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What are the Different Types of Protection Orders in Virginia?


In order to protect victims of domestic violence and similar family abuse, Virginia law provides for three different types of protection orders. These orders help protect victims from future abuse in a number of ways, including legal prohibition of future contact and similar measures. There are generally three types of protection orders under Virginia law — Emergency Protective Orders, Preliminary Protective Orders, and “Permanent” Protective Orders.

  1. Emergency Protective Orders

An emergency protective order (EPO) is available to abuse victims and law enforcement officers upon request. This type of order generally occurs pursuant to an arrest for domestic violence or similar family abuse, force, or threats.

After receiving a request for an EPO, a Virginia magistrate or judge reviews the situation and decides whether to grant or deny the request. If issued, an EPO generally lasts for 72 hours.

In order to protect the victim’s safety, an EPO may mandate that:

  • The perpetrator abstain from any further contact with the victim or their family members;
  • The perpetrator refrain from any further violence, force, or threats that could result in property damage, personal injury, or death;
  • The victim receives sole possession and ownership of a pet or companion animal; and
  • Any similar measures necessary to protect the victim or their family members.
  1. Preliminary Protective Orders (PPOs)

A preliminary protective order (PPO) can only be issued by a Virginia judge. This type of order generally occurs pursuant to an alleged incident of domestic violence or family abuse. Traditionally, the victim requests a PPO from a state court judge. These orders typically last for 15 days or until a “permanent” protective order is issued.

In order to protect the victim’s safety, an EPO may mandate substantially similar conditions as the EPOs described in the previous section. Furthermore, it is possible to issue a PPO without the alleged perpetrator being present.

  1. “Permanent” Protective Orders (POs)

A “permanent” protective order (PO) can only be issued by a Virginia judge. This type of order generally occurs following the issuance of a PPO. During a PO hearing, both the victim and the alleged abuser are usually present.

A Virginia judge may issue a PO for a period of up to 24 months. At the end of that two-year period, the victim may request an extension. A state court judge may grant such an extension for another 24 months. There is not a limit on the number of PO extensions available to a victim under Virginia law.

In order to protect the victim’s safety, a PO may mandate substantially similar conditions as the EPOs and PPOs described in the previous sections.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If you need legal help with domestic violence or protection orders in Virginia, it is beneficial to speak with a trusted Leesburg domestic violence attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers, LLP, servicing Leesburg, Winchester, Fairfax, and Manassas, have a trusted reputation in matters of criminal defense across Virginia, including domestic violence and protection orders. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.


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Contact the Leesburg, Winchester & Loudoun County Attorneys of Simms Showers LLP today

Simms Showers LLP is conveniently located two blocks from the Loudoun County Courthouse. Our criminal defense firm offers a free phone consultation for criminal or personal injury cases. Se habla español. Call Simms Showers LLP for quality legal counsel today at 703-997-7821 or contact us online.

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