Experienced Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Explains Protective Order Violations in Virginia
A protective order is a legal order issued by a court that instructs an individual to stay away from another person or location. Protective orders are commonly issued in situations involving domestic violence, harassment, and stalking. Violating a protective order is a serious criminal offense in Virginia and can result in severe legal consequences.
What is a Protective Order?
A protective order is a court order that is designed to protect individuals who are at risk of harm from another person. Protective orders are typically issued in cases involving domestic violence, stalking, and harassment. They can include a range of restrictions, such as orders to stay away from a specific location or person, to refrain from contact or communication, or to turn over any firearms.
In Virginia, there are three main types of protective orders:
Emergency Protective Orders (EPOs): These are temporary orders that are issued by a judge or magistrate and are designed to provide immediate protection for victims of abuse or violence. EPOs typically last for 72 hours.
Preliminary Protective Orders (PPOs): These are temporary orders that are issued after a hearing and are designed to provide longer-term protection for victims of abuse or violence. PPOs typically last for up to 15 days and can be extended.
Permanent Protective Orders (PPOs): These are long-term orders that are issued after a hearing and are designed to provide ongoing protection for victims of abuse or violence. PPOs can last for up to two years and can be extended.
What are the Consequences of Violating a Protective Order?
Violating a protective order is a serious criminal offense in Virginia and can result in severe legal consequences. If someone is found guilty of violating a protective order, they can face a Class 1 misdemeanor charge and up to 12 months in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, or both. First time convictions carry a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 1 day due to the wording of the statute. In other words, you will go to jail for at least one day the first time you violate a protective order.
A second violation of a protective order, if it was committed within five years of the first and involves an act or threat of violence, has a mandatory minimum punishment of 60 days in jail. That means you will spend two months in jail if convicted of a second violation of a protective order.
A third or subsequent violation of a protective order, if it occurs within 20 years of the first conviction and at least one of the prior convictions was based on the act or threat of violence, becomes a class 6 felony. This is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Additionally, the third violation of a protective order carries a mandatory minimum punishment of six months. Meaning, upon conviction, you will have to serve at least 6 months in prison.
Additionally, a first-time protective order violation can become a felony in certain situations. For instance, if the order is violated while the subject is carrying a firearm or other deadly weapon. Or if the violation results in the bodily injury of the person protected. There are other examples, but in each of these situations the violation becomes a felony punishable by a term of years in prison.
Defending Against a Protective Order Violation Charge
If you have been charged with violating a protective order in Virginia, it is important to seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you build a strong defense. Depending on the circumstances of the alleged violation, a Fairfax Domestic Violence Lawyer may be able to argue that you did not knowingly violate the protective order, that the order was improperly served, or that the allegations of the protected person are false.
It is also possible to negotiate a plea deal that reduces the severity of the charges or the potential penalties. However, it is important to work with a skilled criminal defense lawyer who can help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights.
In conclusion, violating a protective order in Virginia is a serious criminal offense that can result in severe legal consequences. If you have been charged with violating a protective order, it is important to seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you build a strong defense and protect your rights. With the help of a Fairfax Domestic Violence lawyer, you can fight the charges and work to minimize the potential penalties.