Modifying Protective Orders in Virginia

A Virginia protective order can be vacated or modified if conditions change, if the person who alleged the fear or injury is found to be not credible, and certainly if any information comes to light. If somebody has a protective order issued automatically because there was a criminal offense attached to it and that criminal offense is vacated, then at that point, that person can go back and ask for it to be vacated.

A Virginia protective order can be modified due to a number of reasons. To understand how your case may allow for a modification of your protective order, consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

Elements of the Order

If the protective order that was issued is overreaching—a standard protective order usually gives the alleged victim custody of the children if there are any, possession of the house and the vehicles, and usually has on it a provision for no termination of utilities and no-contact or at least a stay-away that the alleged perpetrator must abide by.

Often, especially when there are shared children or especially in a situation where perhaps the individual has their own vehicle or has their own house and for whatever reason got possession of the other person’s house, these things can be modified later on to better fit the situation. That has to be a separate petition with the court and the evidence has to be brought to the court that there is a reason to change it.

Extending the Order

Virginia protective orders can be modified and extended. The permanent protective order can be extended every two years. There has to be another full hearing where the judge determines fresh if there is going to be the reasonable fear aspect. If that still exists, the person that the protective order is going to be against has the opportunity to also present evidence and to argue that the protective order is no longer needed. The permanent protective order can be renewed that way.

The temporary protective order, which is a protective order that spans the time between an emergency protective order, which, again, is the first 48 hours to the hearing for the permanent protective order, is the bridge-the-gap protective order.

That will be extended if, for example, the hearing for the permanent protective order is continued. For example, an individual may enact a temporary protective order, which is only for two weeks, is about to end and there is a hearing for a permanent protective order scheduled and that hearing is continued, what will happen is the judge will extend the temporary protective order to bridge that gap up until the permanent protective order hearing is going to be held.

That is how that one Virginia protective order can be modified. A permanent protective order is going to have an every two-year renewal hearing where the person has to re-present the evidence and the other person can, again, argue against it.

Impact on a Criminal Case

A protective order can impact a person’s criminal case because it opens them up for further violations of law. It is hard to have no contact with somebody with whom an individual can share a house or children with but it also limits that person’s financial resources. They may not have the money anymore to hire an attorney or it may be difficult for them to collect the funds to hire an attorney. They have to find a new place to live. It could cause problems as far as notice from the court for documents that are getting sent to the old place when an individual cannot go there to pick up their mail.

That is also a problem for somebody’s criminal case because in order to defend themselves during them, they have to be put under oath. An individual might make statements that could then be used against them in criminal proceedings. On the flip side, the alleged victim is also making statements under oath and that can be used to discredit them later on if they are changing their story or if their story is something that can be disproved.

It cuts both ways but the fact that an individual has to make statements under oath in order to defend themselves in modifying a Virginia protective order does not help them if there is a criminal proceeding pending.

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