Domestic Violence Protection Orders

 

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In Washington State any victim of domestic violence may request a no contact protection order under RCW 26.50.020.  

The term “domestic violence” has been defined by the Washington State Legislature as “(a) Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, between family or household members; (b) sexual assault of one family or household member by another; or (c) stalking as defined in RCW 9A.46.110 of one family or household member by another family or household member.”

How to file a Washington State DV Protection Order

To file a petition for a Washington State DV protection order the victim needs to allege domestic violence and provide a written statement under oath stating the specific facts and circumstances involved.  The petitioner must also let the court know if there is any litigation regarding child custody and if there are any other court orders between the two parties.

The Washington State Courts have provided model forms to assist in filing a petition.  There are no fees associated with filing this petition.  If you retain an attorney to help you with the filing of the order, the court may order that the respondent reimburse you with reasonable attorney fees under RCW 26.50.060(1)(g).

Court hearing for a Washington State DV Protection Order

Once the court receives the petition for a DV protection order the court is required to set a hearing within fourteen days.  The petitioner must also make sure the respondent is served with notice of the hearing, generally by personal service.

A judge may issue a temporary order prohibiting contact if he or she is convinced that “irreparable injury” may result from domestic violence.  A temporary order may be granted even if the respondent is not present.

A court will hold a hearing at which both parties may appear, with or without a lawyer.  

In addition to issuing an order prohibiting all contact, under RCW 26.50.060, the court may also prevent the respondent from going to his or her home (if that home is shared with the petitioner), order the respondent to enroll in domestic violence batterers treatment, order the respondent to surrender any weapons and concealed permits.  

While many orders are issued for a period of one year, the court may sign an order with a longer length - an can even make the order a lifetime restriction.   An order that is granted will be forwarded to law enforcement and entered into their database.

Violation of a Protection Order Is a Criminal Offense

A violation of a protection order is a gross-misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $5000 fine.  However, under certain circumstances a violation of the protection order becomes a class C felony: (1) if there are two previous convictions for a violation of a protection order; (2) an assault occurs when the protection order is in place; or (3) the alleged violation is reckless and creates a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.

You can find more information about domestic violence cases in general in the Domestic Violence Manual For Judges and specifically about protection orders in the chapter on Civil Protection Orders.

If you are seeking help either petitioning for a DV protection order, or are the respondent to one, please feel free to contact us for assistance.

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