If you are involved in a family dispute and you learn that you have been accused of domestic violence, you may need to defend against a protective order. Anytime you are facing the possibility of a protective order in Virginia, it is extremely important to have a Fairfax domestic violence defense lawyer on your side. With an attorney’s help, you can defend against a protective order that could restrict you from certain activities, and that ultimately could have other effects on your life. If a spouse or partner is seeking a protective order, the following are five things you should know.
- Protective Order Can Be Issued in Situations Involving Domestic Violence
Protective orders, which are sometimes known as restraining orders, can be issued when there is a situation involving domestic violence. Generally speaking, domestic violence is known under Virginia law (Code of Va. § 18.2-57.2) as “assault and battery against a family or household member.”
- Protective Orders Can Be Issued If You Are Facing Allegations of Family Violence Against Someone Other Than a Spouse or Romantic Partner
Domestic violence, as we noted above, includes violence against a “family or household member,” and there are many different parties who may fit within this definition. Under the Code of Virginia definitions (Code of Va. § 16.1-228), a “family or household member” can be defined as any of the following:
- Spouse (regardless of whether they live together or are separated);
- Former spouse;
- Anyone with whom you have a child in common;
- Anyone with whom you have cohabitated in the previous 12 months; and/or
- Children of anyone with whom you have cohabitated in the last 12 months.
- Three Different Types of Protective Orders Exist in Virginia
As the Supreme Court of Virginia explains, there are three different types of protective orders that may be issued:
- Emergency Protective Order (which lasts for only three days typically after being issued, and can be difficult for a person to defend against given the limited scope of the order);
- Preliminary Protective Order (which usually lasts for a period of 15 days, or until there is a full hearing); and
- Protective Order (which a court can order to last for up to two years).
It is important to have a lawyer on your side at every step in the process, but it is particularly critical to have an experienced defense attorney representing you during a hearing for the Protective Order. The order can last for up to two years and can have substantial consequences.
- Protective Orders May Affect Your Employment
Once a protective order is entered against you, it is important to understand that it can affect more than your ability to be near a family member. A protective order in Virginia can prohibit you from owning or possessing a firearm, and it ultimately may affect your ability to gain certain types of employment. To be sure, a protective order can show up on certain background checks and can have far-reaching consequences.
- You May Need Assistance Defending Against a Protective Order Violation
If a protective order has already been issued, you may need assistance from a Virginia defense lawyer to defend against a protective order violation. If you are accused of violating the protective order, you could face up to one year in jail and a monetary fine of up to $2,500. You do not want to handle this kind of defense on your own when an experienced attorney can assist you.
Contact a Virginia Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer for Assistance
If a family member or other person defined as a family or household member under Virginia law has taken steps toward getting a protective order, it is critical to speak with a Northern Virginia domestic violence defense attorney about your options. An advocate at our firm can speak with you about defense strategies today. Contact Leary Law for more information.