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Fairfax Criminal Defense Blog


Posted by John A. Kassabian | Aug 16, 2022

When someone you care about does something that causes you to need a protective order, it can be terrifying. You may fear that they will attack you again or try to get you to retract your allegations.

It's important to have legal counsel on your side during this difficult time. John Kassabian of Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C. in Fairfax, VA, can help you navigate the procedures for extending protective orders in Virginia.


Emergency Protective Orders (EPOs) last for 72 hours (or the next court session), and Preliminary Protective Orders (PPOs) last for 15 days. You don't need to have received an EPO to be issued a PPO. Permanent Protective Orders (POs) last up to two years and may be extended repeatedly by a judge.

You must fill out court forms to file for protective orders of any length. It's important that you file the necessary paperwork correctly and in a timely way. Paperwork can be filed at the magistrates office for an EPO. If an arrest has been made in your case, the police officer is usually the one who requests the EPO, but the victim of abuse can also do so. And for some charges, like a domestic assault and battery against a family or household member, an EPO is automatically issued pursuant to statute.  

Only judges issue PPOs and POs. You must file paperwork under oath in either the general district court clerk's office – civil division or with the Court Services Unit, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case.

Extension of protective orders is somewhat built into the system. EPOs or POs may be extended at upcoming court sessions, for example. And, to obtain a PO, the petitioner has to attend a  final Protective Order hearing and offer testimony and evidence to the court as to why they are seeking the issuance of a two-year protective order. The PO order hearing court date is scheduled during your PPO hearing.

In most cases, it is also possible to file paperwork online. There is information about petitioning for protective orders and the I-CAN! Virginia Online Forms Completion program readily available. However, no legal advice is given through this program.

If all of this confuses you, you are not alone. Many petitioners for protective orders feel more comfortable retaining legal counsel to make sure all the paperwork is filed correctly and to provide advice pertaining to their particular situations.


Respondents to protective orders should also hire attorneys to protect their rights, property, and privileges. In some cases, the situation surrounding the events leading to a protective order being granted is not clear cut.

If, as a respondent, you feel like the petitioner requested a false protective order, legal counsel can help you explore your best options. Likewise, if either the respondent or the petitioner has questions about how to appeal a protective order or how to file a motion to dissolve a protective order in Virginia, a lawyer can strategize with you and make sure you have taken all necessary steps.


Whichever side of a domestic violence case you are on—petitioner or respondent—you will fare better if you receive legal advice. For a free consultation, contact Kassabian & Kassabian. Attorney John Kassabian can help you formulate a strategy.

About the Author

John A. Kassabian

John A. Kassabian joined the family firm in 2002 after having served as a Prosecutor in Fairfax County and Prince William County. Specializing in criminal defense, traffic defense and civil related matters, John has an extensive criminal law background and has handled a wide variety of cases for ...

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