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Types of Protection Orders

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A protection order is a legal instrument that is meant to stop a person from contacting or harming a victim, known as a petitioner. A protection order can be civil, meaning that they are requested by the petitioner. A prosecutor from the state of Washington may also request protection orders during a criminal case

There are many different types of protection orders that a Washington court may issue against a person, including domestic violence protection orders, no contact orders, and stalking protection orders. These orders apply to different people and different types of scenarios.

Criminal Orders

During a criminal case, a prosecutor may request two types of protection orders on behalf of victims and witnesses: no contact orders, and harassment no contact orders. 

  • No contact orders are issued in cases involving domestic violence. Under a no contact order, the defendant cannot contact victims or witnesses involved in the case.
  • Harassment no contact orders are issued in cases involving harassment crimes. Like no contact orders in domestic violence cases, the defendant cannot contact victims or witnesses under a harassment no contact order.

A court may issue a no contact order even if a victim or witness objects to it. While a criminal protection order can be withdrawn at any time, the order can remain in effect for as long as the case is being handled by the court.

Domestic Violence Protection Order

A domestic violence protection order is a civil order that can be filed by anyone who is experiencing physical harm, sexual assault, stalking, or who fears imminent harm by a family or household member. According to RCW 26.50, the following parties qualify as a family member in Washington state.

  • Spouses or former spouses
  • Adults who are related by blood or marriage
  • Adults who live together or have lived together
  • People who have children together
  • People who have dated or previously dated
  • People with a biological or legal parent-child relationship

Domestic violence protection orders can be temporary or permanent. The defendant will likely be unable to own or purchase firearms.

Stalking Protection Order

Stalking protection orders are also civil. According to RCW 7.92, they may be requested by any person who is being stalked by someone who is not a family or household member. Washington state defines stalking as any conduct where a person intentionally and repeatedly harasses or follows another person, and the victim is in fear for themselves or his or her property. Stalking protection orders may be permanent or temporary, and firearm restrictions may also apply.

Extreme Risk Protection Order

An extreme risk protection order is filed against a person who poses a significant danger to himself or others by using or purchasing firearms. A family or household member, or a member of law enforcement, may act as the petitioner in this type of order. Extreme risk protection orders are temporary and prevents the defendant from owning, purchasing, or having access to firearms.

If you have been served a protection order, comply with the terms. Violation of a protection order can result in severe criminal penalties. In these situations, it is important to speak to a Washington criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. As soon as possible after you receive the order, contact a lawyer to discuss your next steps. Call us today at (253) 272-8666 for a free consultation

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