Who Can Get a Restraining Order in Virginia?

A restraining order, also known as ‘order of protection’ is a legal court order that in simple terms restricts or prevents one person from contacting or distressing another person. A person who thinks he/she may be harmed by another person can request for a restraining order. A restraining order may also be given in a divorce proceeding to protect the spouse and children from physical or psychological abuse and to avoid loss and destruction of property. The type and period of a restraining order may differ from one situation to another and from one state to another.

Obtaining a restraining order is similar to like other court processes. It usually involves first a person to fill out the necessary paperwork, attending the court hearing, and then expecting that the judge would make a favorable decision. The key aspect for the person is proving without a doubt that your life or property is threatened due to actions of another person. There are frequent times when a person may feel harm from another person, and the best way to stop the behavior of the offender and stay away from harm’s way is to get a restraining order. But a person needs to record or show evidence in court; it can be phone calls or video footage of a person harassing which could convince the judge to grant a restraining order.

What is the general purpose of a restraining order?

A restraining order is a legal court order granted to protect you from further harassment or harm from a person who has malicious intent to hurt you. The order prevents the abuser from contacting and disturbing from placed which include home, place of work, or apartment building.

Who can apply and get a restraining order?

A person or victim of domestic violence or abuse can acquire a restraining order. After getting the order, the victim is protected by the law from any further harm or injury. The order can be given to a spouse to prevent domestic abuse to himself/herself and the children. The restraining order can also be given to the victim who has been in a dating relationship but due to difference wants to part ways but one of the people is causing distress and wants to continue the relationship.

There are many acts which come from domestic abuse and violence which the victim may suffer such as

  • Assault
  • Harassment
  • Kidnapping
  • Burglary
  • Criminal mischief
  • Sexual abuse
  • Stalking
  • Criminal trespass
  • False imprisonment
  • Criminal restraint

The steps required in attaining a restraining order:

  1. Filling out the petition and submitting it in the court
  2. Attaching a certified affidavit to authenticate and support your appeal
  3. Explain your situation; it is advised to keep it simple and mention just the facts
  4. Sign the form asking for a restraining order in front of the court-appointed
  5. The judge usually issues a decision at the hearing.

A judge has the discretion to issue temporary restraining orders depending on the urgency of your need. It is better to consult a qualified lawyer or attorney while filling out the form necessary to obtain the restraining order. The victim would be asked to attend a court session and explain the situation to the judge. At the second hearing both the victim and the abuser would be present, and after listening to the arguments, the judge will decide if the victim should receive a final order or not, also the time duration and conditions.