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What is an MOEP?

Imagine the following scenario: you are sitting alone after having been assaulted by your spouse, who was arrested a result. What should you do know? If that describes the situation you currently find yourself in, then that question deserves serious contemplation. Whether this is the first time your spouse has been abusive to you, or this is simple the latest incident in a repeated pattern of domestic violence in Dallas, you need to consider how you can protect yourself and those you love. As difficult and as daunting as it may sound, seeking a protective order is likely your best option. 

Fortunately, Texas law allows you to seek one right now (while your spouse is still in custody). A Magistrate's Order for Emergency Protection can be requested at your spouse's initial criminal hearing. The magistrate hearing the case can immediately issue the order, which provides the same protections as any other type of protective order, including barring your ex-spouse from approaching you at home or at work, going near your children's schools or possessing a firearm. An MOEP will remain in effect for up to 61 days (that period can be extended to 91 of the domestic assault your spouse was arrested for involved a weapon). 

Per the Texas Council on Family Violence, aside from yourself, an MOEP can be requested by any of the following parties: 

  • Your guardian
  • A law enforcement officer
  • The prosecuting attorney 

Thus, even if you may feel hesitant to request such an order, any of the aforementioned parties can without needing your consent. The issue may be taken out of your hands altogether if the incident in question including the exhibition of a deadly weapon or resulted in your suffering life-threatening injuries. In the case, the magistrate must issue an MOEP. 

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