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What happens if I violate a protective order?

If you have been involved in a domestic violence dispute, there is a chance the alleged victim will file a protective order against you. Even cases involving false allegations can result in a protective order being filed. The protective order typically limits or prohibits the contact between alleged abuser and alleged victim. In many cases, the alleged abuser will be required to stay a certain distance away from the alleged abuser and will not be permitted to speak to them via phone or online.

It is very important for you to follow the conditions of your protective order even if you don't agree with them. Failure to follow the conditions of a protective order can result in serious consequences.

A violation of a protective order can be classified as a felony, a misdemeanor or contempt of court depending on where you live. Full faith and credit laws require states to recognize orders issued in every other state. However, the order will be enforced as though it was issued in the new state.

In Virginia, a protective order violation is generally classified as a Class I misdemeanor. If a second violation occurs within five years of the first violation and either offense was based on a threat or act of violence, the violator will be required to serve a mandatory minimum of 60 days in jail. A subsequent offense or an aggressive violation may be charged as a Class 6 felony, which can result in a minimum of six months in jail upon conviction.

The consequences of violating a protective order can affect you for the rest of your life. That is why it is in your best interest to follow the terms of the order against you and, if you believe the order is unjustified, seek relief with the help of a qualified attorney.

Source: Office for Victims of Crime, "Criminal Sanctions for Protective Order Violations," accessed on Oct. 24, 2016

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