Domestic violence is no longer treated as simply a family problem. Abusers who hurt and control their current family, former family, or household members can go to jail for any crimes they commit, such as assault or rape. In addition, the victims can request a protection order to help prevent abuse.
A protection order is a tool to prevent domestic violence. In the literal sense, a protection order is a simple piece of paper, yet is is backed by the law. An abuser who violates a protection order can be arrested, convicted of violating the protection order or stalking, and maybe even sent to jail.
This article provides a brief overview of protective orders laws in West Virginia.
Protective Orders Laws in West Virginia: At a Glance
The following table outlines the main protection order laws in West Virginia. You can also visit FindLaw's Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders section for more general information on this topic.
|§ 48-27-101 et seq. of the West Virginia Code
Activity Addressed by Order
|A protection order can include any of the following provisions:
- Stop abusing, harassing, stalking, threatening, or intimidating the victim and the minor kids, if any, or placing the victim(s) in reasonable fear of bodily injury
- No contact with the victim
- Move out of the shared home
- Can't enter the school or workplace of the petitioner or his or her household or family members to violate the order
- Require the abuser to attend an intervention program
- Temporary child custody, visitation, and support
- Temporary spousal support
- A prohibition from possessing a gun or ammunition
- Reimbursement of reasonable expenses from abuse (medical, shelter, etc.)
- Awarding pet or animal custody to the victim and prohibiting abuse of the animal by the abuser
Who Can Apply for a Protection Order?
|A person can apply for themselves, an adult family or household member can apply for a minor child or physically or mentally incapacitated person who's unable to file or a witness to domestic violence who's been abused or threatened for reporting the abuse; this includes people who are or were married to each other; are or were living together as spouses; are or were sexual or intimate partners; are or were dating; are or were residing in the same household; have a child in common regardless of whether they have ever married or lived together; have the following relationships to another person: parent, stepparent, brother or sister, half-brother or half-sister, stepbrother or stepsister, father-in-law or mother-in-law, daughter-in-law or son-in-law, stepchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, and first or second cousins
Duration of Order
|The final protective order is good for 90 or 180 days, but can be extended for another 90 days if needed. A protection order can last one year for any of these aggravating factors:
- The abuser violated a prior protection order
- The abuser had two or more protective orders entered against them in the past 5 years
- The abuser has or more prior convictions for domestic battery, domestic assault, or felony crime of violence against a family or household member
- The abuser violated a stalking or harassment protection order
- The physical safety of the victim(s) requires a longer order
Protection orders can also be extended for longer periods if violated or the victim(s) safety requires
Penalty for a Violation of Order
|Violating a protection order is a misdemeanor punished by at least one day and at most one year in jail and a fine of $250 to $2,000
|There are no filing fees in the state of West Virginia; any person against whom a protective order is issued shall be assessed costs of $25
Order Transmission to Law Enforcement
|A copy of the order is given to the city, county, or state police within 24 hours
Civil Liability for Violation of Order
|Yes, you can be charged with civil contempt or contempt of court for violating a protection order
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Research the Law
Get Help with a Protective Order Today
If someone is hurting you or threatening to hurt you, there are resources available for you when you're ready. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline for 24/7/365 support at 800-799-7233. If you've been abused or fear someone may abuse you in the near future, you may want to get a protective order.
Please contact a West Virginia domestic violence attorney for help.