If you have been accused of domestic abuse in Virginia, one of the most far-reaching consequences you might face is a protective order. There are three different types of protective orders in Virginia: emergency, preliminary, and general. Understanding what each of these protective orders means is critical to knowing how to proceed in your situation.
What Is a Protective Order?
The Commonwealth of Virginia uses the term “protective order” to describe what most people might call a “restraining order.” A court-issued protective order bars an individual from seeing or contacting protected family members. Additionally, the protective order may come with other stipulations.
Violating a protective order is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Violators may face up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
Emergency Protective Order
A court will issue an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) in each of the following circumstances:
- When an arrest is made for domestic assault and battery
- When there is reason to believe family abuse has occurred
- When there is reason to believe family abuse will occur
A police officer or an alleged abuse victim can petition the court for an EPO. The EPO will be in force for a minimum of 72 hours. It must end at 5:00 p.m. on a day when the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court is open. However, a police officer can request an extension of the EPO if the protected individual is incapable of doing so themselves.
Preliminary Protective Order
A court can issue a Preliminary Protective Order (PPO) to protect a family or household member from further acts of family abuse. This order remains in effect until the court holds a full protective order hearing.
To obtain a PPO, the petitioner must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that family abuse has recently occurred. This means it is more likely than not that family abuse took place.
PPOs can include provisions like:
- Prohibiting contact with the protected party
- Excluding the respondent from the residence
- Temporary custody and visitation arrangements
- Requiring the respondent to provide suitable housing for the petitioner
- Ordering the respondent to complete treatment, counseling, or other rehabilitation
When the court issues a PPO, it must notify both parties in writing of the date of a full hearing, which must occur within 15 days.
General Protective Orders
After a full court hearing, a judge can issue a protective order with provisions to prevent further family abuse. The order can be effective for up to two years.
The petitioner must prove by a preponderance of evidence that family abuse occurred. As part of a protective order, the court may:
- Award temporary possession of a residence
- Award temporary possession of a jointly-owned automobile
- Establish temporary custody and visitation guidelines
- Order the respondent to provide financial support
- Mandate the completion of treatment programs
- Prohibit purchases or transportation of firearms
The court may issue a PO only after providing notice to both parties and following a full hearing before a judge.
Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys in Chesapeake
Facing accusations of domestic assault can be a frightening experience, and some of the consequences can begin before you’ve been found guilty of anything. However, experienced criminal defense attorneys can help you understand your options and prepare a strong defense. The legal team at Shannon & Associates, P.A., has over 25 years of combined experience protecting clients in Chesapeake and Suffolk against all types of criminal allegations. Contact our office today or fill out our online form for a confidential consultation to learn more about how our Chesapeake family abuse defense lawyers can help you.