When a protective order is issued and served on the defendant, they are held to a strict adherence to the terms of the protective order. Any violation of a protective order, regardless of how minor, is punishable by a jail sentence. If the order indicates no contact, it means just that, no contact of any kind. Even a simple text message stating, “I’m sorry,” will be considered a violation.
A violation of a protective order is a Class one misdemeanor, and punishment for violating a protective order in Virginia is extremely severe. The law provides little discretion to a judge when issuing punishments once someone is found in violation. A first time violation (even for a simple text message like mentioned above) will result in a mandatory jail sentence. A judge is required to issue some period of jail time, and is further prohibited under the law from suspending all of that time. As a result, the mandatory minimum sentence for a first-time violation is a night in jail. For subsequent offenses involving an act or threat of violence, the punishments are far worse. A second offense within five years is a mandatory 60 days in jail; a third offense within 20 years is a felony carrying a mandatory 6 months in jail.
About James D. Garrett
J.D. Garrett is a criminal law attorney in the Virginia Beach office of Garrett Law Group, PLC. He has years of experience representing clients in the courts of Virginia Beach, Norfolk and surrounding areas.