For those living under the threat of domestic violence, spousal abuse, stalking or any other type of emotional or physical threat in Virginia, it is important to understand the benefits of a protective order. A protective order, formally referred to as a restraining order, is an order granted through the court system that extends legal protection from the offending person for a defined period of time. If the offender violates the protective order, he or she would likely be arrested and charged with a crime.
The protective order works by legally requiring the offender to immediately stop any type of communication with any person named in the protective order. The offender will be formally instructed by the court not to commit any act of violence or emotional distress toward the protected individuals. Should the offender ignore the protective order and contact the protected party in any way, the offender can be arrested, fined and charged with a misdemeanor. If the offense is more serious, and the offender breaks into the home of the protected, they could be charged with a felony violation which comes with much more severe penalties.
Typically, protective orders are not difficult to get and can be granted immediately. The offender does not have to be present in court when the protective order is issued, and they do not have to be notified before the order can be issued. The offender is subject to the conditions of the protective order in Virginia the moment it is granted.
In order to be completely informed of all legal options available to those who have been threatened with physical harm or emotional abuse, it is important to consult with an attorney. The attorney will be able to analyze the case and help to determine the full scope of the pending threat. The attorney will know how to effectively communicate the situation to the court system and can assist in securing the maximum protection available by law. The attorney can also be involved to help ensure the protective order is properly enforced by the courts.
Source: WomensLaw.org, “Protective Orders (for an Act of Violence, Force, or Threat),” Accessed on Jan. 20, 2015