Restraining orders are also variably called injunctions or protective orders. It may be surprising for many to learn that almost any individual can seek a protective order against you in Virginia. This could be based upon any number of grounds required for restraining orders. But fundamentally, it can be done out of fear of imminent danger or harm, which connects itself with domestic abuse. The allegations within these orders can be very severe even if they’re based on falsehoods.
When it comes to marital or domestic relationships, a partner can find themselves defending against a petition related to restraining orders on the basis of some abuse or apprehension. The defendant, in this case, might not even have a complete understanding or knowledge of the allegations leveled against them. This usually places the accused in tremendous disadvantage. However, that is not to say that the defending party cannot take steps to dismiss the allegations.
In basic terms, a restraining order is a court order that prevents the accused from establishing any direct contact with the petitioner.
What are the types of Protective Orders in Virginia?
The Commonwealth of Virginia details a few types of restraining orders for claims of violence, this includes:
- Emergency injunctions issued by judges which last for seventy-two hours.
- Preliminary injunctions issued by judges which last for fifteen days.
- Permanent injunctions issued by judges which can last up to two years with the option of renewal.
All of these restraining orders are based on a plethora of reasons. It is crucial to understand that injunction petitions can be filed rather easily and sometimes without proper justifications. An instance of this is when a spouse obtains a restraining order against their spouse before a divorce trial to have leverage on custodial issues. Largely, restraining orders can be based on
- Physical violence or threat of violence
- Sexual assault
- Severely threatening behavior that resulted in reasonable apprehension and fear of harm
- Any behavior that caused bodily injury to the other person
How to defend myself against a restraining order in Virginia?
First off, to be sufficiently able to defend against any injunctions you must first understand the grounds and types presented above. However, a comprehensive defense will more often than not depend substantially on the type of restraining order and lawsuit that is under process.
Gather Evidence that supports your case. The law can provide an emergency or temporary injunction even without your knowledge or presence. For a permanent injunction, however, you must be served the documents which give the time and date for your court hearing regarding the restraining order.
Defending yourself, in either case, will require you to put up with all sorts of accusations; violence, battery, assault including sexual assault, and threats including threats of death. And hence your side of the story will most substantially depend on proving that the other person is lying or exaggerating their claims. In this regard, a lot of things can be classified as credible proofs; this includes emails, texts, GPS data, social media engagements, etc.
Stick to facts and don’t be impulsive, restraining orders based on false accusations can cause massive emotional duress to the wrongfully accused, and they become prone to acting out of impulse or disproportionately. These impulses, if seen by any witness or the jury in a trial, can severely negate your positive case.
Get legal protection and representation in the form of legal counsel, or hire an attorney to deal with your restraining order case in Virginia. Since the restraining order area is prone to ambiguity and false claims, a lawyer will serve your interests in the best and most pragmatic way possible.