How Do I Obtain a Protective Order?

A person fills out and answers a couple of questions about the restraining order they are filing with a black pen.

Protective orders can be obtained in two different ways in Virginia. First, protective orders can be automatically issued for the protection of a crime victim following a defendant’s arrest. Second, any person can make a sworn statement before a magistrate.

Both methods can result in the issuance of an Emergency Protective Order (“EPO”), which is good for up to 72 hours. If the person wants the EPO to be extended, they must appear in court before the expiration of the EPO and explain to the judge why they have a “reasonable apprehension of harm” from the other person. This hearing is “ex parte,” meaning that only the person seeking the PPO is allowed in the courtroom. The judge then decides whether a Preliminary Protective Order (“PPO”) should be granted. If granted, the PPO lasts for up to 14 days, and the judge will set a trial date to determine if a full (sometimes called “final”) Protective Order should be granted.

Is it important to speak with an attorney about a protective order?

Without a doubt! The seasoned attorneys at Select Law Partners, with their extensive experience in handling protective order matters, understand the complexities involved, even when an arrest has been made and the other party has been charged with a crime. To secure a protective order, the petitioner must demonstrate they have endured ‘an act of family abuse‘ and that a protective order is necessary to ‘safeguard the health and safety of the petitioner and family or household members of the petitioner.’ Given that Virginia law has a specific definition for ‘family abuse,’ it’s always wise to consult with an attorney from Select Law Partners to assess if these requirements can be met.

When should I consult with an attorney about a protective order?

If you’re seeking a protective order and require legal representation, it’s crucial to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. This is especially true if no arrest has been made and a sworn statement before a magistrate will be necessary to obtain an EPO. However, the most common time to consult with an attorney is after the PPO hearing and when a trial date has been scheduled.

I’ve Been Served with a Protective Order? What do I do?

We recommend that you contact one of our criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible. A court’s granting of a protective order against you can affect your employment, your ability to contact family members, and to possess and transport firearms, among other important matters in your life. If you are facing a criminal charge, there are certain rights applicable in that criminal case that do not apply in the protective order case. Therefore, it is critical to speak with an attorney to ensure all of your rights are protected.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney at Select Law Partners PLLC for Guidance

At Select Law Partners PLLC, we know that securing a protective order can provide invaluable protection and peace of mind during challenging times.  Call our team at (703) 740-3418 to schedule a consultation and allow us to guide you through the process and ensure your safety and rights are safeguarded.

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Bennett Brasfield

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