What is a Protective Order?
Someone feels threatened by another person. Maybe they feel like they are being stalked or they have been threatened physically. It could be a stranger, an ex-spouse or someone from the workplace. It could be a threat issued in person or over the phone. The victim feels her safety is being threatened by another and fears assault, bodily injury, or even death. Regardless, the person threatened is frightened. There is something she can do to help protect her safety. In Virginia, the person who feels threatened can go to a judge to have a protective order issued. If the judge approves it, a legal document, a Virginia Protective Order, is then issued. At Pack Law Group we advise and represent clients in central Virginia providing criminal defense when you are accused. If you are the subject of a protective order, you will need to know your rights, and what is necessary to fight the allegations.
A protective order puts some protections in place. And even though it is just a piece of paper, a violator can be arrested. There are three types of protective orders in Virginia.
Emergency Protective Order (EPO)
This is an order that protects you for three days only. An Emergency Protective Order (EPO) can be sought if someone feels that there is imminent danger of harm. If after three days the claimant is still in fear, they can seek a Preliminary Protective Order.
Preliminary Protective Order (PPO)
In this case, the judge will issue a protective order that is in effect for 15 days or until a full hearing can be held. The person seeking the PPO makes a sworn statement to the court that s/he is in fear of of abuse or violence, and that s/he has the option to seek the PPO. The PPO can be done in a written form or in an oral ex parte petition. That means you do not necessarily get to present your side of the story. An ex parte motion means for the benefit of one party only. The PPO remains in effect until another hearing takes place before each party, so the judge can hear about the particulars of this case. The Pack Law Group suggests you have representation upon your first appearance before the judge to help you gather the best evidence on your own behalf. With a PPO, the accused will have to be legally served.
Protective Order (PO)
This is the longest form of protective order and it can last up to two years. Just like the others, this is issued by a judge after listening to the issues. The accused does not have to attend, but it is always suggested that they do. If it is necessary to continue to have contact with the other person, the accused should tell the judge why at the hearing.
Violating the Protective Order
The Pack Law Group strongly suggests you follow the language of the protective order and do not violate it. For example, if you are ordered to stay away from the person’s home or work place, they have the right to call law enforcement. If they do so, you are subject to an immediate arrest. Once arrested, you will be charged with a crime.
My Husband Continues to Violate a Protective Order – What Can I Do?
Sadly, our attorneys are faced with this question often. Not everyone will follow a protective order. Instead, the accused will violate the terms by contacting the victim or even visiting them. There are two options in Virginia to handle the situation where your husband continues to violate the protective order against him. The first option is to file a violation petition with the court that issued the protective order and request for your husband be held in civil contempt. The other option is to call the police and have your husband arrested. Your husband can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor if any of the following violations apply to the situation:
- He remains on the property, in the premises, or on the land he is restricted from
- He commits family abuse
- He commits a criminal offense
- He contacts you or anyone else who lives in your home
Your husband can be charged with a Class 6 felony if any of the following violations apply to the situation:
- Enters your home secretly while you are home
- Enters your home secretly while you are not home, but remains until you arrive home
- Causes bodily injury to you via assault and battery
- Begins stalking you
- Violates any provision in the protective order while carrying a firearm or any other type of deadly weapon
- Is convicted of a third or subsequent violation of the protective order within 20 years of the initial conviction and the offenses are violent in nature or include a threat
Seek an Experienced Criminal Defense Law Firm
We are here to provide you with a strong defense when facing a protective order. We advise you to always have one our experienced criminal lawyers by your side to provide skilled guidance before speaking to law enforcement or before the judge in a hearing. As trained officers, law enforcement will attempt to elicit a confession from you and we are here to minimize damage to your reputation and standing in the community. You have a right not to answer questions and we need to guide you in that regard in order to have any charges reduced or allegations minimized. This is when you need the experience of the Pack Law Group. With so much at stake, you need representation by attorneys who are dedicated to getting you the most favorable results during this difficult time. Call now for immediate assistance, at 540-586-7225. We serve clients in Bedford, Lynchburg and Roanoke counties and throughout central Virginia. Sources: Virginia State Courts on Protective Orders http://www.courts.state.va.us/forms/district/info_sheet_protective_order_stalking.pdf Virginia Code on Emergency Protective Orders https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title19.2/chapter9.1/section19.2-152.8/ Virginia Legal Aid https://www.valegalaid.org/files/E095B726-FCD8-81C1-17DC-A16C7ED73FFF/attachments/B15E2461-F280-3F64-168E-0894F6DBF3D3/domestic-violence-vlas.pdf