Domestic assault and battery are serious crimes in the state of Virginia. Under the law, family abuse is defined as violent, forceful, or threatening act against a family or household member, that places them in reasonable apprehension of serious harm. A family or household member could be a spouse, ex-spouse, or co-parent, regardless of residence, in-laws who live in the same house, or a cohabitant, current or past (over the past year).
If someone is arrested for domestic assault and battery, protective orders may be issued to protect the alleged victims of the abuse.
Types of protective orders
There are multiple types of family abuse protective orders available in Virginia, including the Emergency Protective Order (EPO), Preliminary Protective Order (PPO), and Protective Order (PO).
- EPO – A law enforcement officer or alleged abuse victim may request an EPO at the time of the arrest or anytime there is any suspicion of family abuse. The EPO will last for at least 72 hours but can be extended upon request from a law enforcement officer.
- PPO – An alleged abuse victim can file a petition for a PPO with the Intake Office of the Court Service Unit. A PPO can prohibit abuse, and/or grant residence to or limit contact with family/household members. A hearing must be scheduled and held within 15 days and notice of the hearing must be provided to both parties.
- PO – A PO can be requested in the same manner as a PPO but will only be issued after both parties are notified and there is an opportunity for a hearing. A PO, like a PPO, can prohibit contact and abuse, and grant residence, and it can also include various other provisions (e.g. provision requiring treatment for alleged abuser). However, a PO can last up to two years if the court determines the alleged victim is in imminent danger of experiencing abuse.
What happens if a I violate a Protective Order?
If you have a protective order issued against you, it is important to make sure you adhere to the terms of the order. Additionally, keep in mind that under the federal Gun Control Act, you are not allowed to purchase or transport a firearm while the protective order against you is active.
Violating a protective order is a Class I misdemeanor and could result in up to a year in jail and $2,500 fine. It can also impact your eligibility for citizenship, custody of your children, employment, and reputation in the community. A criminal defense attorney can help defend against any charges relating to the violation of a protective order.