Domestic Violence Protection Orders

Seattle Lawyers Skilled in Criminal Defense and Family Law Matters

Domestic violence protection orders are civil orders that are designed to protect individuals from harm by a family member or another person of either gender in their household. A judge signs the order, and it instructs an abusive person to stop the violence or face contempt of court and other consequences. Sometimes there are both family law and criminal law issues that arise in connection with trying to obtain or defend against a domestic violence protection order. It is important to retain an attorney who thoroughly understands how to obtain an order and the impact of an order on a family as a whole. The Seattle civil protection order lawyers at Blair and Kim have 40 years of combined experience in criminal defense and family law, and we can address both areas of law when a matter related to domestic violence arises.

Domestic Violence Protection Orders

Under Washington law, domestic violence may include an array of harmful behaviors, such as causing bodily or physical injuries, threatening imminent physical harm, sexual assault, and stalking. It may include pushing, hitting, biting, choking, or using a gun. Actions are considered domestic violence when they occur between family and household members with relationships that are specified under the statute. These include spouses, former spouses, people with a child in common, people who are dating, adult people related by blood or marriage, adults who live together, and people who have a parent-child relationship or a grandparent-grandchild relationship.

A domestic violence protection order is meant to assist an abuse victim in leaving a relationship. In order to get the order, a victim needs to prove that there was a qualifying domestic relationship between the parties. They also need to show that the alleged perpetrator committed an assault, caused physical harm or a bodily injury, engaged in stalking, or created a fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault.

The order may require the alleged perpetrator to stop committing the domestic violence, require them to surrender weapons, require them to participate in treatment, and require them to stay a specific distance from the victim or a particular location, or it may restrain the alleged perpetrator in other ways.

There are two different types of domestic violence protection orders: ex parte temporary orders and final orders for protection. The former type is intended to provide protection for a fixed period lasting up to 14 days, during which time the court is supposed to hold a hearing for a final order of protection. The judge holds a hearing initially, and at that hearing, the person applying for the order specifies why it is necessary. The alleged perpetrator does not need to have notice of the hearing and is not present. A temporary order is granted when the person applying for it can show that they are at immediate risk of severe harm. The order will state an expiration date.

A final order for protection is only issued after a court hearing is held, at which both parties have the opportunity to advise the court of what happened from their respective perspectives and present evidence, usually including witness testimony. The final order may be for a specific period of time, or it may be permanent. When it is for a fixed period, the person applying for protection may ask for a renewal. There is a caveat, in that if the order prevents an abuser from contacting minor children, that aspect of the order may last only for one year, although the person applying for protection may ask for a renewal.

Consult a Knowledgeable Seattle Attorney When Seeking to Protect Your Safety

Certain relationships are abusive but may not qualify for a domestic violence protection order, or another type of protection order may fit the situation better. Each case is different, and while an order may be necessary in some cases, there are other situations in which a request for an order may be filed frivolously or for the purpose of gaining an advantage. If you are trying to obtain or oppose a domestic violence protection order in the Seattle area, it is critical to retain experienced counsel. At Blair & Kim, we have a criminal defense attorney and a family law attorney on our team, both of whom are thoroughly knowledgeable in their respective areas of law. This allows us to devise a strategy that addresses all of the potential issues. We represent people throughout Kings County, including in Redmond, Kirkland, and Bellevue. Call us at (206) 622-6562 or contact us via our online form for a free appointment.