Virginia Protective Orders Attorneys
Obtaining protective orders can help ensure that you and your family members are safe in the event that you are experiencing domestic violence or other serious issues related to someone close to you. When you need assistance obtaining a protective order in the Commonwealth of Virginia, we are here to help.
At Randall & Bruch, PC, our Virginia protective order attorneys understand the laws surrounding these issues, and they are ready to help. Our family lawyers regularly assist clients in the Southampton, Emporia, Brunswick and Suffolk areas, so do not hesitate to call us today for a free consultation.
A Protective Order Can Be Used To Help Victims
The courts in Virginia allow protective orders to be issued in order to help victims get away from dangerous situations. It is crucial that any person be able to obtain a protective order to ensure their safety if they:
- Have been the victim of an act of violence, force or a threat
- Have sustained a bodily injury
- Reasonably believe they could suffer from a bodily injury, sexual assault or death
There are a variety of cases that may lead to a protective order being the best way to protect a victim. This can include:
- Family abuse
- Assault and battery
- Sexual assault
- Stalking or harassment
- Death threats or similar behavior
Protective orders are most commonly used in instances of family abuse. When we turn to Virginia Code § 16.1-228, we can see that family abuse occurs when a person commits “any act involving violence, force, or threat that results in bodily injury or places one in reasonable apprehension of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury and that is committed by the respondent against the petitioners, the petitioner’s family, or other household members.”
Family abuse applies to victims of the abuser’s family and household members, including:
- Spouses, regardless of whether they reside in the same home as the abuser
- Former spouses, regardless of whether they currently reside in the same home as the abuser
- Parents, stepparents, children, stepchildren, brothers, sisters, half-brothers, half-sisters, grandchildren or grandparents, regardless of whether they live in the same household as the abuser
- Mothers-in-law, fathers-in-law, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, but only if they live in the same home as the abuser.
We want to point out that this definition of family abuse and the issuance of protective orders will apply in cases involving children when the parents are not married as well. This can affect those who:
- Have a child in common
- Cohabitate with one another
- Have cohabitated with one another within the last 12 months
- Are children who have resided in the same home as a cohabitating parent within the previous 12 months
Types Of Protective Orders In Virginia
In Virginia, the courts are authorized by law to issue three types of protective orders when dealing with family abuse allegations. These include emergency protective orders, preliminary protective orders and protective orders.
Emergency Protective Orders
These orders can be obtained 24 hours a day, every day of the week. That is an incredibly important aspect for anyone to understand because emergency issues often arise outside of normal business operating hours. Emergency protective orders can be issued by any circuit court, general district court, juvenile and domestic relations court or magistrate.
If the courts are closed when you need an emergency protective order, a magistrate will be available in the area where you reside who can issue these orders. If the matter at hand is related to a police response, law enforcement officials may also be able to obtain an emergency protective order on your behalf.
These orders can be based solely on the statements you make to law enforcement or the magistrate and do not require any additional evidence. However, these issues expire automatically at 11:59 p.m. on the third day following issuance (unless the court is not in session on that third day, then the order will expire the following day). In order to continue a protective order, you will need to file a petition for a preliminary protective order in the juvenile and domestic relations court for the jurisdiction that issued the emergency protective order.
Preliminary Protective Orders
A preliminary protective order is designed to provide victims with protection from alleged perpetrators of abuse while they are awaiting a court date for evidence to be heard on whether to implement a full protective order. The hearing must be held within 15 days of the issuance of the preliminary protective order.
The courts are allowed to issue preliminary protective orders without notice to the defendant if the person seeking the order states, under oath, that they face “immediate and present danger” or “evidence sufficient to establish probable cause that family abuse has recently occurred.”
At the hearing, both parties will be able to present evidence to the court. If the allegations are proven, the court may issue a full protective order.
In cases involving family abuse, the court may decide to issue a protective order to protect the health and safety of the petitioner, the petitioner’s family or their household members. The court can issue protective orders for a specific period of time, but no more than two years total. Prior to the expiration of a protective order in Virginia, the petitioner may file a motion requesting an extension.
Contact Us For Help With Your Case Immediately
At Randall & Bruch, PC, our Virginia protective order lawyers thoroughly understand the laws regarding these issues, and they are ready to get to work helping you today. Our attorneys are here to help when you need assistance obtaining a protective order against someone who has harmed or threatened to harm you or your family. They regularly assist clients in the Southampton, Emporia, Brunswick and Suffolk areas. You can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling 757-742-6115.