What penalties may I face if I violate a protective order in Virginia?

Protective Order Paperwork and GavelYou face potential criminal charges if you violate an emergency protective order, a preliminary protective order, or a full protective order in Virginia. The charges and the potential penalties depend on the exact circumstances of your alleged violation.

Misdemeanor Penalties for Violating VA Protective Orders

Virginia Code § 16.1-253.2 provides that a violation of any provision of an emergency protective order, preliminary protective order, or permanent protective order is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor:

  • For the first offense. The penalty for a Class 1 misdemeanor is a possible jail term of up to 12 months, a fine of up to $2,500, or both a jail term and a fine up to those limits.
     
  • For the second time. If your second conviction is within five years of your first conviction and at least one of the convictions was based on an act or threat of violence, then your Class 1 misdemeanor penalty will include a 60 day mandatory minimum period of confinement. It could also include jail time up to one year and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

Felony Penalties for Violating VA Protective Order

A Virginia court may find you guilty of a Class 6 felony if you violate any provision of any type of protective order:

  • For a third or subsequent time within 20 years of first conviction if at least one of the offenses was an act or threat of violence. In these cases, you will face a mandatory minimum jail sentence of six months, and you could face a jail term of one to five years and a fine of up to $2,500.
     
  • While knowingly armed with a firearm or other deadly weapon. You could face a penalty of not less than one year and not more than five years in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. The penalty for violating the protective order is in addition to any sentence you may face for having a firearm or deadly weapon.
     
  • Committing an assault and battery resulting in bodily injury to the person protected by the protective order. The potential penalty for a Class 6 felony, in this case, is a jail term of one to five years and a fine of up to $2,500. You may also face charges and penalties for the assault and battery.
     
  • Stalking a person protected by the protective order. If you are found guilty of stalking a person who has a protective order against you, then you could face one to five years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500 in addition to any penalties you face if you are found guilty of stalking.
     
  • Entering the home of the person protected by the protective order while the person is home, or remaining in the home until the person returns. As with the examples provided above, you may face one to five years in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, and any penalties for charges related to the breaking and entering of the home.

For all felony and misdemeanor protective order violations, a jail sentence must be imposed even if a minimum jail time is not specified. Virginia law specifically prevents a court from suspending an entire jail sentence for people convicted of violating protective orders, meaning a conviction for any protective order violation will result in an active jail or prison sentence. Additionally, all convictions must result in the entry of a protective order for a period of up to two years. As with any criminal conviction, protective order violations will appear on your permanent record.

Take All Charges Seriously—Talk to a VA Protective Order Lawyer

Your freedom and your future are at stake. Don’t take any chances with your defense. Instead, contact our experienced Fairfax protective order attorneys today through this website or by phone to learn how we may be able to help with your defense.