In Virginia, there are two types of restraining orders. Protective orders for family abuse protect victims from abuse by a relation or someone with whom they have had an intimate relationship. Protective orders for stalking, sexual battery, and serious bodily Injury are unique in that they are only issued once a stalker or abuser has been arrested. No contact orders are one possible element of these restraining orders.
Protective Orders for Family Abuse
In Virginia, domestic violence is termed "family abuse," which occurs when a family or household member uses violence, force, or threats resulting in or placing you in fear of bodily injury. The law is governed by VA Legal Statute § 16.1-228.
Courts can issue an emergency protective order when courts are closed (such as for nights, weekends, or holidays), temporary protective orders to protect victims until their hearing, and permanent protective orders, which can last up to two years.
Protective Orders for Stalking, Sexual Battery, and Serious Bodily Injury
Protective orders for stalking, sexual battery, and serious bodily injury are issued by a judge in the case of stalking, sexual battery, or serious bodily injury. While most protective orders (including Virginia family abuse protective orders) are issued preemptively - that is, before a crime has actually occurred - these stalking protective orders are only issued once the courts have issued a warrant for the arrest of a stalker or abuser.
As with family abuse protective orders in Virginia, the courts can issue an emergency protective order when courts are closed, temporary protective order, and/or permanent protective orders.
No Contact Orders
No contact orders can be an addition to any protective order. No contact means the defendant (the alleged abuser) may not call or write to the victim in any form. They are also prohibited from any third party contact and all physical contact with the victim on their own part. This contact prohibition can also be extended to anyone else, such as minor children, who are protected under the protective order.
No contact orders can also be a condition of probation. Probationers can be prohibited from contacting victims or family members of victims of crimes for which they were convicted. They can also be prohibited from contacting co-conspirators of their crimes.
Penalty for Violations
If a defendant violates the no contact (or any other) portion of a protective order, law enforcement may be contacted and the defendant may be arrested.
Federal law also prohibits domestic violence offenders who have a protective order issued against them from owning, purchasing, and transporting firearms.
- police car up close image by Aaron Kohr from Fotolia.com