Protective Orders: Virginia Law
IF YOU’RE IN DANGER
Dial 911 immediately if you believe you or a family member are in imminent danger. Whether or not you have a protective order in place to stop abuse or address other issues, call the police if you feel you’re threatened with bodily harm.
IF YOU’VE BEEN SERVED WITH A PROTECTIVE ORDER
You have clear rights and responsibilities if you have been duly served with a protective order. Most importantly, do not violate the order. Seek legal counsel to understand what it means and what you can and cannot not do in response to the order.
PURPOSE & TYPES OF PROTECTIVE ORDERS
Generally speaking, a protective order is meant to keep someone from being able to have further contact with you (and/or others designated in the order) for a specific time period. For example, you may obtain a protective order to:
- Prevent physical abuse
- Stop unwanted phone calls
- Stop unwanted visits
- Prevent contact with your children, coworkers, family, and friends
- A protective order can, and very often does, grant custody to one party. However, it is a temporary, time-limited order, and does not prevent either side from filing for permanent custody.
Virginia law provides for three types of protective orders. We can explain the details of how each one works during our consultation.
- Emergency Protective Order (EPO) – lasts for 72 hours or until the next session of court, whichever is later
- Preliminary Protective Order (PPO) – lasts for 15 days or until the final Protective Order hearing
- “Permanent” Protective Order (PO) – lasts for up to two years
WHAT A PROTECTIVE ORDER CAN’T DO
If you are the victim of physical abuse or threats, a protective order is appropriate. Sometimes, however, people seek protective orders for misguided reasons. For example, a protective order cannot:
- Transform someone’s intransigent attitude
- Determine permanent child custody
- Resolve disagreements
- Compel the other person to move out of state
WE’RE HERE FOR YOU
Partner Rebecca Janet Wade has extensive experience with protective orders and laws involving physical abuse, assault and injury, emotional abuse, threats of violence, and more.
- She focuses on family law and criminal defense, representing clients in cases of divorce, child custody and visitation, child support, and alimony.
- Wade specializes in criminal and civil domestic violence cases, both defending clients who are facing that charge as well as representing victims of domestic violence.
- She speaks fluent Spanish and has represented over 100 native Spanish speakers, helping them through the legal process in their native language and is knowledgeable about the immigration consequences of any criminal convictions.
ALTERNATIVES TO A PROTECTIVE ORDER
Wade Grimes Friedman Meinken & Leischner can help you explore all your options to potentially find a path that could reduce conflict.
- Collaborative Law: This is a process of alternative dispute resolution designed to keep the parties out of court by developing and agreeing on peaceful, practical solutions. Carolyn Grimes has been a trained practitioner of this model since 2006, in addition to using traditional approaches.
- Mediation: Ms. Grimes is also a mediator and can act as the neutral mediator for both parties. Mediation is also an alternative dispute resolution process designed to have parties agree outside of court proceedings. If you are interested in using Ms. Grimes as a mediator, please contact our office. One party may initiate the contact to set up the appointment but as a mediator, she needs to meet with both parties together for the mediation process.
VIRGINIA FAMILY LAW & CRIMINAL LAW REPRESENTATION
While you don’t need an attorney to file for a protective order under Virginia law, having experienced legal counsel to help you navigate the system and represent your interests is wise. We’ll be able to answer your questions and facilitate the process so you don’t waste valuable time chasing after information or feeling lost in the legal system. Likewise, if you’ve been served with a protective order, you will find representation helpful so your decisions are based on rational rather than emotional responses to the law.
Protective orders can involve criminal proceedings as well as domestic relations/family law. Wade Grimes Friedman Meinken & Leischner has the expertise and broadly experienced legal team to provide counsel and representation across those specialties, both for petitioners seeking a protective order and for respondents who have been served by a sheriff or other agent of the court.
When you’re ready to call, we’re ready to help. Reach us at 703-836-9030, or contact us here.
- Virginia’s court system offers helpful information and assistance with protective orders.
- Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services: Protective Orders in Virginia — A Guide for Victims (PDF)
Family Abuse Attorney
Ms. Wade has represented clients charged with a wide range of offenses from traffic offenses to serious felonies such as aggravated malicious wounding, drug distribution, and sex crimes. Ms. Wade has tried over two dozen jury trials and hundreds of bench trials. Additionally, Ms. Wade has experience handling appeals and has appeared numerous times at the Court of Appeals of Virginia and the Supreme Court of Virginia, earning victories in both Courts.