Fairfax Preliminary Protection Orders

There are three different types of protection orders in Fairfax: emergency protective orders, preliminary (or temporary) protective orders, and permanent protective orders. In any domestic violence case where an assault takes place an emergency protective order will automatically go into affect for 3 days or 72 hours. However, if the victim wishes to prolong that order they can go to court and apply for a preliminary protective order or PPO.

Legal Requirements

In Virginia, a preliminary protective order is an order that prevents the respondent of that order from contacting the petitioner for that order. It lasts up to two weeks and expires at a certain date and time when the court will uphold a hearing to determine whether the protective order should be extended for a period of two years.

A preliminary protective order will be granted upon the sworn statement of the person who alleges to be the victim of an assault. That is why the preliminary protective order only lasts for up to two weeks or until there is a hearing on the matter, whichever comes first.

Extending an Order

Once a protective order is issued, the court will set a hearing date within two weeks’ time to hold an evidentiary hearing on the merit of the preliminary protective order. The court will hear evidence from the petitioner that supports the petitioner’s claim for relief under the preliminary protective order. Once the court hears that evidence, the court will decide if there exists a preponderance of the evidence that an assault took place. If the court finds that the assault did take place, the court can extend the preliminary protective order for a period of two years.

Purpose of a Preliminary Protection Order

The PPO guarantees a person no contact from their alleged attacker. Through the courts they can have a full hearing on the merit of the protective order. When the PPO is ordered, it will come with a hearing date upon which the merits of the PPO will be presented to the court. The person filing for the protective order will then have to introduce evidence in court to the judge about the assault that the alleged victim claimed. If the judge in the hearing for the PPO determines there is credible evidence that the assault took place, the judge has the option to extend the protective order to a permanent protective order which lasts for two years.

Impact on The Criminal Case

The preliminary protective order has no effect on a person’s criminal case. The hearing for the protective order almost never takes place before the criminal case goes to trial. If a hearing on the preliminary protective order is allowed to go forward, the defendant with a criminal case can be compelled to testify in a civil case. For that reason, lawyers almost always ask the court to extend the preliminary protective order beyond two weeks until the date of the criminal hearing. The court will set a hearing date for the protective order on the same day as the trial date for the criminal charge. That way the client cannot be compelled to testify about what happened prior to the date of their criminal trial.