The legal standard for whether or not a protective order should be granted is whether the subject of that order has committed what is called an act of family violence or has threatened family violence. This means that if the person is doing things that are similar to battery such as a harmful or offensive contact or there is the threat of something like that, that would give the court the basis to enter that order. In these cases, the party against which the order is issued against should seek the assistance of an Alexandria domestic violence lawyer to ensure they understand the parameters of the order and what consequences may be imposed for a violation.
A protective order has to be issued by a judicial officer. In the case of an emergency protective order that lasts only 72 hours, that can be issued by a magistrate at the time that the criminal charge is issued. A permanent protective order can be issued by a juvenile domestic court judge, a general district court judge or a circuit court judge after a full hearing, and these can last for up to two years.
The court always retains jurisdiction to vacate or modify a protective order. As a practical matter, any time the circumstances change or even if new evidence becomes available, a person who is the subject of the protective order has the ability to go back to the court and ask the court to move that protective order case or to modify the order in some way.
Just because an order has been issued does not mean that it is going to have to stay that way forever. In addition to that, every protective order has a built-in expiration date by which it will no longer be valid.
A protective order, in most cases, is going to instruct the person that it is directed at to not have any contact with an individual or individuals. What that means is not only can a person not have any physical contact with them, meaning in-person contact, but they are not allowed to have any contact with any kind including telephone calls, texts or e-mails. They are not even allowed to tell someone to give a message to that other person. If judges frequently say “no contact”, they mean literally no contact and it is extremely restrictive.
Courts take violations of protective orders very seriously. When someone is in violation of a protective order, the court’s contempt powers are available to it for punishment purposes. The contempt powers include the ability to fine someone and also to incarcerate them. If an individual finds himself or herself accused of violating a protective order, that is very serious problem. In many cases, a judge will, if there is a bond on the underlying criminal case, revoke that bond and force the person to sit in jail until the time of the hearing.
Gaining a protective order can be a difficult process to go through. Our team of attorneys can help you through the confusing process. Please contact us today.
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