Protective Orders in Virginia – FAQ
Here’s some basic information regarding Protective Orders, sometimes called Restraining Orders, in Virginia.
If you believe you are in danger, call 911 immediately.
- Are restraining orders and protective orders the same thing?
- Yes. In Virginia, Protective Order is sometimes referred to as a Restraining Order, but it refers to the same document.
- What is a Protective Order?
- A Protective Order is a legal document issued by a judge or magistrate to protect the health and safety of a person who is alleged to be a victim of any act involving violence, force or threat that results in bodily injury or places that person in fear of death, sexual assault or bodily injury.
- There are three types of Protective Orders.
- Emergency Protective Order – expires at the end of the third day after issuance. You may seek to have the order extended before it expires.
- Preliminary Protective Order – lasts fifteen days or until a full hearing.
- Protective Order – may last up to two years.
- What does it take to get a Protective Order?
- An Emergency Protective Order is often issued by a magistrate in order to protect someone until they can get to court and seek a Preliminary Protective Order.
- To obtain a Preliminary Protective Order, you’ll need to go to Juvenile and Domestic Relations (J&DR) Court if the person you’re seeking the order against is a family or household member, is a juvenile, or if you are a juvenile. Otherwise, you’ll go to General District Court.
- You’ll need the name, physical address (where the person can be found), and identifying information of the person against whom you’re seeking the order. You’ll need to provide a full description of the events leading up to your seeking the order. You’ll also need to bring any relevant documents related to the case (warrants, other protective orders, etc.)
- Can I contact the person against whom I took out the Protective Order?
- Unless specifically allowed in the Protective Order, no. If you must sometimes contact the other party you should explain that to the judge when you apply for the Protective Order.
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This content is for basic informational purposes only and is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.