The Answers You Need to Many Common Legal Questions

Often, our clients have little experience with the law, and they share many questions and concerns when faced with a legal matter. The attorneys at Greenspun Shapiro PC understand you need answers, and we offer many of them here. Hear our thoughts on issues relating to criminal charges, traffic charges, real estate transactions, civil litigation, personal injury cases, business disputes, administrative hearings, and more.

  • Page 1
  • Is texting while driving considered reckless driving in Virginia?

    Reckless Driving Charges and Cell Phone UseIf you are texting while driving, you can be charged with and convicted of reckless driving or illegally using a handheld personal communications device, which is a traffic infraction. All forms of reckless driving are treated as class 1 misdemeanor offenses, which are the highest level of misdemeanor in Virginia. A conviction of any type of reckless driving can result in a jail sentence, fines, suspension of your driver’s license for up to six months, and a permanent criminal record. There are approximately 15 different offenses that are considered reckless driving. Traffic infractions, on the other hand, carry far less penalty, because only fines and court costs can be imposed. Before you prepay your ticket or appear in court on your own, consider calling us to explore what defenses you may have and to see how we can help.

    What Is the Offense of Texting While Driving in Virginia?

    Virginia Code § 46.2-1078.1 makes it illegal to use a hand-held device while driving in Virginia. It prohibits the following actions:

    • Manually entering multiple letters or text in the device to communicate with another person
       
    • Reading any email or text that is transmitted or stored in the device

    There are exceptions for drivers operating emergency vehicles, calling in an emergency, reading a caller id number, or using a factory-installed or aftermarket GPS. The infraction of texting while driving is a "primary offense," which means a police officer can stop a driver if he suspects that the driver is violating the anti-texting laws. Texting while driving is a traffic infraction. The penalty for a first offense is a $125 fine, and for a second or subsequent offense, it is a $250 fine. Three demerit points are also assessed against the driver by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

    Reckless Driving Offenses in Virginia

    A person can be charged with both texting while driving and reckless driving if the person is engaging in one of the unsafe driving practices that are considered reckless driving while also engaging in texting. A few of these offenses include:

    Reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor. If you are convicted, you may be sentenced to up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 in addition to court costs. Also, your driver’s license might be suspended for up to six months, and six demerit points will be assessed by the DMV.

    Have you been charged with reckless driving for texting or for another reason? You may have strong defenses to the charges that you face even if you know that you are guilty. Let our experienced reckless driving attorney raise all of your defenses so that the charges you face are dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. To schedule your free initial consultation, start an online chat or call our office today.

     

  • What is underage DUI in Virginia and what penalties might I face if convicted?

    Undersage DUI Charges in VirginiaThere is no tolerance for driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol in Virginia. The laws against DWI or DUI are especially strict if the driver is under 21 years old. If you have been charged with underage DWI or DUI in Virginia, you may face a harsh sentence and long-term consequences—including a permanent criminal record.

    What Is Underage DUI?

    In Virginia, the legal drinking age is 21 years old and consuming alcohol when under the legal age is considered illegal unless on private property with the permission of a legal guardian. It is never legal to consume alcohol and drive. Under Virginia Code § 18.2-266.1, a person under 21 years old can be convicted of underage DUI if he did either of the following:

    • Consumed alcohol and operated a motor vehicle, or
    • Had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than 0.02 percent and operated a motor vehicle

    As with an adult being charged with DUI, a minor charged with underage DUI is required to submit to a breath or blood test under Virginia’s implied consent laws.

    Penalties for Underage DUI

    Underage DUI is a Class 1 misdemeanor, and a conviction will result in a minor having a permanent criminal record. If convicted, he may be sentenced as follows:

    • Fines of up to $2,500
       
    • Community service—up to 50 hours
       
    • Jail sentence of up to one year
       
    • Driver’s license suspension of up to one year
       
    • Court-ordered substance abuse counseling

    In addition, six demerit points will be added to the minor’s Virginia driving record, which most likely will also result in an increase in his automobile insurance rates. In some cases, the person may be able to petition the court for a restricted driver’s license.

    Have you been charged with underage DUI? You may have defenses to the charges that you face—even if you know that you are guilty of underage drinking. Our experienced Fairfax DUI lawyers are here to aggressively fight on your behalf so that the charges are dropped or reduced to a less serious offense. To learn more, call our office or fill out our online form to schedule a free case evaluation.

