A protective (also known as the restraining order) is filed by a person when he feels unsafe and finds a need to be protected against some threat. In Virginia, the term protective order is used more frequently. Gaining a protective order means that a person wants to keep himself safe someone who intends to harms them physically or sexually or is threatening them to harm or kill them. Obtaining this order means you prevent this person from approaching or even contacting you
Petitioner is the person who files for the order while the respondent is the potential offender against which the protective order is granted.
The two categories of protective orders that exist in Virginia are:
- General protective orders
- Protective orders in cases of family abuse
There are separate Virginia code sections governing the terms for both of these protective orders.
General District Court deals with the General protective orders while Juvenile and Domestic Relations (JDR) District Court is where family abuse protective orders are dealt with. Each of these has essentially the same purpose, giving the petitioner the necessary safety by keeping the respondent away and prevent any sort of contact to the petitioner. The family abuse protective orders work to provide specifically related relief. This could include possession of a living place or a transport option or may make the respondent pay child support while the order is valid.
How to Obtain a Protective Order
It is necessary before filing that which kind of order you need to file for your current security situation.
The process for obtaining a protective order is essentially the same as both kinds. The courts in Virginia want to simplify the process as much as they can. This can be highlighted through the fact that there is no filing fee for both of these orders.
Types of Protective Orders
Depending upon the urgency of the harm of the threat, protective orders can be of multiple kinds.
Emergency Protective Order
It lasts for only three days. These are typically obtained by law enforcement agents when the situations are so intense that one cannot afford to go through the laborious process of filing the petition and waiting for the court to process. If the threats extend well after the three days, the petitioner needs to file for the preliminary restraining order.
Preliminary Restraining Order
This one typically lasts for 15 days or until a decision is reached in a hearing. In the full hearing, the court decides for the need of third and the final type of the restraining order, i.e., Full Protective Order.
Full Protective Order
These may last up to two years.
How much Harm is Considered Sufficient for a Protective Oder to be Granted?
It is essential to demonstrate on front of the session judge that there has either act or threat of violence committed by the respondent against the petitioner. It needs to be demonstrated that a protective order is necessary for the physical and mental protection the petitioner and/or his family.
While in cases of protective orders for family abuse, it needs to be demonstrated that acts and threats of violence have been committed by the offender.