Civil Protection Orders and No Contact Orders
This is an area of law that we have seen grow over time, as more and more people are using the courts to seek protection for themselves or their loved ones. We represent clients who are seeking a protection order, as well as those that need a defense against one.
There are currently four reason you can seek a civil protection order in Washington, and all of them have advantages and disadvantages, as well as different requirements for lawful issuance:
- Sexual Assault Protection Orders;
- Domestic Violence Protection Orders;
- Harassment Protection Orders; and
- Stalking Protection Orders.
We regularly consult with people who ignored these hearings or tried to represent themselves. They usually come to us after suffering negative consequences, which they did not anticipate. Some of these consequences can be:
1) The inability to get employment, due to background checks showing a court issued protection order for sexual assault, harassment, stalking, and/or domestic violence.
2) The inability to get housing, since rental screenings show a court issued protection order for sexual assault, harassment, stalking, and/or domestic violence.
3) Profession licensing problems related to a court issued protection order for sexual assault, harassment, stalking, and/or domestic violence.
4) Criminal charges for violating the a court order.
5) Problems with other court cases, due to the court issued protection order for sexual assault, harassment, stalking, and/or domestic violence. These orders can affect your right to see your children, or affect your divorce case.
6) Loss of firearms rights, due to a court issued protection order.
7) A judge's refusal to issue a petitioner's proposed order, leading a petitioner to have no protection from a disgruntled respondent, and a greater burden in securing subsequent protection orders.
8) The inability to volunteer in youth activities or sports, due to a court issued protection order for sexual assault, harassment, stalking, and/or domestic violence.
Occasionally we are able to help a client when a court has already issued a protection order, but most of the time we find the time period for filing a motion for reconsideration or appeal has already passed. This may mean that nothing that can be done to help these people. Many times I hear from those who lost these hearings, that they didn't hire a lawyer because the other side didn't have one, or because they didn't know the negative consequences that could come from them. Unfortunately once the hearing has been lost, it becomes very difficult to repair the damage.
This is why it is important to hire an experienced protection order attorney as soon as possible, in order to have the best chance of winning in these complicated proceedings. If you choose to represent yourself, you will be held to the same standard as an attorney would, by the court's judge. Attorneys have spent their entire careers studying the law regarding these cases, and have a substantial knowledge of court rules and procedures. If the opposing party secures an attorney of their own, you are at a substantial disadvantage against them in court. Conversely, if you secure the services of an attorney you are at a substantial advantage against an unrepresented party.
Here at Newton & Hall we regularly appear in municipal, district, and superior courts on these matter. We would be happy to meet with you to discuss the issues related to protection order cases. Call us at (253) 867-2675 to schedule a free initial consultation.