Fairfax County Domestic Violence Lawyers Helping Defendants Throughout Northern Virginia
Virginia prosecutors and judges take violations of protective orders very seriously, even when the person who took out the order isn’t interested in punishing a defendant for violating the order. Thus, anyone facing an alleged violation of a protective order should seek immediate counsel to avoid the worst consequences of a conviction. At Robinson Law, PLLC, our dedicated Fairfax criminal defense attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience successfully representing individuals charged with violations of protective orders and other allegations of domestic violence. We understand that these situations are often far more complex than the government makes them out to be, and we are prepared to do everything necessary to ensure the truth comes out.
What Is A Protective Order?
A protective order is a legal order issued by a judge that is intended to protect the safety of someone who claims to be the victim of abuse. The person who files for a protective order is referred to as the “petitioner,” and the person against whom the order is taken out is called the “respondent.”
The exact terms of a protective order will vary based on the reason for the order. However, they can impose one or more of the following conditions:
- Preventing the respondent from contacting the petitioner or their family members;
- Preventing the respondent from engaging in acts of violence against the petitioner or their family members;
- Granting temporary possession of a residence or vehicle to a petitioner;
- Requiring a respondent to ensure utility services at the petitioner’s residence; and
- Awarding temporary custody of a minor child to the petitioner or a family member.
Types Of Protective Orders
In Virginia, there are three types of protective orders:
- Emergency Protective Orders: These are often requested by law enforcement officers after responding to a domestic violence call. The respondent does not need to be present for the judge to issue an emergency protective order. Emergency protective orders last 72 hours.
- Preliminary Protective Orders: Judges issue preliminary protective orders if either 1.) a petitioner was subject to abuse or threats, or 2.) a judge issued an arrest warrant for someone based on allegations they committed a crime of violence or made threats against the petitioner. The respondent does not need to be present for the judge to issue a preliminary protective order. Preliminary protective orders last for 15 days or until the judge holds a protective order hearing.
- Permanent Protective Orders: Permanent protective orders last up to two years. However, a judge can only issue a permanent protective order if both the petitioner and respondent attend the hearing. Judges can extend a permanent protective order if the petitioner can show that there is reason to believe it is still necessary.
Consequences Of Violating A Protective Order
Violations of protective orders are serious crimes that can carry the possibility of a jail sentence.
- First violation: A first-time violation of a protective order is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
- Second violation: If you have a prior violation within five years, and one of the violations involved an actor or threat of violence, the offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500, with at least 60 days in jail.
- Third violation: If you have two prior convictions for violations of protective orders within the past 20 years, and one of them involved an actor or threat of violence, the offense is a Class 6 felony, punishable by up to five years in jail and a fine of $2,500, with at least six months in jail.
- Any violation involving assault and battery: If you violate a protective order by committing an assault and battery against the petitioner, it is a Class 6 felony, punishable by up to five years in jail and a fine of $2,500.
- Violations Involving Firearms: If you violate a protective order while possessing a firearm, you’ll face an additional Class 6 felony, which carries a minimum term of one year and a maximum of five years in jail, plus a fine of up to $2,500.
The penalties for any of these can be steep. We can help defend you against these charges.
Has Someone Claimed You Violated A Protective Order?
If you were arrested for violation of a protective order, or you recently learned that someone is claiming you violated an order, it is essential that you reach out to an experienced Fairfax criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At Robinson Law, PLLC, our lawyers have extensive hands-on experience defending the rights and freedom of clients charged with violations of protective orders and other family abuse offenses. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation today, call 703-542-3616. You can also connect with us through our online contact form. We proudly represent clients in Fairfax, Loudon, Stafford, and Suffolk counties, as well as throughout northern Virginia.