The Three Types of Protective Orders in Virginia

Protective orders are issued by a court to protect the safety of a person who was threatened or abused. Protective orders are civil remedies and not criminal ones. However, once a judge has issued a protective order, if it is broken, it can result in criminal charges.

Protective orders legally restrict the actions of the abusive party from physically being in the vicinity of the victim. If a protective order is entered after domestic violence or family abuse, the individual against whom the order was issued cannot possess a firearm for the duration of the protective order.

Protective orders can also have repercussions for a couple getting a divorce and undergoing custody proceedings.

The state of Virginia has three types of protective orders.

Emergency Protective Orders

An emergency protective order can be requested by a law enforcement officer when the officer believes there is a probability of danger to an individual. Such an order can only be granted by a judge or magistrate. These orders expire after 72 hours. An individual can also petition the court for an emergency protective order.

In all instances, no arrest is necessary for a judge to issue the order. If the respondent attacks or threatens the victim after an emergency protective order has been issued, they face harsh criminal penalties. In Virginia, the respondent cannot contact the victim or the victim’s family. The order grants temporary possession of the home to the victim and their family in cases of family abuse.

An emergency protection order is issued without a hearing, which places a burden on the respondent. Virginia has provided safeguards, including that an emergency protective order is not considered evidence of any crime, and the respondent can challenge the order at any time.

Preliminary Protective Orders

A preliminary protective order is issued by the judge and does not expire for 15 days. The order requires the petitioner to make a sworn statement about the abuse, violence, or threat to their person. The judge uses this to decide whether to grant the preliminary protective order.

A full hearing is then set so both parties can be heard. There are specific forms that need to be submitted to the court, and the individual named in the order (respondent) must receive a legal copy. It is crucial that you are represented by an experienced family law attorney if you are requesting a preliminary protective order or are defending yourself against one.

Permanent Protective Orders

If you’re the respondent (meaning that someone has requested a protective order against you) and you appear without representation, a hearing before a judge may result in a permanent protective order that stays in force for up to two years.

These orders are issued only after a full hearing in which both sides have the opportunity to present their case. However, even if the respondent does not attend the hearing, the petitioner can still get an order.

The judge decides based on what is in the best interest of the petitioner and the family. One factor the judge considers is whether this order will protect the health and safety of the family based on the history of the respondent. The court also evaluates any warrants or convictions of the respondent for the original crime.

Every two years, the petitioner can request a renewal of the protective order that provides temporary custody of minor children to them. Additionally, the respondent is responsible for child support to the petitioner. They may also be required to pay the petitioner’s costs and attorney fees.

Contact Pincus Goodman P.C. Today for Help with Family Law Issues

If you have been threatened or abused or are a respondent in a protective order, you need an experienced and compassionate family law attorney to represent your rights. The issues in family law are often emotionally charged and can be complicated.

Our skillful attorneys will fight for your rights and work to protect your future. Contact the office of Pincus Goodman P.C. today at (757) 301-9634 for your confidential consultation.


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