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.
In Virginia, there are 3 kinds of Protective Orders that can protect you and others in your family or home: (1) Emergency Protective Order (expires at the end of the 3rd day following issuance or the next day court is in session, whichever is later), (2) Preliminary Protective Order (lasts 15 days or until a full hearing), (3) Protective Order (may last up to 2 years). You should look on the Order for the date and time it expires.
If you need protection for a longer period of time, you must ask the court for a Preliminary Protective Order. If you are a defendant charged with domestic assault and battery, an Emergency Protective Order will automatically be issued. You should look on the Order for the date and time it expires. Most Protective Orders have a “no contact” provision, which means you cannot contact the other person directly or indirectly except as authorized by the court. Be careful: a violation of a Protective Order can result in your being arrested and separate criminal charges being filed.
If you want to request a Preliminary Protective Order for protection from a family or household member or a juvenile, or if you are a juvenile, you should go to the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. Otherwise, you should go to the General District Court.
In order to get a Preliminary Protective Order, you will have to fill out court forms. If the matter will be in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, you file the forms with the Court Services Unit. If it will be the General District Court, you file the forms in the Clerk’s Office.
There is no cost to file for a Protective Order. And remember – no contact means no contact; no texts, no calls, no e-mails, no Facebook, no nothing!
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