Protective Orders in Virginia

Thinking of filing for a protective order? There are a few things to know before heading to file. In the state of Virginia, there are three (3) types of protective orders: emergency protective order (EPO), preliminary protective order (PPO), and permanent protective order (PO).

An emergency protective order (EPO) can be requested by an individual who has been abused or feels they are in danger of violence, force, or threat of sexual assault, bodily injury or death. In the event that a threat is acted upon and law enforcement becomes involved, a law enforcement official may seek an EPO on the victim’s behalf. An EPO can be granted a magistrate or a judge and lasts for 72 hours or until the Court’s next session. After the EPO expires, the alleged victim must petition the Court if they want the order of protection to continue.

A preliminary protective order (PPO) is granted by a Judge after a judicial review of a sworn statement by the person requesting a PPO. The sworn statement must include details of why in individual is petitioning the Court for an order of protective. It is important to note that PPOs are time sensitive. An individual must petition the Court for a PPO within a reasonable amount of time from when the date of abuse and/or threat occurred. Preliminary protective orders are valid for 15 days or until the final protective order hearing, at which time the petitioner, the alleged victim, may ask the Court for a permanent protective order.

Permanent protective orders are valid for two (2) years and require that the respondent, the person whom the protective order is against, be served with the petition for a protective order and be present at the final hearing. During the final hearing, the Judge will ask both sides to describe the events in question, under oath, and make a final ruling on whether or not to grant a final protective order. In cases of family abuse protective orders, if granted, the respondent must also sign a Firearm Possession Prohibition form and surrender all firearms in his/her possession.

Each protective order, regardless of type, is specific to each individual’s needs and situation and therefore there are many requests that can be made of a protective order such as no contact, no acts of family abuse, possession of a residence, possession of a vehicle etc.

If you have questions about obtaining a protective order and are looking for legal assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to our firm at 804-423-1382 or We would be happy to set you up with a one-on-one consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys who can assist you with your case.