     

  • What types of evidence can help in my reckless driving case?

    What Evidence Is Needed for a Reckless Driving Charge?A reckless driving conviction in Virginia can result in a jail sentence, hefty fines, suspension of your privilege to drive, and demerit points on your driving record, which can also increase your vehicle insurance rates and lead to administrative license suspensions or revocations. In addition, reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense, and you will have a permanent criminal record if convicted. Because of all the harsh consequences, you need to build your defense to the charges that you face and obtain evidence that will support your defenses.

    Types of Evidence That Can Help Build a Strong Defense to Reckless Driving Charges

    Without the assistance of a defense attorney familiar with reckless driving cases, your chances of getting a lighter punishment, reduction of the charge, or dismissal of the case become significantly lower. Your attorney will be able to identify defenses that you have based on the circumstances in your case and will know what evidence you need to prove your defenses. Some types of evidence that may be helpful include:

    • Calibration of Your Vehicle's Speedometer. If you are disputing that you were driving as fast as the police officer claims, you may want to obtain a speedometer calibration. Depending on whether your car has been properly maintained, damaged, or modified, it is possible that your speedometer shows a lower speed than what you are actually traveling. If the body shop shows this to be the case, this can be used to reduce the penalties you face and possibly the charge, but it is not a defense in and of itself.
       
    • GPS Evidence. If the officer clocked your speed at close to 80 miles per hour or 20 miles over the speed limit—which are two of the ways you can be charged with reckless driving—GPS evidence can help. GPS information may be able to show how far you traveled in a period of time, which can be used to calculate your speed. However, the GPS information must be extremely accurate for this to be useful.
       
    • Witness Testimony. Witness testimony can be helpful in some situations. Witness testimony can help establish your speed, at least as it appeared inside the car. Witness testimony may also shed light on why a person may be weaving in and out of traffic or driving at a high rate. However, witnesses can also be a double edged sword because they may have incriminating information. Working with the witnesses before the day of their testimony is essential to ensure there are no surprises.
       
    • Photos and Videos. When speed limit signs are vandalized, missing, or difficult to see, taking photographs or videos can help prove the lack of proper signage. Photos and videos may also give your attorney, the prosecutor, and the court insight about the conditions on the scene that may also explain your driving behavior. Additionally, photos of the scene and where the officer came from will aid in knowing what the officer could observe from his vantage point and will aid in cross examining the officer.
       
    • Medical Emergency. If you were speeding due to a medical emergency, such as transporting a pregnant woman to the hospital or dealing with a serious medical issue, medical records substantiating this may help you build a defense.
       
    • Safe Driving Record. If you have a clean driving record, you can use this to show your commitment to safe driving. When this is not the case, taking a driver improvement class may show that you are trying to be a safer driver and may result in a reduced reckless driving charge.
       
    • Community Service. While community service is not evidence that will help prove or disprove a fact in your case, it may help reduce the penalties you face if convicted of reckless driving. Likewise, community service can be used to try to reduce the charge to show that you have been proactive and have taken responsibility for your driving behavior.

    Do you need help fighting a reckless driving charge? Call our office today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

     

  • Why should I retain an attorney in my personal injury case?

    How an Attorney Can Help Your Personal Injury ClaimAfter a personal injury accident, it is common to feel overwhelmed with coping with serious injuries, the inability to work, and the changes in your life. On top of this, you will not have your usual wages to count on to pay your living expenses and expensive medical bills while you are off work recovering. You know you should file a claim for compensation with the negligent party’s insurance company, but may be tempted to handle settling your claim yourself to save money. However, this would be a bad decision and may actually cost you money in the long run.

    Reasons Why You Need to Hire an Attorney to Negotiate Your Personal Injury Claim Settlement

    First of all, you should not be worried about the cost of hiring an experienced personal injury attorney. Most lawyers handle these cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that you only owe a fee if your attorney wins your case in a settlement or at trial. In addition, the attorney fees are taken out of the settlement, so you do not have to pay attorney fees up front. Even more importantly, retaining an attorney can strengthen your case and make it more likely that you will receive the compensation that you deserve. Here are some of the ways that an attorney can help:

    • Investigation. Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation of your accident to prove how it happened and that the negligent party was at fault in causing your injuries. He may visit the scene of your accident, interview witnesses, collect pictures and videotapes, and obtain documents and other information from the negligent business or individual.
       
