Civil Protection Orders

Seattle Attorneys at the Crossroads of Criminal and Family Law Matters

Intimate relationships may result in contentious disputes. In some situations, one person may feel that a serious line has been crossed and seek to obtain a civil protection order to stop contact from the other person. The actions that may give rise to these civil protection orders may be misdemeanors or felonies. Obtaining a civil protection order is a serious decision, since it is likely that the police will take the allegations that gave rise to the order seriously. On the other hand, some protection orders are sought inappropriately—to harass the other person or to obtain custody of shared children, for example. At Blair & Kim, our Seattle civil protection order lawyers have 40 years of total experience as criminal defense and family law attorneys. This combination allows us to develop a coordinated strategy that takes all of your circumstances and goals into account, whether you are pursuing or fighting a civil protection order. We can assist you with both the criminal implications and the family law consequences of the process, addressing each issue in turn as it arises.

Types of orders that are available in Washington include domestic violence protection orders, sexual assault protection orders, vulnerable adult protection orders, and anti-harassment protection orders, among others. While criminal charges must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, civil protection orders only need to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.

Domestic Violence Protection Orders

Domestic violence protection orders are intended to help an abused spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, or other family or household member leave a relationship. To obtain this type of order, the party trying to get the order will need to show that there was a domestic relationship in which one person physically injured, assaulted, or caused fear of imminent physical harm in the other or sexually assaulted or stalked the other. This type of order may forbid an alleged perpetrator of abuse from committing acts of domestic violence, order an alleged perpetrator to participate in a treatment program, require an alleged perpetrator to surrender weapons or submit to electronic monitoring, prohibit an alleged perpetrator from coming within a certain distance from a specific location or the victim, or otherwise restrain the alleged perpetrator.

Sexual Assault Protection Orders

Sometimes a domestic violence protection order is not appropriate, such as when an alleged perpetrator of sexual assault is not a family or household member but is in the same college, workplace, or neighborhood. A person seeking a sexual assault protection order must show that:

  • There was nonconsensual contact that involved the alleged perpetrator's intentional and knowing touching of the person's private parts;
  • The alleged perpetrator intentionally or knowingly displayed their private parts for sexual gratification, or the assaulted person was forced to show their private parts for another person's sexual gratification; or
  • A child under the age of 13 was intentionally touched for sexual gratification.

A person asking for a sexual assault protection order may not be denied this order because the respondent or they are under 18 or because they did not report the assault to law enforcement. No proof of physical injury is required. Our civil protection order attorneys can help Seattle residents gather evidence to present their side of the story in these often deeply emotional situations.

Vulnerable Adult Protection Orders

Certain adults are recognized as being particularly vulnerable to abuse, such as financial exploitation, sexual abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse, personal exploitation, or improper restraints. If someone is a vulnerable adult and subjected to specified forms of abuse, that person or an interested party may request a protection order against an alleged perpetrator that lasts for up to five years. In Washington, vulnerable adults are defined to include people who are at least 60 years old and have a functional, physical, or mental incapacity to care for themselves, people who have developmental disabilities, people who have been found to be incapacitated, people who have been admitted to any facility, people who require services from home health, hospice, or licensed home care agencies, people getting services from an individual provider, and people who receive services from a personal aide.

Anti-Harassment Protection Orders

An anti-harassment protection order may be obtained against someone who has engaged in a course of conduct designed to unlawfully harass another person. Unlawful harassment refers to a knowing and willful set of actions directed toward someone who seriously harasses, annoys, alarms, or is detrimental to that person and serves no legitimate or lawful purpose. It must be a series of actions over a period of time, and the actions may include the sending of an electronic communication. It does not include constitutionally protected free speech.

Consult a Civil Protection Order Lawyer in Seattle or Beyond

Whether you are trying to obtain a civil protection order in Washington or opposing the pursuit of an order, the stakes are high. Our Seattle civil protection order attorneys are ready to listen to the details of your situation and provide compassionate guidance. We also represent people in Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, and other areas of King County. Call us at (206) 622-6562 or contact us via our online form to set up a free appointment with our family law and criminal defense attorneys.