A protective order is a document issued by a magistrate or a court to help you protect yourself, your children and other family or household members from someone who is hurting you or causing you fear. It can help to set clear limits with the person causing you harm and send a strong message that his/her behavior is wrong.
Protective orders are designed to prevent future violence or threats and can also provide a wide range of options to help protect you and/or your family and can be requested even if criminal charges haven’t been filed.
To qualify for a protective order, you must have been subjected to an act or threat of violence that results in bodily injury or places you in reasonable fear of death, or sexual assault.
You may be eligible for a protective order, if any of the following things caused an injury to your body; or someone threatened to do any of these things and you are in fear of them:
- Cut with an Object
- Forcefully Restrained
- Held Against Your Will
- Sexually Assaulted
- Threatened with a Gun, or Other Weapon
Emergency Protective Order (EPO)
An Emergency Protective Order will be requested automatically if an arrest for assault and battery has been made. The order is only issued by a Magistrate or a Judge, and the order expires 72 hours after it is issued. If the court is not in session, at the time of expiration, it will expire at 5 p.m. on the next business day that the court is in session.
Preliminary Protective Order (PPO)
A Preliminary Order can be obtained if a recent act of family abuse has occurred or in cases of immediate and present danger. Petitions should be filed directly by the petitioner (victim) at the Juvenile Domestic Relations Court Intake Office. Petitions can be requested without an attorney and there is no required fee.
The preliminary order lasts for 15 days and is effective after the abuser is personally served with the order. A full hearing will be held within the 15 days allowing the abuser an opportunity to respond. The order can be extended if the abuser/respondent can’t be served.
Permanent Protective Order (PO)
A Permanent Protection Order will be issued if the court finds that the petitioner (victim) has proven his/her allegation. The order will be valid for a specific amount of time up to 2 years, and the order is effective once it is served on the abuser.
The order can be extended for an additional two years if the petitioner requests such an extension or if a judge finds there is a need for extended protection. There is no limit on the number of extensions.
View additional information about protective orders in Virginia. To discuss your protective order options, please contact our Advocate by phone at 804-318-8264 or 804-706-2544