There are three kinds of protective orders in Virginia. Each type has its benefits, protecting those who need it most. Some people may also suffer as a result of an unfair restraining order, like someone who has had false allegations made against him or her. It's important for juries, judges and others to take these protective orders with a grain of salt while still offering them for those claiming they're in danger.
The first kind of protective order, which is probably what you think of when you think about protective orders, is an emergency order. This is issued almost immediately when requested and expires at the end of the third day or the next day the court is open, whichever is later. The idea is that the protective order is there for immediate help, but it isn't lasting. This gives the person accused a chance to go to court and defend his or her actions immediately.
Preliminary protective orders last up to 15 days or until a full hearing takes place. At the full hearing, the judge determines if a final protective order is necessary. The final order lasts up to two years, eliminating the preliminary order completely.
How do restraining orders help victims?
Restraining orders help by preventing an alleged abuser from having contact with an alleged victim. The person may not speak to or see the alleged victim at all. The court also has the ability to protect others who are in a family, so if children, sisters, brothers or others are in potential danger, the court may issue an order that protects them as well.
Restraining and protective orders have their place. Everyone deserves to feel safe, whether they're going through divorce or living in a family home. Protective orders help make that happen.