A protective order, also known as a restraining order, is meant to protect one person from another. It usually contains an order that you not contact another person, harass them, or harm them in any way. These orders contain important restrictions that, if violated, carry potentially harsh penalties. If you need help obtaining a protective order, or need help defending yourself against accusations of violating a protective order, you need an experienced protective order attorney to help. 

protective orders

Our Virginia criminal defense lawyers at Battlefield Law Group PLLC can help in either situation. We understand the importance of these orders and the importance of defending a person’s legal rights. We explain more about Virginia protective orders and how they may impact your life.

What Is a Protective Order in Virginia?

The terms “protective order” and “restraining order” both provide the same protections. These are legal remedies designed to protect people from domestic violence, abuse, and harassment. They encompass many potential terms designed to protect people from harm. These conditions might include:

  • No contact with the petitioner
  • Not share a home or even vacate a home you share with the petitioner
  • Continued payment of utilities at the home that you share with the petitioner
  • That the respondent does not possess any firearms or deadly weapons
  • Not to be within a certain distance of the petitioner
  • Order the respondent not to harass, threaten, or stalk the victim
  • Payment of costs

Other conditions may be specific to the type of protection order you seek or are eligible for.

Types of Protection Orders in Virginia

There are three kinds of protective orders under Virginia law that deal with different types of stages of the process. These include:

  • Emergency Protective Order (EPO): An EPO allows a law enforcement officer or abused person to request a protective order. They are designed to quickly protect a person from emergency situations and provide temporary protection based on initial evidence presented to a magistrate. These are done ex parte meaning that only one party is present and giving evidence. For this reason, an EPO remains in effect for only 72 hours. 
  • Preliminary Protective Orders (PPO): A judge may issue a PPO within a short time after a person was the victim of force, violence, or a threat. A judge decides whether to grant the PPO based on the person’s sworn statement in court. You do not have to have a prior EPO in order to be granted a PPO. A PPO lasts 15 days, or until the final Protective Order hearing which occurs later. 
  • Permanent Protective Order (PO): A judge may grant a protective order that lasts up to two years. This typically occurs after a preliminary protective order hearing, whether the emergency order was granted or denied. A final hearing determines whether the protective order is warranted and what conditions the judge should impose as part of that order. The order may also be extended for an additional two years, if properly requested and approved.

Real life situations are often complicated, making it difficult to know how to present the appropriate facts to either obtain or defend the protective order. Hiring an experience trial attorney who understands the elements of a PO and knows the Rules of Evidence can greatly increase your odds of a successful hearing.

Defending Against Protective Order Violations

If you are accused of violating a protective order, this is quite serious. If convicted of violating a protective order, the mandatory minimum punishment is one day in jail. However, you have the right to defend yourself. Defenses may include:

  • You did not actually violate the order
  • The violation was accidental and not intentional
  • The violation was less serious than as is accused
  • Your accuser is lying or is untrustworthy

These and other defenses may help you reduce or avoid penalties for violating the protective order.

Get Help With Protective Orders From an Experienced Attorney

At Battlefield Law Group PLLC, our team has decades of legal experience we can put to work in your protective order case. Whether you need help filing a petition or defending against violations, we can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.