WHAT IS A PROTECTIVE ORDER?
It is normally a temporary order obtained ex-parte, meaning without the presence of the other party, until a hearing is held in front of a judge so that a permanent one can be ordered. The maximum time frame for protective orders is two years, which may be renewed at the end of a two-year period. It can be for one person or also extend to other household members. The protective order can grant not only limitations for contact between the parties, but also child or spousal support, exclusive use of a home, restoration of utilities, use of a motor vehicle, custody of the children, requirements for counseling, etc.
WHAT IS NEEDED TO OBTAIN A PROTECTIVE ORDER?
Virginia Code Section 19.2-152.9 states ” Immediate and present danger of any act of violence, force, or threat or evidence sufficient to establish probable cause that an act of violence, force, or threat has recently occurred shall constitute good cause.” Testimony from the victim or witnesses, photos, and written communications are all used to support the issuance of a protective order during a hearing.
WHAT IF I HAVE BEEN SERVED A PROTECTIVE ORDER?
Contact us immediately to ensure that you have the best chances of fighting it in court. Protective orders can be used as an attempt to gain an advantage in divorce cases, including child custody and visitation.
CAN A PROTECTIVE ORDER BE APPEALED?
A protective order can be appealed to the applicable Circuit Court. This must be done almost immediately after the issuance of the protective order.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU VIOLATE A PROTECTIVE ORDER?
A person can be held in civil contempt for violating a civil protective order. Even worse, they can be charged criminally. A person who violates a protective order in Virginia may be found guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries up to 12 months in jail, up to a $2,500-fine. If within five years of the first conviction a person violates the order again, there is a mandatory minimum of 60 days in jail. If there is a third violation, the consequences are more severe.
As a result, it is absolutely necessary to retain counsel. Our firm with seasoned attorneys can assist you with either obtaining a protective order or defending against it. If you need a protective order in place, our attorneys can ensure that your need for a protective order is presented in the strongest way possible to safeguard you and your family.
If you want to speak with one of our attorneys to discuss your case, reach out to us at any of our offices in Manassas, Prince William County, Fairfax, Fairfax County, or Stafford/Fredericksburg, locations to schedule.