Lifting Permanent Protection Orders

Assertive Legal Advocacy for Residents of Washington State

Permanent protection orders are put into place in Washington only when the circumstances are quite serious. It is challenging to get a judge to lift a permanent protection order. Generally, judges do not want to undermine another judge's decision to impose a permanent protection order and do not want to re-litigate earlier rulings. If you are asking a judge to lift a permanent protection order, it is critical to retain an experienced Seattle civil protection order attorney. At Blair & Kim, we provide knowledgeable and aggressive representation in connection with protection orders involving domestic violence and other situations, and we have a deep understanding of the consequences of these orders for criminal and family law matters.

Lifting a Permanent Protection Order

Civil protection orders are put in place to protect people considered to be victims of such behavior as domestic violence, harassment, stalking, or sexual violence. The length of most protection orders is one or two years, but some courts do enter permanent orders. In some cases, these orders are warranted, but in other cases, they are not.

When a permanent protection order is in place, the person restrained by the order can be cited for criminal contempt at any point for the remainder of their life. In some cases, a permanent protection order is entered that should not have been ordered, and it was entered because the restrained person did not have an attorney. The situation may change, but the order will still be in place, and the restrained person can still face contempt charges.

A motion to lift a permanent protection order can be brought. The motion to lift a permanent protection order should be brought under RCW 26.50.130(3). Under this code section, a motion to lift an order that is permanent or in place for a period of more than two years needs to include a declaration in which you explain the facts that support your request. Both the motion and your declaration need to be appropriately served on all parties. The other parties have an opportunity to respond with their own declarations. The court is supposed to deny the motion unless it finds adequate cause to hear the request, based on the declarations. If a court finds adequate cause, a hearing date can be set.

The court is not allowed to actually terminate the permanent protection order (or an order issued for a fixed period of more than two years) unless you show by a preponderance of the evidence that there has been a substantial change in circumstances, such that you are not likely to go back to perpetrating violent acts against the person whom the order is protecting once the order is terminated. The person being protected does not have the burden to prove that they have a current reasonable fear of being imminently harmed by you.

The court will determine if there has been a substantial change of circumstances by considering factors that are believed to address whether you are likely to perpetrate future acts of violence. These factors include whether you have perpetrated domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking, or other violence since the court entered the permanent protection order, whether you violated the protection order terms, how much time has passed since the order was entered, whether you have received a criminal conviction since the protection order was entered, whether you have completed domestic violence counseling or treatment, whether you are involved in drug or alcohol abuse, and the knowing and voluntary consent of the other party.

However, the court is not allowed to base its decision only on how much time has passed or the fact that you have relocated to somewhere else. When the domestic violence acts giving rise to the protection order were extremely serious, the court can decline to lift the order just on that basis.

Retain a Knowledgeable Seattle Attorney for a Protection Order Proceeding

If you hope to lift a permanent protection order, you should retain a skillful and experienced attorney right from the start. Our firm has both a family law attorney and a criminal defense lawyer who can recognize the legal consequences of your situation and develop an approach accordingly. We represent people in Seattle, Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, and elsewhere in Kings County. Call us at (206) 622-6562 or contact us via our online form.