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Challenging a Protective Order in Virginia

Challenging a Protective Order in Virginia

Courts issue protective orders, or “Restraining orders,” to provide legal protections to victims of sexual abuse, harassment, stalking, and domestic abuse. Oftentimes, as intended, these orders can successfully prevent subsequent cases of emotional, physical, and sexual violence. But what happens if an abuse allegation is false?

Each year, it’s estimated that over 700,000 protective orders are issued based on false claims of abuse.  The social and legal repercussions of a false allegation can have an extremely detrimental impact on a person’s standard of living. Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for fighting family members or divorcing spouses to use protective orders as weapons against each other, believing that it will ultimately benefit their personal and legal circumstances.

Luckily, there are legal options that allow you to challenge an unjust protective order.  

Types of Protection Orders

Virginia issues different types of protective orders based on the circumstances of a case and whether it’s a civil or criminal matter. If you are served a protective order, it can have a severe impact on your personal rights and freedoms. Even accidentally violating an order can lead to expensive fines and a year in jail. Also, a protective order can prevent you from obtaining gainful employment because it shows up on your background check.

Available protective orders include:

  • A family abuse protective order is issued by a judge and targeted against a family member
  • A preliminary protective order is issued by a judge and lasts 15 days (or until a full hearing)
  • A permanent protective order is issued by a judge and can be renewed every 2 years
  • An emergency protective order is issued by a judge of magistrate and lasts 72 hours

If you’re planning on challenging a protective order, it’s important to discuss your situation with an attorney who is knowledge about state laws and the overall legal process. The first step is acknowledging which type of protective order you have been served and why it was issued in the first place.

Petitioners usually file because they’ve experienced:

  • Violence
  • Threats of violence or death
  • Sexual assault
  • Stalking
  • Physical assault

Challenging an Order of Protection

A protective order is intended to protect a petitioner from future acts of violence. If you believe the charges are false, you have the legal right to present your case in court. However, you still need to respect and observe the restrictions of the protective order until a court dismisses it. You don’t want to face criminal charges and penalties for disobeying a court order.

When you’re served a protective order, you are also granted the following individuals rights:

  1. Notice of a court hearing regarding the charges being made against you
  2. The legal right to defend yourself against these charges

Secure Evidence

Your case depends on your ability to compile applicable evidence that can be utilized in your lawyer’s defense strategy. The court has already been influenced by one picture painted by the petitioner. This court hearing is your chance to share your side of the story. For this reason, it’s equally important that you don’t intentionally or accidentally dispose of any evidence the court may request. This looks suspicious and won’t work in your favor.

Beneficial evidence includes:

  • Your written account of the events in question
  • Witness statements
  • Pictures and videos
  • Witness statements
  • Relevant documents or text messages from the petitioner
  • Phone records
  • GPS records
  • Applicable social media posts
  • Security footage

Contact an attorney as soon as possible if you’re unable to assemble this evidence because you’ve been arrested.

Retain Legal Representation

Hiring an experienced and aggressive domestic violence lawyer is the only way to successfully challenge a protective order. Contact the Virginia Beach domestic violence attorney at The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller if you’re ready to fight for your innocence. We can help you prepare for your trial, develop a defense strategy based on your evidence, subpoena relevant witnesses, and litigate on your behalf in court.

Clear your record today. Contact The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller at (757) 517-2942 to schedule a free consultation.

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