so at the Family Justice Center.
- Photo(s) of your injuries.
- Copies of electronic communications between you and the person you are filing against (e-mails, social media chats).
- Letter(s) received from the person you are filing against.
- Video and audio recording(s) you have from the person you are filing against.
- A current address for the person you are filing against.
- Your valid state identification document.
How do you apply for a Protective Order through the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office?
- A Protective Order request can be submitted at the Family Justice Center located at:
126 E. Nueva, 2nd Floor
San Antonio, TX 78204
- A Protective Order is not automatic. There is a process of review before a Protective Order application can be filed with the District Court. This review includes the following:
- You will fill out intake forms giving us information about yourself and the person you are filing a Protective Order against. If you cannot fill out the intake forms, our staff can assist you.
- A Victim Advocate will interview you to gather all of the facts and information regarding your family violence and/or sexual assault, stalking, or trafficking by preparing an affidavit you will swear to and sign.
- The Victim Advocate will submit your affidavit and supporting documents, including but not limited to, police report(s); photo(s); electronic communication(s), recording(s) to our Prosecutors, who will determine whether or not the legal requirements for a Protective Order have been met.
- Once a decision has been made by a Prosecutor, you will be informed whether a Protective Order will be filed with the District Court.
- During your intake, you can also be referred to other agencies for appropriate services.
Online Protective Order applications will be available from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. Closed on County Holidays.
Please note the application can take up to 1 hour to complete. If the application is not submitted before the 5 pm deadline, the system will not allow you to proceed.
What Happens after a Protective Order Application is Filed with the District Court?
- Once a decision has been made that you meet the legal requirements to apply for a Protective Order, an Application for a Temporary Ex-Parte Protective Order and Protective Order are filed with the District Court.
- A District Court Judge is presented with your affidavit and as long as there is clear and present danger of family violence, sexual assault, stalking, or trafficking, a Temporary Ex-Parte Protective Order will be issued.
- A Protective Order Hearing will be scheduled within (20) days of the issuance of the Temporary Ex-Parte Protective Order.
- The person you filed a Protective Order against must be served in person with the Application for Protective Order, your sworn affidavit, and the Temporary Ex-Parte Protective Order.
- Once the person you filed against has been served, you will need to appear for court.
- You will be told where to report and the time to report.
- If the person you filed against is not served in person before your court date, a re-set will be obtained, including an extension of the Temporary Ex-Parte Order, and service will be re-attempted.
- If service is not obtained, the case cannot legally proceed. If this occurs in your case, you will be contacted by your Victim Advocate about next steps.
- If the person you filed against appears in court and agrees to the protective order, an Agreed Protective Order will be presented to the District Court Judge for approval.
- If the person you filed against fails to appear in court, a Default Protective Order will be presented to the District Court Judge for approval.
- If the person you filed against appears in court and does not agree to the protective order, a hearing will be required where you and any witnesses for both parties will testify. The District Court Judge will make the decision whether to issue a Court Ordered Protective Order.
- Any violations of a Protective Order must be reported to law enforcement to allow criminal charges to be filed.