Fight Virginia protective order hearings tooth and nail
Fight any Virginia protective order petition you receive, says Fairfax criminal lawyer
Fight any Virginia protective order / no contact / stay away petition notice you receive. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that even when protective order proceedings are technically civil without a prosecutor, that the violation of an issued protective order — whether filed under Virginia Code § 16.1-279.1 or § 19.2-152.10 or in a non-final form, is a criminal and jailable offense. Unfortunately, a huge percentage of protective order hearings are preceded by emergency and/or preliminary protective orders (respectively EPO and PPO) that also risk convictions and sentences if violated. Consult timely with a qualified lawyer about how to address any protective order petition against you, and what to do when you learn of the issuance of an EPO or PPO. When you are an assault defendant in a Judicial and Domestic Relations District Court (JDR) proceeding, check with your Virginia assault lawyer about the possibility of also getting served a protective order petition. If you are an EPO or PPO respondent, talk with your lawyer or any other qualified lawyer about the possibility that an assault prosecution might follow.
No matter how unfair is the Virginia protective order law, it is a reality that you need to fight as such, rather than merely as an opportunity to complain
Ideally, all Virginia criminal defendants and protective order respondents will fight their cases in terms of obtaining as much victory and justice as possible, rather than to overdwell on any unfairness of the case against them nor the process involved. With Virginia criminal defense and protective order defense, I know I am on the side of the angels, even with clients who did in fact commit allegedly reprehensible offenses, because I view the criminal justice system as too unfair against criminal defendants, for starters. I use that zeal to give me the extra oomph of energy and winning ideas for my criminal defense clients rather than for standing on a soapbox in the courthouse. We need people pushing on both sides of the courthouse walls for change for fairness and civil liberties / Bill of Rights / Constitutional protections for criminal defendants, both through advocacy in the courthouse and lobbying and other peaceful actions outside the courthouse.
Fairfax protective order petitioners often will obtain free volunteer lawyers, so do not go to court alone expecting your opponent will have no attorney
Numerous lawyers — some of them particularly good advocates — volunteer to give free representation to Fairfax protective order petitioners. In Virginia in general, legal aid and volunteer organizations exist to provide free help to such petitioners. On top of that, so-called victim advocates will often appear in court to assist protective order petitioners and alleged assault victims. Think twice before appearing by yourself in court as a Virginia assault defendant or protective order respondent, not only because of the foregoing resources available to such petitioners and complainants, but because too many of your rights and liberty interests are at stake to not obtain a qualified lawyer to fight for you and your cause. Furthermore, the mere issuance of a final protective order (FPO) can have unexpected adverse collateral consequences, including to your security clearance if you have one.
What do I do if a Virginia protective order recipient claims I contacted them in violation of the order when I did not?
Virginia protective order petitions are often sought and obtained in the midst of deep fear, acrimony, or both, sometimes spurred on by relatives and friends of the petitioner. Do not expect fair play — even thought it is great when fair play is followed — from your opponent when a Virginia protective order respondent, or the person who has been issued a final protective order. In that regard, the protective order petitioner against you may claim to have received multiple texts and/or calls from you in violation of the EPO, PPO or FPO. Even if that is true, such allegations cannot always be proven under the hearsay and other Virginia rules of evidence. Sometimes the claim is a prevarication or might be based on someone else using your texting or email address or other device (or using your social media accounts or creating false social media accounts) or spoofing. Make sure that your lawyer is ready capably to fight such claims and to blunt their potential harm against you as much as possible. Scott Pease got jailed for two years for allegedly repeatedly violating the no contact part of the FPO against him, and the Virginia Court of Appeals affirmed that on appeal. Pease v. Commonwealth of Virginia, Record No. 0300-23-1 (Oct. 31, 2023) (unpublished). That should be enough to underline the great harm that can visit a person who receives a protective order and is found to have violated the order.
Fairfax criminal lawyer and assault defense lawyer Jonathan Katz relentlessly pursues your best defense against Virginia DUI, misdemeanor and felony prosecutions. You will see for yourself the great things that Jon Katz can do for you and your defense by the time you finish your first meeting with him. Call 703-383-1100 for your initial consultation with Jon.