    • Knowledge of laws and procedures. If you retain an attorney who is experienced in handling your type of personal injury claim, he will understand the laws and procedures that govern your case. This includes knowing the time limit that you have to sue, the types of compensation you may receive, and the procedural rules you must follow when pursuing your civil case in court.
       
    • Value of your claim. An attorney who has a track record of success in settling and trying personal injury cases will have the experience and understanding to determine the true value of your claim. This is often substantially more than what the insurance adjuster for the negligent party claims.
       
    • Liable parties. In some personal injury cases, more than one party is found to be negligent and responsible for compensating the victim. Your attorney will be able to identify all the potentially liable parties in your case and attempt to negotiate settlements with them so that you are fully compensated for your injuries.
       
    • Settlement and litigation. An attorney will be skilled in negotiating settlements of claims like yours and will have strategies to defeat the insurance company’s tactics to reduce or deny your claim. If the insurance company refuses to be reasonable, he can file a lawsuit on your behalf.

    Do you need to file a claim for compensation for your injuries following a personal injury accident? Call our office today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about our experience handling these claims and how we can assist you.

     

  • Can I get my reckless driving charge reduced to a lesser offense in Virginia?

    In Virginia, there are a variety of traffic violations that may constitute reckless driving, which is a class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia and carries up to a $2,500.00 fine, up to a year in jail, and could also lead to suspension or revocation of your driver's license. For example, Virginia Code § 46.2-862 makes driving 20 mph or more over the speed limit or over 80 mph reckless driving. Virginia Code § 46.2-852 very broadly defines reckless driving as driving recklessly or in a manner that endangers a person or his property. You should not take receiving a reckless driving ticket lightly because it is a misdemeanor offense that may result in having a permanent criminal record and carries stringent punishments.

    When a Reckless Driving Charge Can Be Reduced to Improper Driving

    Your first step should be to retain an experienced reckless driving attorney if you are charged with this offense. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your attorney may be able toReckless Driving Charges in Virginia reduce your charge or have it dismissed. While working towards a dismissal of the charge is always the goal, often a reduction of the charge is the best that can be done.

    If you have been charged with reckless driving, Virginia Code § 46.2-869 allows the judge or prosecutor to reduce a reckless driving offense to improper driving if the culpability is slight. Numerous factors play into the determination of whether culpability is slight. Having an experienced attorney on your side will help ensure the factors the court finds most persuasive are shared in court or with the prosecutor so you can avoid the penalties associated with reckless driving.

    The penalties for reckless driving are very different than the penalties associated with improper driving convictions:

    • Reckless driving is generally a class 1 misdemeanor with penalties of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. Your driver’s license can be suspended for up to six months, and six demerit points are assessed by the DMV, which will remain on your record for 11 years. This is on top of a permanent criminal record.
       
    • Improper driving is a traffic infraction and carries up to a $500 fine. There is no possibility of jail time or license suspension if convicted of improper driving. In addition, only three demerit points are assessed by the DMV, and those points will remain on your record for only three years instead of eleven.

    A number of factors can affect whether or not you will be able to get a reckless driving charge reduced to improper driving, a different charge, or have the charge completely dismissed. Having a clean driving record, showing this was a borderline speeding case, performing community service, and taking a driver improvement or educational course are a few of the positive factors that may result in your charges being reduced.

    Have you been charged with reckless driving? Let our experienced reckless driving attorneys help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Call us to schedule your free consultation today.

     

  • How can social media posts affect my DUI criminal case?

    Social Media Can Play a Big Role in Your Criminal CaseOdds are that you likely use social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, to stay in contact with friends and family and to share fun activities and experiences with your social network. While this may be harmless in general, posts about social events where you are consuming alcohol or about your arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) can be harmful to your criminal case. It is important that you understand how prior social media posts can help the police build a case against you, and why it is important to avoid posting anything in the future that may make your situation worse. As a general rule, you should never post anything on social media about any pending criminal case you are facing without first consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Whatever you post online is not private or confidential, and it may be used by law enforcement if they find it. 

