In Virginia, Protective Orders are sought by Petitioners against Respondents. They can be obtained through the juvenile and domestic relations district court or through the general district court. Which court has jurisdiction depends on the relationship of the parties. When a protective order is sought, the matter is civil in nature. But there are real implications if you are the Respondent in a protective order petition that is granted.
If you violate the terms of a protective order, you can be charged with a crime. Though typically the charge is a misdemeanor, it can be brought as a felony if certain facts apply. If you are subject to a permanent protective order, you will be prohibited from possessing a firearm or from purchasing or transporting a firearm while the protective order is in effect. In some instances this prohibition is also pursuant to federal law.
If you believe you are in danger and in need of protection through the issuance of a protective order, we can help you as well. A protective order issued by a court can not only require the respondent to keep a distance from you, but can also award custody and grant sole occupancy of the residence during the period of the order. Additionally, a person who is the subject of such an order can be barred from communicating in any form with you.
If you have an issue with a protective order, on the civil side (either as the petitioner or respondent) or on the criminal side, in Fairfax County or greater Northern Virginia, contact us today to discuss your situation. George Freeman is an experienced Fairfax protective order attorney (sometimes referred to as a restraining order) on both the criminal and civil side.