Civil Protection Orders vs. No-Contact Orders
The greatest difference between a civil protection order and a no-contact order is that civil protection orders are obtained through a civil proceeding, whereas a no-contact order can be imposed in several different ways. A violation of s no-contact order is a criminal offense, and is a commonly charged crime in Washington. If you are concerned about understanding civil protection orders vs. no-contact orders, the experienced Seattle civil protection order attorneys at Blair & Kim can answer your questions.Civil Protection Orders vs. No-Contact Orders
In Washington, civil protection orders can be obtained independently of a criminal case in many different ways. The actions that can give rise to criminal charges may not meet the criteria to obtain a civil protection order. Conversely, the actions that allow you to obtain a civil protection order may not be enough for criminal charges. While you have the right to a court-appointed lawyer for criminal charges, you do not have this right when appearing at a hearing to defend against a civil protection order.
Criminal charges can land you in prison, while a civil protection order will simply restrict your movement and activities. The petition for a civil protection order will have to prove the events that give rise to the protection order by a preponderance of the evidence, whereas a criminal case needs to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. It is generally easier, therefore, for a petitioner to obtain a civil protection order, than it is for the prosecutor in a criminal case to secure a conviction. Sometimes, a judge may find there's enough evidence to warrant a civil protection order, but not enough to send someone to prison.
However, you should be aware that if you are served with a petition for a civil protection order, the petitioner may be able to get the civil protection order they are seeking, and if you violate the civil protection order, you can be subject to criminal charges. A judge can impose costs, which are similar to the fines you can face with criminal charges. Civil protection orders can restrict a respondent's future conduct in many different ways, and when granted provide substantial power to the petitioner.
A no-contact order may be part of a criminal action. The court can decide whether to issue this order when it determines whether a criminal defendant should be released on bail or personal recognizance. It may also come up during the arraignment or during criminal sentencing. Usually a no-contact order doesn't last as long as a civil protection order lasts. It is intended to protect a victim while a criminal case is proceeding forward.
A no-contact order can require a defendant to refrain from contacting a victim, and it will be irrelevant to the court if the victim later seeks out contact with the defendant or doesn't object to it. A person who is restrained from having contact with another is not allowed contact regardless of the victim's wishes until the order expires or the court vacates the order. An issuing court is able to vacate an order. So long as a no-contact order is in effect, violation of the order can be punished as a gross misdemeanor as long as the contact that violated the order wasn't an assault, and where there weren't already two prior convictions for violating similar protection orders. If prohibited contact did constitute an assault or there were at least two prior convictions for violating a similar order, the person who violates the order can be charged with a Class C felony. If convicted, the person could face up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.Consult an Experienced Civil Protection Order Attorney in Seattle
If you need to learn more about civil protection orders vs. no-contact orders in Seattle, an experienced, skillful attorney who understands both criminal and family law consequences can help. At Blair & Kim, we represent people in areas including Seattle, Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, and throughout King County. Call us at (206) 622-6562 or contact us via our online form.