If you have been served with a protective order in Virginia, you may be scared and confused about what to do and what happens next. Here are some things you should know about the legal process and your rights if someone has obtained a protective order against you in Virginia.
- A protective order in Virginia is the equivalent in some states of a restraining order. It is a legal order, issued by a magistrate or a judge, requiring that you refrain from contact (all contact or certain types of contact) with another individual.
- If you violate a protective order, you can be charged with a crime.
- All of the protective order’s obligations may not be contained on the first page, so it is important that you read the entire document. Subsequent pages may include obligations relating to property.
- A Virginia protective order can apply to family members of the protected person; if family members are included, they will be listed on the first page of the order.
- Property-related obligations in a protective order can include allowing the person to maintain possession of a vehicle or a residence. It can also require you not to terminate utilities to a residence, or insurance on a residence or vehicle. You can be required to pay rent or utilities.
- A protective order cannot last for very long without the court giving you the opportunity to present evidence and argument in opposition to the petitioner’s requests. Orders protecting a person from abuse can be granted for 48 hours (emergency protective order), fifteen days (temporary protective order), or two years (permanent protective order). The law grants the right to a full hearing only when the court is considering a permanent (two-year) protective order.
- You can be represented by an attorney in the permanent protective order hearing. You do not have the right to an attorney free of charge, however, so you have the responsibility to hire an attorney if you want one.
The attorneys at Krum Gergely & Oates have extensive experience representing both petitioners and respondents in protective order cases: call now for a consultation. We have represented many clients in protective order cases related to both criminal and family law matters, so make sure to mention any related concerns when you speak with us about your case.