What are the consequences of a restraining order in Virginia?

A restraining order, also known as the order of protection, is a legal order issued by a court. Usually, a restraining order is issued when one person convinces the judge that he/she is harassed, stalked, abused and endangered.  The victim requests the judge and to grant them a restraining order as a means of protecting themselves from the threat he/she is facing. The conditions of the restraining order differ upon the behavior demonstrated and level of threat the person is up against. Many time the abuser is restrained from approaching the home, office work or any other place the victim is staying. The abuser may also be prohibited by the judge from contacting the victim in person or by phone or email. A restraining order is a legal order, and there are serious consequences for the abusers who intentionally violate the order issued against them.

A restraining order is just a piece of paper, but it has legally weight to prevent the people from harassing further or abusing the victims. The restraining order is mostly granted to a victim against a person or abuser when there is:

  • Chance of physical harm or bodily injury
  • The infliction of fear or due to physical damage or injury
  • Criminal sexual conduct

Typical Consequences for Restraining Order Violation

Restraining orders are typically granted in two stages. First the court issues ‘Temporary Restraining Orders’ known as “TROs” if there is a hint or feeling of physical, mental abuse and domestic violence.  On a hearing date set by the court, the TRO would be assessed by the court.  At this hearing, the judge may convert the TRO into “FRO” which is Final Restraining Order if there are clear proof and evidence of domestic violence.

An FRO would be issued after the court concludes that domestic violence occurred or when the alleged defendant concedes to have committed the abuse or domestic violence.

If an FRO is issued against the abuser, then he/she would at no cost be allowed to come in contact with the victim unless the court approves it.  There are different conditions if the case is between husband and a wife. The judge may also decide child custody decisions.

A person who violates the restraining order may either be forced to pay hefty fines or spend mandatory jail time or even both sometimes depending on the nature of the offense. Violation of restraining order is mostly charged as a misdemeanor, though sometimes it may also be considered a felony. For example, if the abuser is arrested for violating a restraining order, and this violation was done while the abuser was also involved in another crime like vandalism, theft or assault, then the offense would be taken as a felony. When the violation of the restraining order is a misdemeanor, the abuser may face at least a year in jail and few thousand dollars as a fine. Second and subsequent violations of FRO will result in a mandatory minimum of 30 days in county jail. When the offense is a felony, the abuser could get five years of imprisonment and significant monetary fines.

What are the consequences of a restraining order in Virginia? – call us at 888-437-7747.

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