Stalking and Protection Order
Washington stalking protection orders are civil orders designed to give someone protection from being stalked or cyberstalked, regardless of the relationship between the stalker and the victim. In some cases, when there is a special relationship between the stalker and the victim, such as a spousal relationship or another family relationship, it may be appropriate to get a domestic violence protection order. Blair & Kim can protect your rights, your freedom, and your future. Since we have both criminal and family law experience, our Seattle civil protection order lawyers can help you whether you need to request a stalking protection order or fight someone else’s pursuit of an order against you.Protection Orders Based on Stalking
Stalking can include repeated efforts to contact a victim, actually contacting the victim repeatedly, monitoring the victim's actions in real life or online, tracking the victim, or following the victim. Some people assume that if they do not physically hurt the victim, they have done nothing wrong. However, stalking and cyberstalking are crimes in the state of Washington.
In Washington, stalking is defined under RCW 9A.46.110. Someone can be convicted of stalking if the prosecution proves beyond a reasonable doubt that they intentionally and repeatedly followed or harassed the victim, the victim was put in fear that the stalker intended to injure them, another person, or another person's property, and the stalker intended to frighten or else knew or reasonably should have known that they were causing fear, regardless of their intent. The feeling of fear needs to be reasonable under the circumstances. It is not a defense that a stalker was not provided with actual notice from the victim that they did not want to be contacted or followed. However, if a stalker is given actual notice of the victim's desire not to be contacted, it is prima facie evidence that the stalker intended to harass or intimidate. Stalking is usually a gross misdemeanor, but it can also be a class B felony.
Cyberstalking is defined under RCW 9.61.260. Someone is guilty of cyberstalking if, intending to harass a victim, they email the victim or a third party and either use lewd words or suggest the commission of a lewd act, anonymously or repeatedly contact the victim electronically, or threaten to harm the person or property of the victim or a member of their household. Cyberstalking is usually a gross misdemeanor, but it can also be a class C felony.
A victim can ask the court for an order of protection that prohibits the alleged stalker or cyberstalker from directly or indirectly contacting the victim. The order can also keep the alleged stalker or cyberstalker from going to the victim’s school, home, workplace, or child's daycare. It may also prevent the alleged stalker or cyberstalker from putting the victim under surveillance (whether physical or electronic) or from being a specific distance from a specific location.
Usually, a petition for a stalking protection order is brought in district court. Victims usually should file in the county where they live. However, if the alleged stalker made the victim run away from their home, they are allowed to file in either the old county or the new county. There are some circumstances in which the district court will transfer a petition for a protection order to superior court, such as when the petitioner is under 18 years old, the action involves possession or title to real property, the superior court exercised or is exercising jurisdiction over a proceeding, or the action would interfere with the alleged stalker's care, control, or custody of a minor child.Seek Guidance from Criminal Defense and Family Law Attorneys in the Seattle Area
If you are interested in obtaining or fighting a protection order related to stalking, you should retain a skillful attorney who can fully understand the consequences of such an order on your life. A stalking protection order also could affect other aspects of your life, such as child custody. Since we have both a family law attorney and a criminal defense lawyer, we can evaluate all of the angles of your case to determine a smart strategy for you. We represent people throughout King County, including in Seattle, Redmond, Kirkland, and Bellevue. Call us at (206) 622-6562 or contact us via our online form.