A Protection Order—also known as a restraining order—is a court-ordered mandate that requires one party to stay away from another party or parties. A Judge issues a Protection Order to protect victims of physical, emotional, or psychological abuse by preventing further contact between the abuser and the victim.
To obtain a Protection Order in Washington State, you must petition the court and provide evidence of harassment or abuse. But if you want to avoid the hassle or paperwork of a court filing, a seasoned defense attorney can help.
At Betancourt Law, we understand the complexities of Protection Orders and have the experience and expertise to help you obtain the protection you need. Also, if you have been served with a Protection Order, we can help you understand your rights and defend against the charges.
What is a Protection Order? Understanding What It Does
A Protection Order is a court-ordered document that requires one party to stay away from another party or parties. It is usually requested by an individual subject to physical, mental, emotional, or psychological abuse, and its purpose is to protect the victim from further contact with the abuser.
Depending on the type of Protection Order issued, it may prohibit contact between the two parties (and Child(ren)), including phone calls, emailing, texting, or even physical contact.
Protection Orders may also include specific provisions such as requiring the abuser to attend counseling, pay for medical expenses, or refrain from possessing a firearm. In addition, a Protection Order can also give the victim temporary custody of the parties’ child(ren) and/or exclusive use of shared property, including a home and car.
Protection orders are not limited to just domestic violence cases; they can be issued in any situation with fear of harm or harassment.
Types of Restraining Orders in Washington State
In Washington State, there are two primary types of Protection Orders:
- Domestic Violence Protection Orders
- Anti-Harassment Protection Orders
1. Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs)
These are court orders that require the abuser to stop any contact with the victim. These orders may also require the abuser to stay away from the victim’s residence, workplace, or school. In addition, DVPOs can also require the abuser to attend counseling or pay for medical expenses and property damage caused by the abuse.
2. Anti-Harassment Protection Orders (AHPOs)
AHPOs are court orders that protect victims of harassment, stalking, or cyberbullying. These orders can require the abuser to stay away from the victim and refrain from any form of contact. In addition, AHPOs may also require the abuser to pay for medical expenses and property damage caused by the harassment or stalking.
But aside from the two primary restraining orders, there are other types that you can pursue as they apply to your specific situation. These may include:
- Sexual Assault Protection Orders
- Vulnerable Adult Protection Orders
- Extreme Risk Protection Orders
Who Can Get a Protection Order?
Now that you have understood what is a Protection Order and the types available in Washington State, it is time to discover who qualifies for one. Anyone subject to physical, emotional, mental, or psychological abuse can get a restraining order. This includes victims of domestic violence, stalking, cyberbullying, elder abuse, and sexual assault.
However, you should note the following:
- If you are under 16 years old, you will have your legal guardian file the request to obtain a Protection Order.
- After the court reviews the evidence provided and determines that a Protection Order is warranted, the police will serve the abusive party a copy of the Protection Order.
- If the abuser violates the Protection Order, they can be charged with Violation of a Court Order and face criminal penalties.
How to File for a Protection Order in Washington
If you or someone you know needs a Protection Order, you can file for one at the Superior Court in the county where the abuse occurred. However, it is advisable to talk to a qualified attorney to understand the full range of legal options available and what is best for your situation.
To file for a restraining order, you will need to:
- Obtain Protection Order forms. You can go to a court near you and request Protection Order forms from the clerk. While at it, and depending on your situation, you can also request one for emergency relief (i.e., an immediate ex parte temporary order) pending the hearing.
- Fill out the form and provide evidence supporting your claims (i.e., photos, statements, police reports, etc.)
- Submit the forms to the court clerk with a filing fee. The fee may be waived in cases of financial hardship or domestic violence.
- Attend the hearing and explain your situation to the Judge, who will decide whether to issue the Protection Order.
- If your application is approved, the Judge will sign the order, which will be served to the abuser by a law enforcement officer.
What Are the Consequences of Violating a Protection Order?
Violating a Protection Order in Washington State is considered a criminal offense and carries far-reaching legal consequences. Depending on the severity of the violation, a person could face jail time, community service, and/or fines. In addition to potential criminal penalties, violating a Protection Order can have civil consequences. For example, an abuser may not be able to possess a firearm legally or may face eviction.
Our Highly Skilled Attorneys at Betancourt Law Can Help!
Have you been served with a Protection Order, or do you need one to protect yourself against an abuser? It is not easy to navigate the legal process of obtaining a Protection Order or defending yourself from one. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through this experience alone.
At Betancourt Law, our attorneys are highly experienced and knowledgeable in Washington State Protection Orders and can provide you with the help and guidance you need.
Contact us today for a free consultation!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Protection/Restraining Order?
A Protection/Restraining Order is a court order that prohibits someone from having contact with another person. It can also restrict an individual from coming within a certain distance of the protected party.
How Long Does a Protection/Restraining Order Last in Washington State?
A Protection/Restraining Order can be temporary (ex parte) or permanent. A Temporary Protection/Restraining Order typically lasts between 14 and 24 days until a Court hearing can be held. But a full Protection/Restraining order a normally in place for one (1) year although some orders may even be indefinite depending on the circumstances of the abuse.
Can a Protection/Restraining Order be Renewed or Extended?
Yes, a Protection/Restraining Order can be extended or renewed in Washington State. The court may grant an extension if the protected party (victim) requests a renewal of the Protection/Restraining Order before it expires. When the protected party requests a renewal or extension of the Protection/Restraining Order, it is the restrained party’s responsibility to show the Court that the abuse or harassment against the protected party will not occur in the future.