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  • John C. Whitbeck, Jr.


    John C. Whitbeck, Jr. practices in the following areas of law: Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Mediation, Arbitration, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Criminal Law, DUI/DWI, Reckless Driving, All Felonies, All Misdemeanors, Juvenile Crimes, Mental Health Law, Civil and Business Litigation, Construction Litigation, Education Law, Election Law, Debt Collection, Consumer and Lemon Law.

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  • Ruth M. McElroy


    Ruth M. McElroy practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Pre and Post Marital Agreements, Domestic Violence, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Juvenile Crimes, Felony and Misdemeanor Crimes, Traffic Offenses, Debt Collection, Civil and Business Litigation. She serves the Virginia Court system as a Guardian ad litem.

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  • Jennifer D. Cisneros


    Jennifer D. Cisneros practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Juvenile Crimes, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Estate Planning, Wills and Probate, Trusts, Civil and Business Litigation and Debt Collection.

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Defending Against a Protective Order in Virginia


Protective orders, also known as restraining orders, service a crucial purpose in society. They are there to protect victims of abuse and keep perpetrators at bay. These orders ensure that if someone hurts another person again, there are additional legal consequences. However, not every accusation of violence or request for a protective order is valid. Sometimes they are an extreme reaction to a heated, yet non-violent argument or they are used to damage someone’s reputation. If you have an individual accusing you of violence and seeking a protective order against you, you have every right to defend yourself. To learn more about defending against a protective order, contact an attorney today.

Types of Protective Orders

Virginia provides a few different types of protective orders for violence victims, including:

  • An emergency protective order, issued by a judge or magistrate, which lasts 72 hours.
  • A preliminary protective order, issued by a judge, which lasts 15 days.
  • A permanent protective order, issued by a judge, which lasts up to 2 years and can be renewed.

Each of these protective orders can be based on various reasons, such as:

  • Physical violence;
  • Sexual assault;
  • Force or threats of violence that resulted in someone being hurt;
  • Threatening behavior that resulted in a person fearing death; or
  • Any of type of behavior that caused another person bodily injury.

To be able to effectively defend against a protective order, you need to know the types and the other party’s alleged basis for it.

Gather Evidence on Your Behalf

An emergency or temporary protective order can be granted without your knowledge or presence in court. However, you must be served the paperwork for a permanent protective order, which gives you the time and date to show up in court. Once you know when the court date is, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney and begin to gather evidence in your favor.

You will need to defend against the accusations of violence, sexual assault, or threats of violence. This will include telling your side of the story or presenting evidence that the other person is lying about the injury or exaggerating what happened. Types of evidence you might use include your testimony, witness testimony, photos, videos, electronic records like emails and texts, GPS data, and other documents or physical evidence.

Avoid Name Calling and Stick to the Facts

When you are facing a protective order than can ruin your reputation and harm your chances of advancing your career and romantic relationships, then it can be easy to fall into the trap of naming calling and attacking the other person’s character. This does not go over well in court. One of the reasons you should work with an attorney is to view this legal proceeding as objectively as possible and focus on defending yourself with facts.

Contact a Leesburg Family Law Attorney for Help

The experienced attorneys of Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC have a great deal of experienced in both family law and criminal defense, particularly where the two fields intersect. To learn more about your options and rights when facing a protective order, call us today at 703-997-4982.



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Governor Northam’s Executive Order 53 provides that businesses that offer professional rather than retail services may remain open. Our firm is continuing to operate to ensure you and your family have advocates available for whatever legal issue you face. For clients who prefer, we can arrange meeting by Zoom or other video-conferencing. We are also implementing internal procedures to provide a safe environment in the office. Please contact us at 703-777-1795 or schedule an appointment today!