Does a Protective Order Require Me to Leave a Public Place?
Most family violence protective orders issued in Travis County have terms that require the respondent to keep away from the applicant’s residence and workplace, but not away from them personally.
It is important to always read the actual words on the protective order rather than relying on another person’s oral summary. Meeting in another place is often allowed, as long as it is not prohibited by a condition of bond. That said, it may not be a good idea, especially without witnesses. Just because you technically can do something doesn’t mean you should.
200 Yard Stay-Away Order as a Condition of Bond
People arrested for domestic assault in Travis County often have a 200 Yard Stay-Away Order as a condition of their jail-release bond. If you were released with this bond condition, and the protected person comes to the same public place where you are, then you will be violating the order if you do not leave, even if you were there first.
Two hundred yards is the length of two football fields. In most public places, it would be impossible to maintain that distance while remaining on the premises. Perhaps you could manage that distance if the place was big enough, like maybe a shopping mall or Zilker Park.
What if I have Permission?
The person protected by the court order or bond condition does not have authority to grant any exceptions. The only legal permission requires the judge to modify the terms of the Protective Order or the conditions of bond.
People who are caught violating the terms of a jail release bond may be charged with the criminal offense of Violation of a Protective Order. It is often easier for the state to win a conviction for a violation of bond or protective order than it is to win a conviction for the Assault or related case that led to the keep-away order in the first place.
Judges in Travis County frequently require the installation of a leg-mounted GPS tracking device before a person arrested for violating a keep-away order may be released from custody.