When an incident involving domestic violence allegedly occurs in someone’s home in Virginia, the alleged victim may exercise a couple of options to help protect himself or herself. In general, protective orders and restraining orders both permit the alleged victim to call police and have the other party arrested if he or she breaks the order.
In many states, when officers report to a domestic violence situation, the alleged aggressor may be required to leave the home. In many cases, however, officers identify the aggressor incorrectly. Police are permitted to give the person believed to be the victim an Emergency Protection Order, or EPO. This is meant to be a short-term solution, for instance, only lasting three to seven days. This will give the alleged victim time to seek a longer-lasting protection order.
A protection order can typically last anywhere from one to five years, but it can last for an entire lifetime in extreme cases. A protection order can have a variety of conditions attached to it. Many of these conditions relate to keeping the alleged abuser away from the alleged victim. There will oftentimes be a no contact provision, prohibiting one party from reaching out to the other party in any way. A stay away provision can require one party to stay a certain number of yards away from the other party at all times. There may also be a firearms provision, requiring the alleged abuser to surrender his or her weapons.
If the alleged abuser violates a protective order, there will be consequences. The violation can even be considered a felony in serious cases with repeat offenders. In many cases, it will be seen as a contempt of court or a misdemeanor. In any case, it is clear that a protective order has a significant impact on the accused abuser. If a protection order is filed against a person, it is important that the person abides by it and seeks legal counsel to assist with his or her case.
Source: FindLaw, “Domestic Violence: Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders,” accessed Aug. 2, 2015