Violations of Restraining Order, Protection Order, or No Contact Order

HDR shot of two police cars Concept for Violations of Restraining Order, Protection Order, or No Contact Order

Revisions to Washington’s domestic violence protection order statute, RCR 7.105.050, became effective on July 1, 2022. The new law combines four different types of restraining orders under one statute. The revisions are intended to increase the accessibility, efficiency, and effectiveness of protective orders by focusing on protecting alleged victims and making it easier for victims to seek a protective order.

New Law Combines Protection Orders Under One Statute

Previously, Washington statutes recognized different types of restraining orders, which varied depending on who initiated the order and the relationship between the alleged victim and the accused.

  • Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPO) were issued at the request of the alleged victim and provided a civil remedy to protect against domestic violence. A judge would issue a DVPO to protect an alleged victim from assault, harassment, or stalking.
  • Restraining Orders were civil orders issued in an existing family law matter, such as a divorce or child custody case.
  • Anti-Harassment Protection Orders (AHPO) were civil orders issued as a remedy for someone claiming harassment by a non-family member.
  • No Contact Orders were issued by a judge as part of a criminal case. For example, if someone was arrested for domestic violence, a judge could issue a no contact order to protect the victim by preventing the alleged abuser from contacting the victim. These orders were often issued against the wishes of the alleged victim.

Simplified Process for Obtaining an Order of Protection

Under the new statute, a single form is used to request a protective order, and protective orders are governed by the same statute.

A protective order can now be requested remotely or in person, whichever method is preferred by the person seeking the order.

Service requirements have changed and are now more consistent. Personal service is only required in cases that involve the surrender of firearms, the transfer of child custody, when the restrained person lives with the protected person and is being ordered to vacate the family home, or when the restrained person is in jail. In all other cases, the accused person can be served via text message, email, social media posts, and other online applications. Courts must use speedy and cost-effective methods of service. Proof of service must be provided by the person who effectuated service.

Hearings on protective orders can be held remotely or in person, and courts have discretion to allow parties and witnesses to attend in person or remotely, including by telephone, video, or other electronic means.

If the accused person is represented by counsel, the court can appoint counsel for the respondent.

Finally, the preferred distance the accused must remain from the home, workplace, or school of the petitioner has changed from 500 feet to 1,000 feet.

Penalties for First Offense Violation of a Restraining Order

The penalties for violating a protection order can be severe. A first offense is usually charged as a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

If you have two previous convictions for violating a domestic violence protection order and are charged with a third violation of a domestic violence protective order, you face a class C felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, fines of up to $10,000, and community service.

Defending Against Charges of Violation of a Restraining Order

To convict a person of violating a protective order, a judge must find that:

  1. An order of protection was in place;
  2. The defendant was aware of the protection order; and
  3. The defendant willfully engaged in contact prohibited by the protection order.

Common defenses to charges of violating a protective order are that the defendant did not know about the order of protection, that the defendant did not intend to contact the alleged victim, or that the alleged victim is lying.

A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Defend Against Allegations that You Violated a Protection Order

The laws that govern protection orders are complex, and their interpretation is nuanced and subject to interpretation. When there are allegations that someone violated the terms of a protection order, the judge is usually inclined to find the defendant guilty. But an experienced criminal defense lawyer can successfully defend you against allegations that you violated a protection order.

The Campbell Law Firm will independently investigate the allegations against you and apply our in-depth knowledge of criminal law to protect your rights and defend you against allegations that you violated a protection order.

To learn more, contact the Campbell Law Firm by calling (360) 588-4111, emailing, or completing our online form to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your situation and how we can help.

The Campbell Law Firm is based in Anacortes and proudly serves people in Island County, Oak Harbor, Coupeville, San Juan County, Friday Harbor, and all courts in Skagit County, including Anacortes, Mount Vernon, Burlington, and Sedro-Woolley.

Categories: Criminal Defense