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3 Types of Protective Orders in Virginia

Protective Orders are legal orders issued by a Judge to protect the health and safety of someone who has been abused or who has been threatened in a way that would lead a person to be concerned about future abuse. When you are in danger, timely obtaining a Protective Order is of the highest importance. The entry of a Protective Order can restrict the abusive party from being physically near the victim or interacting with them in any way, depending on the terms of the specific order. 

In Virginia, there are three types of Protective Orders available:

Emergency Protective Order

A law enforcement officer can make a request to grant an Emergency Protective Order. This normally happens when they have arrested the other party or see evidence suggesting there has been bodily harm or threats of bodily harm. An Emergency Protective Order only lasts for three days and is intended to give immediate relief until the victim can petition the court for a Preliminary Protective Order. A person may also seek an Emergency Protective Order from the Court or Magistrate. After the three days, the Order will terminate if a Preliminary Protective Order is not sought. 

Preliminary Protective Order

A Preliminary Protective Order is issued by a Judge in response to your sworn statement on recent abuse or recent threats of abuse. You can receive a Preliminary Protective Order after receiving an Emergency Protective Order, or on its own. A Preliminary Protective Order can last for up to fifteen days. After fifteen days, the Court will have a Final Protective Order hearing or the Order will automatically terminate. The Judge does not have to hear the other party’s side of the case to grant a Preliminary Protective Order, but will for a Final Protective Order.

Final Protective Order

A Final Protective Order is also known as a Permanent Protective Order, although it is not permanent. After your Preliminary Protective Order, the other party will receive a summons to appear in Court and both sides will tell their side of the story. The Judge listens to both sides at the hearing, and then decides whether to grant a Final Protective Order. The Permanent Protective Order can be issued for any period of time, up to two years. 

Not all Final Protective Order hearings are the same. The hearing may be conducted with no contact between the two parties, some contact, or peaceful contact. The Final Protective Order also sets the specific duration and restrictions of the Final Protective Order, and what household members it covers. If either side is not happy with the terms of the Protective Order, it may be appealed to the Circuit Court. You, as the petitioner, may also ask the Court to terminate or amend the terms of the Order at any time. 

Consequences of a Protective Order

A Protective Order is a civil violation, not a criminal one. However, once a Protective Order has been issued, breaking it can result in criminal charges. Protective Orders can also have significant effects on couples getting divorced or individuals in a custody proceeding. If a person violates a Protective Order, criminal charges may be brought and the offender could receive jail time. Further, if a Protective Order is entered against a person under family abuse, they will be unable to possess a firearm during the duration of the Permanent Protective Order. 

How To Get Help

At Rinehart Bryant, PLLC, protecting your safety at all times is our top priority. If you need legal help involving a Protective Order, contact Rinehart Bryant, PLLC today! We help you like family would.

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