    How Social Media Posts Can Harm You If You Face DUI Charges

    It is not only your own posts but also the posts about you or where you are tagged by family or friends that can cause problems when you are charged with DUI, as well as other offenses. Here are some of the ways that social media posts can be damaging:

    • Not private. The police and prosecutor may search your public social media sites at various times during your criminal case to look for evidence that can help them prove your guilt. Even if you have changed your social media site settings to private, this does not mean that they cannot obtain your social media history. A judge can issue a subpoena that gives them access to this information.
       
    • Deleted posts. Some people charged with DUI attempt to delete prior incriminating posts. However, the police may obtain a subpoena allowing them to recover this information directly from the social media company. In addition, the fact that you deleted the posts may be considered intentional and may result in you receiving a harsher penalty if you are convicted.
       
    • Location information. The police can obtain cell phone data to determine the time and location of calls, texts, and other uses of your cell phone. In addition, when you post on Facebook, the time and location of your post will also be logged. All of this information can be used to create a timeline of where you were before your DUI arrest to help prove that you were consuming alcohol or that you drank more than you claim.

    What happens if you already posted damaging posts on your social media sites? An experienced Fairfax DUI attorney will have strategies to handle problems these posts may pose to your criminal case. To learn about our years of experience helping our clients fight DUI charges and what to expect in your criminal case, fill out our online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

     

  • Will a reckless driving conviction affect my ability to obtain a green card?

    Green Cards and How a Criminal Conviction Affects itIf you are charged with reckless driving, a conviction can involve many more consequences than the actual sentence that you face. A conviction would result in a permanent criminal record, and you may find that the conviction affects your ability to obtain employment, a professional license, or a loan. Your worries can be magnified if you have come to the United States from another country and are applying for lawful permanent residency, also know as a green card, to remain here and work.

    How a Conviction Affects Your Ability to Obtain a Green Card

    A green card can be the first step in the process of becoming a permanent resident and a United States citizen, but you must meet specific requirements in order to obtain it. On the application, you will be asked whether you have been "arrested, charged, indicted, convicted, fined, or imprisoned for breaking or violating any law or ordinance, excluding traffic violations." A reckless driving charge is most frequently a Class 1 misdemeanor, which is more serious than a traffic infraction. If your reckless driving resulted in someone’s death, you may be convicted of a Class 6 felony.

    A reckless driving conviction might not prevent you from obtaining a green card, especially if it is a misdemeanor conviction, but it can make the process more complicated. How seriously the conviction will impact your immigration status will depend on a number of factors. Some of these include:

    • Whether you are being charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense
       
    • Whether or not anyone was injured or killed
       
    • Whether or not you have any other criminal charges on your record and the severity of these charges
       
    • Whether or not you were driving while intoxicated due to alcohol or drug use at the time of your reckless driving charges

    You will need to consult with an immigration attorney to determine exactly how a reckless driving conviction may affect your green card status.

    If you are facing reckless driving charges and applying for a green card, it is vital that you retain an experienced criminal defense attorney. Even if you believe that you are guilty, you may have defenses that may result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a less serious traffic offense that would not affect your green card application. To find out how our experienced legal team can help, start an online chat to schedule your free consultation.

     

  • What are the possible defenses to a reckless driving ticket in Virginia?

    Reckless Driving ChargesReckless driving charges can have long-term consequences on your life. A conviction is a Class 1 misdemeanor and will result in you having a permanent criminal record. However, there are a number of defenses that you may be able to raise—with the help of an experienced reckless driving attorney—that may result in the charges being dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense with much less severe penalties.

    What Is Reckless Driving in Virginia?

    The Commonwealth of Virginia takes reckless driving very seriously, and there are at least 15 offenses that may constitute reckless driving. Reckless driving generally involves speeding. Here are the most common offenses:

    • Under Virginia Code § 46.2-862, you may be charged with reckless driving for driving over the speed limit by 20 miles per hour or more or in excess of 80 miles per hour.
       
    • Under Virginia Code § 46.2-852, it is illegal to drive recklessly or in a way that endangers the life or property of any person. This is a broad catch-all offense that gives the police broad leeway to charge you with reckless driving.

    If convicted of reckless driving, you face a sentence of up to 12 months in jail, a fine of $2,500, and six demerit points on your driving record.

