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Violations of Protective Orders

Consequences of Violating a Protective Order in Virginia: A Legal Overview

Introduction Understanding the repercussions of violating a protective order in Virginia is crucial for both the protected party and the restrained individual. This article delves into the legal consequences, referencing specific Virginia code sections, to provide a clear understanding of what happens when a protective order is breached.

Understanding Protective Orders in Virginia

Nature of Protective Orders In Virginia, protective orders are legal injunctions issued to prevent acts of violence, threats, or harassment. They are typically used in situations involving domestic violence, stalking, or abuse.

Legal Ramifications of Violating a Protective Order

Immediate Consequences The immediate consequence of violating a protective order in Virginia is arrest. According to Virginia Code § 19.2-152.10, violation of a protective order constitutes a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries serious penalties.

Penalties for First Violation As per Virginia Code § 18.2-57.2, a first-time violation of a protective order can lead to penalties including up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Subsequent Violations and Enhanced Penalties

Repeated Offenses Subsequent violations of protective orders are taken more seriously. Under Virginia Code § 16.1-253.2, a second violation within five years, including assault and battery against the protected party, is considered a Class 6 felony, carrying a sterner punishment.

Enhanced Penalties for Felony Violations Felony violations can result in imprisonment for one to five years, or, at the court's discretion, up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 (Virginia Code § 18.2-10).

Impact on Custody and Visitation

Restrictions and Loss of Parental Rights Violating a protective order can significantly impact custody and visitation rights. Courts in Virginia take such violations seriously, often leading to restrictions or loss of parental rights (refer to Virginia Code § 20-124.2).

Legal Process Following a Violation

Arrest and Criminal Charges Once a violation is reported, the police can arrest the violator without a warrant. The individual will then face criminal charges, leading to a court hearing.

The Role of Evidence in Court Proceedings In court, the burden is on the prosecution to prove the violation. Evidence such as texts, emails, or witness testimonies becomes crucial at this stage.

Long-Term Implications

Criminal Record A conviction for violating a protective order leaves a permanent criminal record, which can affect employment, housing, and other aspects of life.

Restraining Order Modifications Following a violation, the court may modify the protective order, potentially imposing stricter conditions or extending its duration.


  1. What should I do if falsely accused of violating a protective order? Seek legal counsel immediately. A defense attorney can help navigate the legal system and protect your rights. Contact Mr. R. Tyler Bezilla today for a free consultation.

  2. Can a protective order violation impact my job? Yes, a criminal record from a protective order violation can affect current employment and future job prospects.

  3. Is violation of a protective order a deportable offense for non-citizens? It can be. Non-citizens should consult with an immigration attorney, as such violations can affect immigration status.

  4. What constitutes a violation of a protective order in Virginia? Any act that goes against the terms set by the court in the protective order, such as contacting the protected individual or visiting certain locations, is considered a violation.

  5. Can the terms of a protective order be negotiated or changed? Yes, either party can request the court to modify the terms, but this must be legally processed and approved by a judge.


Violating a protective order in Virginia carries significant legal consequences, including potential jail time, fines, and a lasting impact on one's personal and professional life. Understanding these repercussions is vital for all parties involved in a protective order. It emphasizes the importance of adhering to legal orders and the severe implications of non-compliance under Virginia law.

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