Violation of a Protective Order: Va Code 18.2-60.4
A Protective Order (P.O) is not, itself, a criminal case or punishment. Violation of one, however, is a serious criminal offense found at Va. Code 18.2-60.4.
Virginia Law On Violating a Protective Order
A. Any person who violates any provision of a protective order issued pursuant to § 19.2-152.8, 19.2-152.9, or 19.2-152.10 is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Conviction hereunder shall bar a finding of contempt for the same act. The punishment for any person convicted of a second offense of violating a protective order, other than a protective order issued pursuant to subsection C of § 19.2-152.10, when the offense is committed within five years of the prior conviction and when either the instant or prior offense was based on an act or threat of violence, shall include a mandatory minimum term of confinement of 60 days. Any person convicted of a third or subsequent offense of violating a protective order, other than a protective order issued pursuant to subsection C of § 19.2-152.10, when the offense is committed within 20 years of the first conviction and when either the instant or one of the prior offenses was based on an act or threat of violence, is guilty of a Class 6 felony and the punishment shall include a mandatory minimum term of confinement of six months. The mandatory minimum terms of confinement prescribed for violations of this section shall be served consecutively with any other sentence
B. In addition to any other penalty provided by law, any person who, while knowingly armed with a firearm or other deadly weapon, violates any provision of a protective order with which he has been served issued pursuant to § 19.2-152.8, 19.2-152.9, or 19.2-152.10, other than a protective order issued pursuant to subsection C of § 19.2-152.10, is guilty of a Class 6 felony.
C. If the respondent commits an assault and battery upon any party protected by the protective order, other than a protective order issued pursuant to subsection C of § 19.2-152.10, resulting in bodily injury to the party or stalks any party protected by the protective order in violation of § 18.2-60.3, he is guilty of a Class 6 felony. Any person who violates such a protective order, other than a protective order issued pursuant to subsection C of § 19.2-152.10, by furtively entering the home of any protected party while the party is present, or by entering and remaining in the home of the protected party until the party arrives, is guilty of a Class 6 felony, in addition to any other penalty provided by law.
D. Upon conviction of any offense hereunder for which a mandatory minimum term of confinement is not specified, the person shall be sentenced to a term of confinement and in no case shall the entire term imposed be suspended.
So what does this mean?
According to subsection D, any Violation carries a required term of confinement, but does not provide any actual minimum amount of jail time. Otherwise, a first violation is a Class 1 Misdemeanor.
A second offense in 5 years carries a mandatory minimum 60 days, if either offense involved an actual act of violence (compared with violating by entering upon a premises).
A third offense (or more) in 20 years is a Class 6 Felony, and carries a mandatory minimum 6 months.
Regardless of previous offenses, an assault & battery, or sneaking into the home of the protected party, in violation of a Protective Order, is a Class 6 Felony.
The Other Party is Contacting Me
If there is a Protective Order against you, then that P.O. was entered by a Court. Only the Court can change it.
If someone has an P.O. against you, you can be charged with violating it, even if they have been reaching out to you, calling you, coming to your house, having friends reach out on their behalf, or anything similar. If you are caught with them, near them, or talking to them, and if that is against the terms of the P.O., you will be charged.
Whatever the other person does, it will not stop you from being charged and convicted for a violation. Because you are prosecuted by the Commonwealth, the other party cannot change their mind and simply decide to “drop the charges.”
The only correct way to address this situation is with a Motion to Amend or Motion to Dissolve the Order. Our attorneys are happy to discuss this option with you.
What Does My Protective Order Say?
Protective Orders will all prohibit acts of violence. Beyond this, though, they can be quite individualized. It is imperative that you be familiar with the exact provisions of your Order. The can include “no contact” with or without exceptions (like arranging child care for shared children), staying out of or away from a particular building, and other particular provisions depending on the circumstances.
Hire a Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with this, or any other Virginia crime, contact our Northern Virginia Defense Attorneys to learn how we can help you.