    Defenses That May Help You Beat Reckless Driving Charges

    You will need the help of an experienced attorney to determine what defenses apply to your situation. However, the following are common defenses raised in these cases:

    • Location. The Commonwealth must prove that the reckless driving offense took place in the correct county or city where you were charged. If you were near the border between jurisdictions when you were charged, the officer who charged you may not have had authority to do so, in which case the charges may be dismissed.
       
    • Highway. This is another situation-specific defense. A highway is defined broadly in Virginia to include highways and many public roads. However, if your offense occurred in a gated community or another private roadway, you may not be able to be charged with this offense.
       
    • Radar or Lidar Calibration. If you are charged with reckless driving, the Commonwealth must establish that the radar or LIDAR used to check your speed was properly calibrated and working properly on the date you were charged. The device must have been calibrated within the prior six months, and the officer must have a valid certification that meets specific statutory requirements. The lack of a calibration certificate or a defective one are common defenses raised by experienced reckless driving attorneys that may result in the charges being lessened, or in some circumstances, dismissed.
       
    • Equipment use. Another defense related to the radar or LIDAR speed findings is that the police did not use the equipment properly. Use of these devices requires special training and experience. An experienced lawyer may be able to challenge how the officer used the device in order to get the reckless driving charge dismissed.
       
    • Your speedometer. In some cases, getting your speedometer calibrated can prove that the speedometer was not working properly and that you were unaware of the speed at which you were traveling. If you plan to claim that you were not speeding, you may have to have your speedometer calibrated. However, in many cases, the calibration shows no inaccuracies, so you want to discuss whether you should spend the money for this with your attorney before having it done.
       
    • GPS defense. A common defense can be that a person’s GPS showed that he was going at a lower speed than the officer claims. This can be a powerful defense. However, for it to be successful, you will need to show proof of the GPS reading at the time you were charged with this offense and proof that the GPS was accurate.

    Let Our Experienced Reckless Driving Attorneys Help

    These are just a few of the defenses that you may be able to raise to beat reckless driving charges. An experienced reckless driving attorney will be able to spot all of the helpful defenses in your case, as well as suggest other actions that you can take to minimize the penalties you face. Call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation with a member of our reckless driving legal team to learn more about your defenses and our extensive experience in these cases.

     

  • I received a ticket for reckless driving in Virginia. What do I do?

    Reckless Driving in VirginiaIf you are charged with reckless driving in Virginia, you may not realize the serious consequences of a conviction, or that you may have options to lessen them. Reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense in Virginia with penalties that include possible jail time and hefty fines. In addition, a guilty plea or plea of no contest would result in a permanent criminal record. Here, we share your options if you receive a reckless driving ticket so that you can minimize the harsh consequences you face.

    What Is Reckless Driving in Virginia?

    Reckless driving is treated seriously in Virginia, and you may be charged with this for more than just speeding. There are at least 15 separate reckless driving offenses, and they include the following:

    Penalties for Reckless Driving

    Reckless driving is a Class I misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. The court may also suspend your driver's license for up to six months. A conviction for reckless driving also results in a permanent criminal record and may hinder your ability to obtain certain employment or successfully undergo a thorough background check. In addition, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will impose six demerit points for a reckless driving conviction, why may in turn lead to higher insurance premiums.

    Options for Handling Your Reckless Driving Ticket

    You have a number of options for handling your reckless driving ticket, but not all are in your best interests. If your goal is to minimize the penalties, some of your choices will not lead to this result. However, it is still useful to know all your options before making the important decision of how to proceed in your case. These include the following:

    • Ignore the ticket. It is never a good idea to ignore a reckless driving ticket. If you do nothing after being ticketed for reckless driving, you may be found guilty by the judge at your hearing in your absence. A warrant may also be issued for your arrest.
       
    • Plead guilty or no contest. Another option would be to appear in court unrepresented and plead guilty or no contest. However, if you do this, you will be found guilty and end up with a permanent conviction. You will have a permanent criminal record that may affect your ability to obtain a job, a professional license, and more.
       
    • Represent yourself. While you may be tempted to represent yourself at your court hearing, the stakes of a conviction are high enough that this option is almost certainly not in your best interests. You may not know the technical requirements for the police officer to prove the charge, and you may be unaware of certain defenses that may apply. Moreover, you may lose out on the opportunity to have an experienced attorney negotiate on your behalf with the prosecution in order to potentially obtain a more favorable outcome.
       
