WHAT IS PROTECTIVE ORDER?
A protective order is a legal decree issued by a judge or magistrate that serves to protect the health & safety of a person who is a victim of acts involving: violence, force or threat of violence, or fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury.
Some examples include:
Assault and Battery
Death Threats and Similar Acts
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PROTECTIVE ORDERS?
There are 3 types of protective orders in Virginia: Emergency, Preliminary, and Permanent. An Emergency Protective Order ("EPO") can be issued by a magistrate judge to victims of abuse, violence, force, or serious threat. EPOs last for up to 72 hours or until the next court session, whichever is later. A Preliminary Protective Order ("PPO") can be petitioned for after an instance of abuse, violence, force, or threat. PPOs last for up to 15 days in Virginia, or until a full hearing can be heard by a judge. A judge may enter a Permanent Protective Order (for up to two years) after a full hearing if she determines that it's necessary to grant to the petitioner.
WHERE DO I FILE?
To get a preliminary protective order to protect you from someone other than a family member, you must file in the General District Court of your city, with the clerk's office. To get a preliminary protective order to protect you from a family member, you must file in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court of your city, with the Court Services Unit.
WHEN DOES THE ORDER BECOME EFFECTIVE?
A protective order is not effective until the person is “personally served" by a law enforcement officer or court official. If the abuser does not obey a protective order once it's in place, you should contact law enforcement. The person can then be arrested and criminal charges filed.
When filing your protective order, you want to be sure you file in the right Virginia court and choose the correct type of protective order. At JMA LAW, we can ensure this is done correctly. Our top priority is keeping you safe. If you are a victim to someone's violent, abusive, or threatening behavior, you should contact us to file your protective order today.