PROTECTIVE ORDERS IN VIRGINIA
What Is a Protective Order
A Protective Order is a legal document issued by a judge or magistrate in Virginia. This Order provides legal protection for victims from unwanted contact either directly or indirectly except as authorized by the court. Protective Orders are issued 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. VA Code § 19.2-152.10.
How Do I Get a Protective Order
In order to get a protective order issued, you must show that you are 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. You will be required to work with the court services unit and clerk's office of the court in which you wish to have the order effectuated. Generally, the court will first issue a preliminary protective order which lasts for 15 days, followed by a full hearing on the matter before issuing a final protective order which is effective for two years. In cases where the perpetrator is a member of your family, you need to file with the Juvenile and Domestic Relations (JDR) Court of that jurisdiction. In all other cases, you will file in that jurisdiction's General District Court.
What to Expect
First, to obtain a Preliminary Protective Order, you will be required to make a sworn statement regarding the existing harm faced. The Order will be in effect until a full hearing on the matter takes place in which each party may be heard. Next, a full hearing on the matter will take place in which both parties will be heard. If the other party does not attend, you can still obtain the order on the day of the hearing.
What Happens If Someone Violates the Protective Order
If the Respondent ends up violating the terms of an issued protective order, they may be subject to immediate arrest and face charges under VA Code § 16.1-253.2, or by contempt of court. A violation of a protective order is punishable a class 1 misdemeanor with up to one year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. The punishments vary and become more severe upon subsequent convictions of violating a protective order.
How We Can Help
The Pickett Law Group, PLLC is an experienced law firm with two generations of former prosecutors, who have fought from both sides of the courtroom on all types of legal issues. Our firm has fought to have protective orders issued to victims, and fought to defend those who have been unfairly accused of violating protective orders. Contact us today and we will begin fighting on your behalf.