    • Retain an attorney. Your best option is to retain an experienced traffic law attorney who has a record of success in handling reckless driving cases. The attorney can investigate the circumstances surrounding your ticket, raise any defenses you may have, and fight to get the ticket dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense.

    Pick the Right Option. Contact Our Office Today

    Were you charged with reckless driving? Make the right choice and contact our experienced traffic law attorneys today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation. We will explain your legal options and how we may be able to fight to get the ticket dismissed or reduced to a lesser traffic violation.

     

  • What is a protective order? What are the different types of protective orders?

    When referencing restraining orders or court orders prohibiting contact between individuals, you have probably heard the terms “emergency protective order,” “two-year protective order,” and “preliminary protective order” used interchangeably.  However, while they are all forms of restraining orders, they each have a different meaning.  

    Why Do People Get Protective Orders?

    Abused spouse seeking protection order in Virginia

    Protective orders are necessary and highly beneficial in a lot of abusive relationships, but people will often seek protective orders unnecessarily to gain leverage in domestic disputes.  Protective orders are civil matters; therefore, if you are served with a protective order it is not a criminal charge and you will not have a criminal record.  However, protective orders often go hand-in-hand with criminal matters.  Regardless of the reason, it is important you seek counsel if you need a protective order or have been served with one.

    Where Are Protective Order Hearings Held?

    Hearings will be held in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court if the alleged abuse is committed against a family or household member; otherwise, the hearing will be held in the General District Court.

    What Are The Different Types of Protective Orders?

    1. Emergency Protective Order

    An emergency protective order pursuant to Virginia Code § 16.1-253.4 is typically issued by a magistrate or judge upon the request of a law enforcement officer who issued a warrant for domestic assault and battery.  In other words, if someone is arrested for domestic assault, an emergency protective order will be issued to protect the victim.  These protective orders are short and only last for 72 hours.  The purpose of an emergency protective order is to provide the victim a safe window of time to file for a preliminary protective order.

    2. Preliminary Protective Order

    Preliminary protective orders pursuant to Virginia Code § 16.1-253.1 are the first step toward obtaining a permanent protective order.  Preliminary protective orders are issued by a judge if the victim can establish probable cause that he or she was recently abused or is in reasonable fear of being abused.  If abuse has been established, the judge will grant a preliminary protective order, which lasts for 15 days.  Because the respondent, or person against which the preliminary protective order is filed, has the right to have his or her side heard, a full hearing on the matter is set within those 15 days.  A judge will hear the evidence and then determine whether or not to grant a permanent protective order.

    3. Two-Year Protective Order

    A two-year protective order may be issued pursuant to Virginia Code § 19.2-152.1.  While many people refer to this as a “permanent” protective order, it is not permanent because it can only be issued for a maximum of two years in Virginia.  To grant the two-year protective order, a judge must find by a preponderance of the evidence that the victim has suffered an act of family abuse (Virginia Code § 16.1-228) or an act of violence, force or threat (Virginia Code § 19.2-152.7:1), placing him or her in fear. 

    What Kind of Protection or Relief Can I Get with a Protective Order?

    Virginia Code § 16.1-279.1 provides the remedies and relief the court can grant with the issuance of a two-year protective order.  This can range from exclusive use and possession of a residence and/or car, to temporary visitation, custody and/or child support related to couples’ children.

    What is a Protective Order Violation?

    Violation of a protective order can have serious consequences such as mandatory jail time and misdemeanor or felony convictions (Virginia Code § 16.1-253.2).  In other words, although the issuance of a protective order does not mean you have a criminal record, if you violate the order, you will be charged criminally.  You can violate a protective order simply by sending a text message or email, if the order requires absolutely no contact.  It is possible to fashion a protective order to allow for some communication if necessary (such as in cases of parents with shared custody of children); however, the court’s order must be strictly followed. 

    Can I Extend the Protective Order for More Than Two Years?

    Virginia Code § 19.2-152.10:B allows a protective order to be extended prior to the expiration of the two years if the court finds the victim needs further protection. 

    Each order provides a source of safety and protection to someone who has been abused; however, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney at Greenspun Shapiro if you would like to petition for a protective order or have been served with a protective order.