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UNDERSTANDING PROTECTION ORDERS IN WASHINGTON STATE

Posted by Michelle Dellino | Mar 27, 2015 | 3 Comments

Protection order stop

Commonly, people use the term “restraining order” when they are seeking a court order for protection, to prevent contact that is harassing or abuse. However, this is a frequently misused term. A “restraining order” is one kind of court order, but there are in fact a number of different types of protection orders used to prevent contact that are typically what a party seeking protection needs. Protection orders are put in place to prevent contact between two people. Contact may involve physical or personal contact, phone or text contact, email or social media contact, or communication through a third party. In many cases, protection orders also involve remaining a certain distance away from someone's home, school, or place of employment.

It is important to be aware of the different types of protection orders that are available in the event that you are ever in a position where you either need to seek one or must defend against one brought by another party. The following is a brief description and comparison of orders in Washington State.

*Domestic Violence Protection Order: This is a civil order from the court issued at the request of a person claiming to be the victim of domestic violence. See Washington State Legislature regarding Domestic Violence Prevention (Chapter 26.50 RCW)

  • Who may obtain the order:
    • An adult who fears violence from a family or household member, or who has been the victim or physical harm, or who fears imminent physical harm or stalking from a family or household member (includes dating relationship).
    • Minors under 16 must seek the order through a parent or guardian
    • Petitioners 13 years old or over may petition for self if respondent is 16 or over and person has been victim of violence in a dating relationship
    • Petitioners 16-18 may seek the order on their own.
  • Consequences of order is knowingly violated:
    • Mandatory arrest; Possible criminal charges or contempt; Class C felony if assault or reckless endangerment, otherwise Gross Misdemeanor
  • Duration of order:
    • If there is an emergency, a temporary order for up to 14 days may be issued. A hearing will be set within 14 days and the Respondent will be given notice of the hearing. At the hearing the court will designate the length of the order, from one year to permanent.

*Sexual Assault Protection Order: This is a civil or criminal court order issued in the context of pending criminal action, or as a condition of sentence. (RCW 7.90)

  • Who may obtain the order:
    • A person who does not qualify for a Domestic Violence Protection order and is a victim of nonconsensual sexual conduct or penetration, including a single incident.
    • Minors under age of 16 must seek the order through a parent or guardian
    • The court may issue an order on behalf of victims of sex offenses when criminal charges are filed
  • Consequences of order is knowingly violated:
    • Mandatory arrest; Possible criminal charges or contempt; Class C felony if assault or reckless endangerment, otherwise Gross Misdemeanor
  • Duration of order:
    • Temporary order may be filed for up to 14 days; Court will designate the length of the order (up to two years for civil; potentially longer for criminal)

*No-Contact Order: This order is part of a criminal action. After an arrest for domestic violence, in Washington State, a No-Contact Order may be issued as a condition of release. These orders may be issued regardless of whether you share housing or children, and may cause hardship.

  • Who may obtain the order:
    • Incident must have been reported to the police and criminal charges must be pending. The court will decide whether to issue this order when it decides whether the accused will be released on bail or personal recognizance, or when the accused is arraigned or being sentenced.
  • Consequences of order is knowingly violated:
    • Mandatory arrest; Release pending trial may be revoked. Felony if any assault, reckless endangerment or drive-by-shooting, otherwise Gross Misdemeanor.
  • Duration of order:
    • This order is intended to protect the victim until the case is resolved. The order may be dismissed or modified by the court during proceedings, or may be continued by the court after the case resolved. The alleged victim does not control whether the order remains in place but must support it if the order is to be lifted.

*Restraining Order: This is a civil order, generally filed in the context of an existing family law case, such as a pending dissolution or child custody case (RCW 26.0926.1026.26). This type of order is broader than a Domestic Violence Protection order because it may deal with property issues, child support, spousal support, as well as domestic violence and temporary custody issues.

