In May 2010, after the death of a University of Virginia lacrosse player received national attention, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell signed a bill into law that made protective orders available to anyone in fear of an act of violence, which Virginia law clearly defines as “any act involving violence, force, or threat that results in bodily injury or places one in reasonable apprehension of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury.”

Because this definition is broad, it allows almost anyone to file a protective order who alleges abuse or threats of violence. This new provision of state law that went into effect on July 1, 2011 has increased the number of applications:

  • Fairfax County had three times as many protective order requests in 2011 than in 2010.
  • Prince William County General District Court granted 87 protective orders in 2011, up from the 15 in 2010.
  • Protective orders granted statewide increased about 15 times in the last six months of 2011 compared to the same time the previous year.

According to data compiled by the Virginia Supreme Court upon request of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, between July 1 to Dec 31, 2011, there were 4,941 emergency protective orders and 2,015 full protective orders granted compared to 272 emergency orders and 141 full protective orders during the same six month period in 2010.

Although some of these protective orders are legitimate, more people are now filing frivolous or vindictive protective orders in the Commonwealth of Virginia. If you have been the subject of an unfair protection order, you need to talk with an experienced Prince William criminal defense attorney immediately to discuss your defense strategy and your options. Contact the Taylor Law Company at 888-209-6631 or 703-385-5529 today.

Gretchen L. Taylor
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