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Virginia Protective Orders Laws

Protective orders, also called "restraining orders," require a named individual (typically, those charged with domestic violence or stalking) to stay a specified distance away from a named victim, for a certain amount of time. Virginia protective order laws remain in effect for up to 72 hours for emergency orders, and up to a maximum of two years. Violation of a restraining order is considered contempt of court and charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Virginia's protective order laws, with links to additional articles and resources.

Code Section 16.1-253, et seq.
Activity Addressed by Order Enjoin contact; exclude from dwelling or provide alternative housing; regarding minors: visitations; use of motor vehicle
Duration of Order Emergency: 72 hrs. after issuance
Penalty for a Violation of Order Contempt of court and Class 1 misdemeanor; no suspension of term
Who May Apply for Order Any person or the court.
Can Fees Be Waived? Yes
Order Transmission to Law Enforcement Copy to local police department or sheriff's office
Civil Liability for Violation of Order Yes, contempt of court

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Virginia criminal defense attorney or domestic violence lawyer, or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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