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Posted by John A. Kassabian | Aug 09, 2022

Learning a protective order has been issued against you can be shocking. You may wonder what effects it will have on your life—both personal and professional. Will it show up on background checks and make it more difficult for you to get a job? Will you have a criminal record? You may feel wronged or tempted to take steps to resolve the matter.

The best thing you can do is work with an attorney with a great deal of experience in domestic violence matters. John Kassabian of Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C., in Fairfax, VA, can help you. Contact his office for a free consultation.


Many people feel confused about whether Virginia protective orders are civil or criminal. Protective orders (also known as restraining orders) are legal documents. They are categorized as civil rather than criminal cases, and once the order is issued, they will appear on your criminal record and will show up on criminal background checks. Additionally, civil cases are searchable through the Commonwealth of Virginia courts website.

Grounds for a restraining order in Virginia include perpetration of domestic violence, which is sometimes referred to as "family abuse." This usually refers to violent or forceful acts that result in injury, but it can also mean threats that cause some to fear “death, sexual assault, or bodily injury” at the hands of the abuser.


Just because you are not saddled with a criminal conviction when a judge grants a civil protective order against you, that does not mean there will be no consequences. Protective orders can cause the individual identified as the aggressor/abuser not to have contact with the petitioner or victim, lose possession of their residence (temporarily or permanently), or access to their vehicle. They may restrict your ability to see your children or your pets or possess a firearm (among other restraints).

And, if you are found to be in violation of a protective order, you will face criminal chargesViolation of a protective order results in a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to $2,500 and/or up to 12 months, where the court is required to impose an active period of jail time. Repeated violation of a protective orders faces escalating punishments. For example, a third offense results in a Class 6 felony and mandatory minimum jail time of six months.


Having a protective order against you is a serious situation. Though Virginia protective orders are civil matters, it is still a good idea to consult with a criminal defense lawyer. An attorney can work with you to craft a defense and represent you at your hearing. They can also advise you in all matters related to your protective order and help you through the process if your order is extended or made permanent. John Kassabian has been assisting people in this situation for many years, and he can work with you to figure out the best way to respond to your particular scenario. Call himfor a free consultation.

About the Author

John A. Kassabian

John A. Kassabian joined the family firm in 2002 after having served as a Prosecutor in Fairfax County and Prince William County. Specializing in criminal defense, traffic defense and civil related matters, John has an extensive criminal law background and has handled a wide variety of cases for ...

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