  • Who may obtain the order:
    • Petitioner who is married to Respondent or has a child in common
  • Consequences of order is knowingly violated:
    • Mandatory arrest; Gross Misdemeanor; Possible criminal charges or contempt
  • Duration of order:
    • Temporary Restraining Order lasts 14 days; Restraining Order in final decree is permanent unless modified

*Anti-Harassment Order: This is a civil order issued for a person claiming any type of harassment and when a person does not qualify for a Domestic Violence Protection Order. These orders are commonly filed in neighbor disputes and other disputes that don't involve a domestic relationship (RCW 10.14)  

  • Who may obtain the order:
    • A person alleging harassment, who has been seriously alarmed, annoyed, or harassed by conduct which serves no legitimate or lawful purpose. The course of conduct shall be such as would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress
    • Parties generally are not married, have not lived together, and have no children in common.
  • Consequences of order is knowingly violated:
    • Gross Misdemeanor; Discretionary arrest with possible criminal charges or contempt.
  • Duration of order:
    • Temporary order may be up to 14 days; Anti-Harassment Order may then carry a duration of 1 year or permanent, as determined by the court.

*Vulnerable Adult Protection Order: This is a civil order intended to protect a vulnerable adult (RCW 74.34.110)

  • Who may obtain the order:
    • A vulnerable adult, or an interested person on behalf of a vulnerable adult, who has been abandoned, abused, subject to financial exploitation, neglected, or threatened.
    • The Dept. of Social and Health Services may also obtain an order on behalf of a vulnerable adult
  • Consequences of order is knowingly violated:
    • Mandatory arrest; Possible criminal charges or contempt; Class C felony if assault or reckless endangerment, otherwise Gross Misdemeanor
  • Duration of order:
    • Temporary order be may up to 14 days; Vulnerable Adult Protection Order duration to be designated by the court for a fixed period not to exceed 5 years.

*Stalking Protection Order vs Stalking No-Contact Order: Stalking Protection Order is civil; Stalking No-Contact Order is criminal, in the context of pending criminal action. See definitions for stalking (RCW 9A.46.110)

  • Who may obtain the order:
    • A person may file a Stalking Protection Order if they are the victim of any stalking conduct (RCW 9A.46.110). Parent or guardian may petition on behalf of any minor. A petitioner 16 years and older may file for themselves and is not required to have a guardian to petition on their behalf. Interested person may petition on behalf of a vulnerable adult.
    • For a Stalking No-Contact Order, an incident must have been reported to the police and stalking related criminal charges must be pending. The court may issue the order.
  • Consequences of order is knowingly violated:
    • For both stalking related orders, consequences for violation include mandatory arrest, possible criminal charges or contempt, Class C felony if assault or reckless endangerment, otherwise Gross Misdemeanor
  • Duration of order:
    • Stalking Protection Order: 14 days for a temporary order; Stalking Protection Order duration is then determined by the court for a fixed period of time or permanent
    • Stalking No-Contact Order: 5 years for a final Stalking No-Contact Order


We are here to educate and help. I firmly believe that is not only part of our practice as attorneys, but part of our obligation as members of the community. I volunteer in a domestic violence legal client because I believe in the importance of understanding domestic violence and protection orders. I know real DV and I know when someone needs that shield. My team and I regularly handle protection orders as stand-alone matters, and in family law cases. If you have questions, we have answers.

Take Action - Involve Legal Counsel:
If you are seeking protection or find yourself falsely accused of actions by a party seeking an order against you, contact us immediately to schedule a consult with an attorney. We will help you understand your rights, options, and plan your next step.

Dellino Law Group has experienced attorneys with the knowledge and expertise to help you reach the best possible outcome. We will assist you, take into account your unique situation, and help determine how best to proceed.

Contact us today by filling out our quick online form, or give us a call at 206-659-6839 to let us know how we can help.

About the Author

Michelle Dellino

Managing Attorney

Comments

Brittany Reply

Posted Apr 27, 2019 at 22:26:18

How much does is cost to just talk with someone about my options and better understanding it all?

Michelle Dellino Reply

Posted Apr 28, 2019 at 16:28:09

Hi Brittany,
We will contact you via email to go over your options for a consultation. We are happy to talk with you and help you understand all of your options related to protection orders. You can also call us at 206-659-6839.

Michelle Dellino Reply

Posted Jul 14, 2019 at 14:17:03

Hi Jackie,
When a protection order is expiring, the protected party can petition for renewal. If the party does not seek renewal, the order expires. If you have questions or need help, feel free to let us know by calling us at 206-659-6839.

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