Universal City, TX asked in Criminal Law, Domestic Violence and Internet Law for Texas

Q: Our business received a threat posted online from a customer. Is a restraining order, or other legal action, advisable?

Without getting into specifics, a customer posted the following comment as feedback to a purchase he made from our business, "U BE THE 1ST GUY I SHOOT". There were also emails sent with profanity, as well as a comment posted on our Facebook page. The customer is located in a different state from which we do business. Based on the comment indicating a threat of violence, should our business consider some kind of legal action, such as a restraining order?

1 Lawyer Answer
Kiele Linroth Pace
Kiele Linroth Pace
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Austin, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: A restraining order is issued in the context of a CIVIL case but it expires when the case ends. That said, sending a death threat and multiple harassing electronic messages can be the basis for a criminal Stalking case... and the victim of a Stalking can apply for a Protective Order... and that is probably closer to what you imagine a restraining order to be anyway. The customer might challenge the court's jurisdiction over him if the only contact he had with Texas was an online purchase... but most likely would no-show the hearing and you would be awarded the order by default.

I can't say that I RECOMMEND this approach, only that it is legally possible. It might even be possible to convince the government attorneys who work in the office of the District Attorney in your county to do the legal work of applying for the protective order... thus saving you thousands over the cost to hire a private attorney. Again, I can't say that I recommend that either.

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