Arlington Restraining Orders
A restraining order is a court order preventing someone from doing a certain thing. In Virginia, a restraining order is a generic term and is typically a protective order or order of protection. A protective order prevents the person’s actions and it prevents them from doing things like going to certain places, contacting certain individuals, or doing certain things.
In a domestic violence context, what is thought of as a restraining order is actually a protective order. A protective order is the most common way of giving immediate relief for the prevention of future incidents and a deterrent of conflict between individuals. If you are facing charges for a restraining order, it is important to contact an Arlington domestic violence attorney who will be able to help you understand your rights.
Restraining Order vs. Civil Protection Order
Restraining orders and civil protection orders do not differ greatly. A restraining order is typically used for restraining someone from selling property or doing something in that regard. A civil protective order is the most common order of protection that someone thinks of as a restraining order in Arlington County.
Filing a Restraining Order
Anyone can request a restraining order or protective order. The most common examples of the individuals requesting orders of protection or restraining orders are individuals who are accusing someone of a crime. However, someone can request a civil restraining order or order of protection even if a warrant of arrest has not been issued in your case. Instead, if they are simply in reasonable fear or apprehension of bodily harm from an individual due to one incident, a series of incidents, or even threatening behavior and conduct, someone can request from a court what is usually an order of protection.
Typically, a judge is not ordering an affirmative duty on anyone other than to stay out. That is the most common relief that is granted through an order of protection or a restraining order, to stay away and have no contact with an individual.
Violating a Restraining Order
If you someone is accused of violating a protective order, they may be charged with a criminal offense. Violation of a protective order is a very serious offense and if found guilty of a violation of a protective order, a judge must sentence them to some period of active incarceration in a local jail.
There are specific languages of the protective order statute that the judge cannot suspend the entire sentence of a protective order case. This means that someone, even if it is just for several hours or a day, must spend some time incarcerated if they are convicted of violating a protective order.
This is a very serious charge. In addition, subsequent violations of protective orders include mandatory minimum and periods of incarceration and ultimately could even result in someone being charged with a felony offense.
Contacting an Attorney
A restraining order hearing, as with a civil protection or protective order hearing, may have consequences that may cross over into the criminal context. The most obvious being there may be a physical evidence issue. Physical evidence applies in criminal cases, but it does not apply in a civil case. An order of protection or restraining order is a civil case while a domestic violence case and assault charge or even a violation of protective order case would all be examples of a criminal case.
Due to the expediency of the orders, each civil protective order hearing is commonly heard before the criminal case is set to be heard. You want an experienced Arlington criminal attorney to be present to make sure that someone does not inadvertently waive their Fifth Amendment rights or present a contradictory theory during that initial hearing.