DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROTECTION ORDERS - SEXUAL ASSAULT PROTECTION ORDERS - ANTI-HARASSMENT ORDERS - NO-CONTACT ORDERS VULNERABLE ADULT PROTECTION ORDERS
HAVE YOU BEEN SERVED? The packed of papers you have been served is called "the petition" it is essential to have an attorney evaluate the "petition" BEFORE it becomes law. If you fail to mount a vigorous defense, this petition will become law. Generally the court will issue an emergency or temporary order for 14 days. The petitioner (the person filing for the order) will then generally have a process server, police officer or county sheriff then personally serve the petition for protection order on the respondent (person the order is being filed against).
Restraining Order (RO), Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPO), and Anti-harassment orders (AHO) can be helpful in some truly dangerous situations. Unfortunately, restraining orders can be overprotective and are often used as tools of vengeance by emotionally upset parties. A vengeful spouse, ex-lover or neighbor can often use a court of law to bolster his or her position in divorce proceedings, custody battle, lawsuit or as a tool to make life in your own home unbearable.
If a Domestic-Violence Protection Order, no contact order order or anti-harassment order has been filed against you, you can be facing some trouble ahead. Additionally, you may have trouble in the future with simple things like:
- Employment background checks
- Renting housing
- Remaining in your current home
- Contacting your children or other family members
- Travel to foreign countries.
TYPES OF PROTECTION ORDER
1. Sexual Assault Protection Order (SAPO)
A person who does not qualify for a Domestic Violence Protection Order, and is a victim of non consensual sexual penetration, including a single incident, may petition for a civil order. Minors under age 16 with a parent or guardian.
The District, Municipal or Superior Courts have jurisdiction over Sexual Assault Protection Orders under RCW 26.50.020(5).
The Consequences if an order is knowingly violated
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 vulnerable person. Please attempt to wrongfully obtain Anti-Harassment Orders in an attempt to attack another person. 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 filed one of these against you , you need a strong defense and experience on your side.
WARNING! YOU MAY FACE CRIMINAL CHARGES IN THE FUTURE!
The person who filed against you may be laying the foundation for criminal charges to be filed against you. Once a restraining order or protection order has been filed against you, you risk of having criminal charges filed against you. The other party can manipulate a situation where you can be found in violation of the order, thus resulting in criminal charges for Violation of a Protection Order being filed against you.
A HARASSMENT ORDER OF PROTECTION HAS BEEN FILED AGAINST ME. WHAT IS HARASSMENT?
"Unlawful Harassment" is defined under Washington State law as a "course of conduct" that is meant to alarm annoy or harass. Harassment is generally not defined as a single incident, but as a string of different occurrences.
The Penalties for Violation of a Protection Order are severe:
- If convicted you will face up to 1 year in a Washington State Jail
- Thousands of dollars in court fines
- Interference with visitation time with children
- Suspension of the right to own a firearm
Remember, when it comes to Orders of Protection, Restraining Orders, domestic-violence protection orders and Anti-harassment Orders, no two are alike and no two situations are the same. It is important to have an experienced attorney present the court with your side of the story. Once an order is issued against you it may be in place for a number of years or for life. This may put your freedom in jeopardy. If you have had an order filed against you, call us for a free consultation.
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.
DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY?
Protection Order hearings are generally set for a court date that is about two weeks after the temporary order of protection is granted. Unlike a criminal charge there is no access to a public defender for protection order defense. Some people proceed to court without an attorney on protection order cases, they generally lose and if the other party has an attorney they almost always lose. If you proceed to court and lose you will not have a second chance to defend yourself. It is essential you do things correctly the first time. Therefore, I recomend consulting with an attorney if you have been named as the Respondent against the filing of an order of protection.