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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. They are technically legal documents 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.

Protective Orders In Virginia

In the Commonwealth there are three (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 third 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).

How Much Does It Cost To File For A Protective Order?

There is no charge to file for a protective order.

What Is A "No Contact" Provision in a Protective Order?

Your protective order may contain a "no contact" provision. "No contact" means the other person cannot contact you directly or indirectly except as authorized by the court.

Penalties For Violation Of A Protective Order

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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