• 5 Things to Know About Protective Orders in Virginia

    5 Things to Know About Protective Orders in Virginia

    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.

    1. 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.”

    1. 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;
    • Parents;
    • Stepparents;
    • Children;
    • Stepchildren;
    • Brothers;
    • Sisters;
    • Half-brothers;
    • Half-sisters;
    • Grandparents;
    • Grandchildren;
    • In-laws;
    • 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.
    1. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

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