The 3 Types of Virginia Protective Orders

A protective order is a legal document issued by the court. Any person who is a victim of an act of violence, act of force, or who has been subjected to threats of bodily injury, sexual assaults or death, must ensure that a Virginia Protective Order is issued as quickly as possible. Although a Protective Order cannot ultimately stop an abuser who intends harm, it does put certain legal protections in place. If an abusive, violent, or threatening person violates the Order, he or she can be arrested. The three types of Protective Orders available in Virginia are as follows:

Emergency Protective Order (EPO)

These are three-day orders, and expire after 72 hours. A law enforcement officer will often request an EPO after a domestic violence arrest, or in cases in which a police officer believes there is probable danger of further harmful acts taking place. These orders must be issued by a magistrate or judge. An individual also has the right to petition the court for an EPO. No arrest is necessary, and many times no arrest in made, for an EPO to be issued by the court. If an Emergency Protective Order was issued and you or your family are still in fear or at risk of harm, you can ask the court for a Preliminary Protective Order.

Preliminary Protective Order (PPO)

These orders must be issued by a judge, and are in force for fifteen days, or until a court hearing takes place. A PPO should be obtained as soon as possible after an incident of abuse, act of violence, or threat. To obtain a PPO, you will be required to make a sworn statement. Based upon your statement, the judge will make a decision about issuing a PPO. The Order will continue to be in force until a full hearing takes place for each party to be heard, and the date of the hearing will be provided to you at the time the PPO is issued.


To get a 15-day Preliminary Protective Order, you will be required to submit specific forms for the court to review. The court at which you get the order will vary, based upon facts in your situation, and could be juvenile and domestic relations district court, or the general district court. The individual named in the order must be legally served. Your lawyer can help you with all of these details.

Protective Order (PO)

A Protective Order remains in force for up to two years. These orders are issued by a judge, after a full hearing in which both parties will be heard. If you do not attend the hearing after obtaining the Order, it will end on that day. If the other party (respondent) does not attend, you can still obtain the order.

Violations of a Virginia Protective Order

If a person named in a Protective Order violates the restrictions imposed, he or she is subject to an immediate arrest, and will be charged with a crime. If you are being stalked, are a victim of domestic violence, or are being threatened with bodily harm or death by another person, it is absolutely critical that you get the appropriate order in place as quickly as possible. Once the order is issued, it is advised that you keep a copy with you at all times, and report any violations to police at once.

Help with Virginia Protective Orders

At Kurylo Gold & Josey, PLC, we are available to help you get the correct Virginia Protective Order issued or to help defend against one if one has been issued against you. We will act fast, as we understand the urgency of gaining the protections available under state law. Call today for more information.

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Matt Kurylo

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