How do you fight a protective order in Virginia?

If someone has obtained a protective order against you and you believe it’s unfair, you can fight it, and we can help!

Battlefield Law Group understands the complexities and challenges individuals face when dealing with protective orders in Virginia. Our firm specializes in family law and domestic violence cases, and we have extensive experience guiding clients through the legal process.

How do I fight a protective order in Virginia?

If you wish to fight a protective order, here’s where to start:

  • Understand the current order and its conditions

Carefully review the protective order to understand what type of protective order has been filed and the restrictions and requirements imposed upon you. Is it a Preliminary Protective Order or an Emergency Protective Order?

Knowing this helps you know how much time you have to put together a case. The requirements may include no contact with the petitioner, surrendering firearms, or vacating a shared residence. Complying with the order is crucial during the legal process to avoid violating the order and attracting a criminal charge.

  • Obtain legal representation

Hiring an experienced attorney to handle protective order cases is highly recommended. An attorney can provide guidance, help you understand the legal process, and present your case effectively.

  • Gather evidence

Collect evidence supporting your position and contradicting the petitioner’s claims. This could include text messages, photos, emails, witness statements, or other documents refuting the allegations against you.

  • Prepare your defense

Work closely with your attorney to develop a strong defense strategy based on your gathered evidence. Your attorney may help you challenge the petitioner’s credibility, demonstrate inconsistencies in the petitioner’s statements, or present evidence that disproves the petitioner’s allegations.

  • Present your case in court

Attend all protective order hearings and be prepared to present your defense. Your attorney will guide you on what to say and do during the proceedings. Present your evidence and arguments clearly and respectfully and follow the court’s instructions.

What is the burden of proof for a protective order in Virginia?

In protective order cases, the petitioner holds the burden of proof. Unlike in criminal cases where the petitioner must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, protection order case proofs are based on “preponderance of the evidence.”

The preponderance of the evidence is a lower standard where the petitioner only needs to show that it is more likely than not that the abuse or threat of abuse they claim has occurred.

To meet their burden of proof, the petitioner might present various types of evidence, including testimonies from witnesses, photographs of injuries or damage, medical records, and possibly relevant electronic communication such as texts, emails, recorded phone calls, or social media posts.

As the respondent, your role is to challenge the petitioner’s case. You may present your evidence to counter the petitioner’s claims. This might involve presenting your witnesses, providing alternative explanations for injuries or damage, or revealing context to communications that might otherwise seem incriminating.

How long do you have to appeal a protective order in Virginia?

If you disagree with the issued order, you can appeal the decision. However, you should file the appeal within ten calendar days of the court entering the protective order. Missing this deadline could result in the loss of your right to appeal.

As your appeal is being processed, the Protective Order still holds, and you should honor it. If you and the petitioner decide to dissolve the Protective Order through an agreement during this period, you should go back to court. Even if you’re seeing eye to eye at the moment, you’re still violating a court order which is considered a Class 1 Misdemeanor.

Do you need a lawyer to fight a protective order?

While you are not legally required to have a lawyer when fighting a protective order in the Commonwealth of Virginia, it can be highly beneficial to have legal representation.

Such cases can become quite complex and involve several legal nuances that are difficult for a layperson to navigate. A lawyer understands the legal framework, the required standard of proof, the rules of evidence, and court procedure. They can help present your defense effectively and advocate for your rights and interests.

If the petitioner (the individual seeking the protective order) has legal representation, it could be particularly beneficial for you to have a lawyer to ensure a balanced legal confrontation. A lawyer can also assist in preparing you for any cross-examinations and can help formulate a strategy to counter the claims made by the petitioner.

Hire Battlefield Law Group PLLC

If you’ve been served with a protective order for claims of sexual assault or domestic violence, contact a protective order lawyer at Battlefield Law Group PLLC. Our team of domestic violence lawyers are experts and experienced in defending against protective orders and guiding you to avoid criminal charges.We recommend reaching out as soon as you get served so that we have enough time to prepare a strong defense. Contact us today to put up a good fight against the protective order.