A "respondent" is the person against whom the order is issued. You will receive a copy of the order from the sheriff. Read the order carefully. Strict compliance with the order will avoid additional problems that can result in criminal penalties. You may ask the court to dismiss or change the terms of the order. Only a judge may dismiss or change the terms. The order will have a date and time for a hearing, arrive at the courthouse at least 30 minutes ahead to allow time for parking. You or your lawyer may tell your side of the case at the hearing. For more information, contact Community Corrections at 703-777-0207.
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There is no fee for filing a Family Abuse Protective Order.
You must have:
Other important information you should bring with you include:
The court is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday except for holidays. In the case of bad weather, call 703-777-0303. You must arrive by 11 a.m. to file the petition and have it reviewed by a judge the same day. (A petition is a formal written request asking the court to take a certain action on a matter.)
If you feel you are in immediate danger, call 911 for law enforcement assistance.
You can also call the 24-hour hotline for Victims of Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault at 703-777-6552 for information about safety planning and local resources.
Emergency Protective Orders are most often issued by magistrates and may last only 72 hours.
The Magistrate's Office issues warrants and Emergency Protective Orders relating to family abuse, stalking offenses, and domestic assault offenses. If an Emergency Protective Order has expired before you are able to get to court and have your petition heard, you may ask the magistrate to issue another protective order.
You do not need a lawyer to file for a preliminary protective order. The Juvenile Services Intake Unit will provide assistance to help you complete the necessary paperwork and will provide basic information about preparing for your court hearing. The unit, however, cannot give you legal advice. You may want to hire a lawyer to represent you at your full hearing (where both parties are before a judge), especially if the person from whom you want protection will have a lawyer.
The Loudoun Abused Women's Shelter (LAWS) has a part-time staff attorney who may be able to assist with permanent protective order hearings. Call 703-444-6652 (V/TTY) or 703-771-3397 (LAWS Legal Services). For Virginia Lawyer Referral Service, call 800-552-7977.
Contact the Sheriff's Office at 703-771-0602, Monday through Friday (except on county holidays), from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Contact the Sheriff's Office non-emergency dispatch center at 703-777-1021, when the Sheriff's Office is closed.