Under Virginia law, a protective order is an order that bars an individual from being in proximity to another individual or having any form of communication with them. Protective orders, also known as restraining orders, can be issued when any act of violence, force, or threat either results in injury or places the individual in fear of bodily injury, sexual assault, or death.
Acts in Virginia that can lead to a protective order include:
- Domestic abuse
- Physical assault
- Sexual assault
In Virginia, there are emergency protective orders (EPO), the preliminary protective orders (PPO), and the permanent protective orders (PO).
Emergency Protective Order
Emergency protective orders are usually issued by magistrates when a person is charged with domestic assault. However, a judge can also issue an emergency protective order. An EPO is issued “ex parte,” that is, without a hearing where both sides appear. If a magistrate or judge finds probable cause, based on testimony from the allegedly abused person or a police officer, to believe that a person has committed abuse against a family member and that there is a danger of more abuse he or she can issue an emergency protective order to prevent contact between the alleged abuser and the alleged victim for 72 hours. The subject of the protective order will be served with the emergency order. These orders expire after 72 hours if no further action is taken by the alleged victim.
Many times what may happen when a defendant gets locked up for domestic assault and handed an emergency protective order, he or she may attempt to call their significant other from the jail. Jail calls are logged and recorded, and the domestic assault detective will check the records to see if a call like this occurred, and if so, bring additional charges against the defendant for violating the emergency protective order (sometimes bringing additional charges for each call!). These charges may carry mandatory jail time and/or prevent a defendant from getting out of jail on bond. Call an attorney at WhitestoneYoung first if you are locked up for a domestic assault.
Preliminary Protective Order
If an alleged victim petitions the court to grant a “permanent” protective order, the court will grant a preliminary protective order (PPO) that is valid for no more than 15 days. The court must have a hearing to determine if a permanent order will be entered. Many times spouses will seek a protective order in order to gain an advantage in a potential divorce. The court will almost always grant a preliminary protective order, and the ball gets rolling against the respondent.
Permanent Protective Order
The difference between the permanent protective and the emergency and preliminary protective orders is the length of time. However, a PO is not actually permanent as it may only extend for up to two years. However, there is a possibility of a two-year extension after a court hearing. There is no limit on the number of extensions. The court can order many types of “relief” with a protective order, including child support, exclusive possession of property, mortgage payments, utility bill payments, and attorney’s fees to name a few. These can have a major impact on divorce terms down the road.
What To Do If You Have a Protective Order
If a preliminary protective order has been entered against you, know that it can affect much more than just your ability to be near a family member. A protective order can prohibit you from owning a gun, and it may affect your ability to gain employment.
If you want to contest the protective order, don’t ignore it. While it may be frustrating, make sure you follow every mandate in the order. While you can challenge an order, it will be more difficult to be successful in the challenge if you don’t abide by the order. Try to collect as much evidence as you can to prepare for your defense. This may include pictures, emails, text messages, and witness contact information.
Don’t try to do this on your own. You need the experienced criminal defense lawyers of Whitestone Young, PC to defend against a protective order violation. If you are accused of violating the order, you could face mandatory jail time or fines and more harsh restrictions. Don’t try to defend yourself.
Contact an Experienced Virginia Protective Order Lawyer
At Whitestone Young, PC, our attorneys are ready to stand up for you and help you keep your family intact. We are ready to answer all your questions if a protective order has been filed against you.
If you have been charged with violating a protective order, you could be facing severe criminal penalties, and our team will be ready to discuss your rights.
Contact the Fairfax criminal defense attorneys at Whitestone Young, PC today to learn more about how we can help. Call now at 703-912-0487 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.