I Am Accused of Violating a Protection Order
If you have had a protection order placed against you then you have likely been to a civil court and had a ex-lover, neighbor, or other person file for a protection order against you. This may have been referred to as a protection order, no-contact order, anti-harassment order or a domestic-violence protection order. When this order was filed against you it was no a criminal case. It was a civil case against you and did not involve a criminal accusation.
Is This a Crime?
Yes, if you have been charged with violation of a no contact order then you have been accused of a crime. This is a charge that carries with it a penalty of up to 364 days in jail and a $5000 fine and is considered a gross misdemeanor. Additionally, a violation of a protection order will be charged as a felony if it is a third offense.
SWORD vs. SHIELD
It is important to understand that the Washington State legal system designed protection order to protect people. Thus, enabling people that are being abused, attacked or harassed to be protected and enabling them to use the protection order, Domestic Violence Protection Order or Anti-Harassment Order as a shield to protect themselves from harm.
However, too often these orders are used as swords to attack an ex-lover, neighbor, tenant or other vulnerable person. Many people have protection orders placed against them and do not realize the possible future criminal penalties in the future.
Some people use protection order as a weapon. This is NOT the intended use of an order or protection or no-contact order. If you are being attacked by a person who has obtained a protection order against you then it is time to defend yourself from criminal charges. If someone is abusing a protection order and using it as a weapon against you it is time to defend yourself.
WHAT IS A PETITION?
The "petition" for an order of protection is a document that can range from 5-100 pages in length and is the document that outlines the reasons why the petitioner asserts that they need an order of protection. This is the document that you were likely served with when a Sheriff or a process server handed you a stack of documents and informed you that you were being served. Any evidence that the petitioner wishes to present in court is required to be attached to the petition.
It is helpful to bring a copy of this petition with you when meeting with an attorney so that attorney can review the petition and evaluate the evidence against you.