Civil Protection Orders vs. Restraining Orders

Seattle Lawyers Helping Area Residents Seek and Defend Against Injunctions

Whether someone else has harmed you, or you have been accused of harming someone, it can be important to understand the difference between civil protection orders versus restraining orders. There are a variety of circumstances that may give rise to either type of order, and an experienced legal team can help you determine what role each one may have in your case. At Blair & Kim, our skilled Seattle civil protection order attorneys may be able to represent you in obtaining or fighting orders of this nature.

What is a Civil Protection Order?

Under Washington law, you can file a civil case requesting a civil protection order against somebody whose conduct alarms, exploits, threatens, or abuses you. The purpose of a civil protection order is to require the person who is the subject of the order to stop contacting or harming you.

There are six different kinds of protection orders: antiharassment, domestic violence, extreme risk, sexual assault, stalking, and vulnerable adult. Most of these orders involve the protection of a victim's person, but with extreme risk protection orders, the respondent is ordered to surrender their weapons. The two types of protection orders that are usually filed in District Court are stalking protection orders and antiharassment protection orders. The case may be transferred or filed in Superior Court where: the victim or respondent is under age 18; the action involves possession or title of real property and the respondent claims an interest in the property such as the right to occupy or ownership; the action would interfere with the respondent's custody, control or care of a child under age 18; or the Superior Court has jurisdiction over a case involving the petitioner or victim and the respondent.

What is a Restraining Order?

Restraining orders are broad legal orders that the state court issues to stop somebody from harming somebody else. Under RCW 26.09.050, the court can make provisions for any needed continuing restraining orders or for issuance of the restraint provisions of a domestic violence protection order when entering a decree of dissolution of divorce or domestic partnership, legal separation, or declaration of invalidity. In other words, restraining orders can be filed in connection with family law matters such as a divorce, paternity suits, or custody hearings, and they may include issues that come up in those contexts such as domestic violence, child support, or property distribution.

RCW 26.10.040 provides that restraining orders issued under it that restrain or enjoin someone from disturbing another or from going to particular places or from coming within a certain distance need to include language stating that violation of the order with actual notice of its terms is a crime.

A restraining order may be temporary or permanent. Such an order can trigger firearm prohibitions.

Civil Protection Orders vs. Restraining Orders

Under RCW 26.26.138, whenever a restraining order is put forward and the person to be restrained knows of the order, a violation of the provisions limiting the person from violence or acts of violence or of a provision limiting the person from going someplace, can lead to punishment. The violation is a gross misdemeanor under certain circumstances.

As a respondent, you're deemed to have notice of a restraining order if you or your attorney signed the order, it recites that you or your attorney needs to appear in court, and the order was served upon you or a peace officer gave you oral or written evidence of the order in certain ways. If a peace officer has probable cause to believe that a restraining order was issued, you know of it, and you violated terms of the order, he can arrest you and take you into custody pending release on bail, court order, or personal recognizance.

Generally a family law court can enter restraining orders and protection orders. Sometimes mutual restraining orders are put in place to restrain former spouses from disturbing or molesting the other's peace or in connection with accusations of domestic violence.

The court cannot enter a mutual domestic violence protection order. However, it can realign the parties' designations if it determines that the person who petitioned for the order perpetrated stalking or violence. In contrast, a criminal court enters no contact orders rather than restraining orders or protection orders.

Civil Protection Order Attorneys Serving Seattle

If you are worried about obtaining or fighting a civil protection order or restraining order in Seattle, an experienced, skillful lawyer who understands both criminal and family law consequences can help guide you through the process. At Blair & Kim, we represent people in areas including Kings County, Redmond, Kirkland, and Bellevue. Call us at (206) 622-6562 or contact us via our online form.

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Mark C. Blair has no rival in his field in Seattle. A consummate professional. Communication was brief, straightforward, easy to understand, and without a typical condescending tone you can sometimes experience from attorneys on top of their field. Correspondence was timely and always affective. Any in need of criminal defense, should have a conversation with Mr. Blair, and you will quickly see and feel, no further contacts, referrals, or phone calls need be made. The money and time that can be saved by streamlining future contact and collateral damage in the sentencing process will far and away be worth every penny of the fee structure. Thank you very very much Mark Blair. N.Mark French
Sara Kim of BlairKim is a great attorney. I had never before had representation or dealt with the legal system and she made it very easy for me. She converted the legalese into laymans terms for me and helped me to understand the steps of the process. When I hesitated on certain decisions, Sara gave me the confidence and encouragement to proceed – especially since it was most beneficial to me in the long run. Sara is very straightforward and professional while also being personable and pleasant to deal with. Tamara
Sara Kim was the perfect lawyer for our situation. We were determined not to involve the courts in our divorce. Within the first 30 minutes of consultation, Sara proposed an equitable formula for division of property which we used to negotiate an agreement that felt fair to both of us. Our flat fee arrangement with Sara covered the filing of paperwork which alleviated much pressure for us during a very stressful time. I highly recommend Sara for her flexibility, professionalism, and efficiency. Carrie