Should I file for a Civil Order Seeking Protection? A Civil Lawyer’s | Attorney’s Perspective based on Experience.
The 4 types of civil protection orders, Anti-Harassment Protection Orders, Domestic Violence Protection Orders, Sexual Assault Protection Orders (commonly called SAPOs) and Vulnerable Adult Protection Orders are filed for a variety of reasons. The end results vary, but some results are universal. If any kind of Protection Order is granted against someone (commonly called the respondent in legal jargon):
- The Court’s order and the Petition become public record for anyone to read. They are also entered into a database that all Washington State Law Enforcement personnel have access to.
- A court will enter an Order that limits behavior or actions and the police will come and consider arresting an offending party if it is claimed that they violated any aspect of the order.
- Violating a Protection Order is a Crime. RCW 7.105.450, RCW 7.105.455, RCW 7.105.460. Any violation is automatically a gross misdemeanor, and if the violation includes assaultive behavior, it can be a felony.
- Under certain circumstances, where it is claimed that a firearm or dangerous weapon was used, displayed, or threatened, Protection Orders can take away that weapon and any associated permits to carry them. RCW 9.41.800.
As to each type of order, there are specific remedies, including but not limited to:
- Domestic Violence Protection Orders can exclude you from the dwelling that the parties share, from the residence, workplace, or school of the filing party, or from the day care or school of a child. They can prevent you from knowingly coming within, or knowingly remaining within, a specified distance from a specified location, including your own house. Domestic Violence Protection Orders can order someone to participate in a domestic violence treatment program and prevent any contact with the victim of domestic violence or the victim’s children or members of the victim’s household. RCW 7.105.310. Whoever is determined to be the victim will be given as much protection as the court thinks is necessary to allow them to live a full and un-accosted life while the respondent simply has to work around the order. If this results in hardship, so be it. Violation is a crime.
- Anti-Harassment Protection Orders give judges broad authority to do what they think is proper. At minimum, this can include preventing you from making any attempt to contact the prevailing party, keep the prevailing party under surveillance and stay a certain distance from the prevailing party’s residence or workplace. Violation is a crime.
- Sexual Assault Protection Orders, commonly called SAPO Orders are powerful Orders that give the judge broad authority to prevent the offending party from having any contact, including nonphysical contact, with the offended party directly, indirectly, or through third parties regardless of whether those third parties know of the order. Sexual Assault Protection Orders can prevent the offending party from being at the petitioner’s residence, workplace, or school, or from the day care or school of a child, if the victim is a child. These Orders can also prevent the offending party from knowingly coming within, or knowingly remaining within, a specified distance from a specified location; and, lastly, these Orders give the judge any other injunctive relief as necessary or appropriate for the protection of the petitioner. These are powerful protection orders that can result in adults and children from being removed from a school or college to accommodate the alleged victim. RCW 7.105.310.
- Vulnerable Adult Protection Orders allow a judge to order the relief deemed necessary including: (1) Restraining the offending party from committing acts of abandonment, abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation against the vulnerable adult; (2) Excluding the offending party from the vulnerable adult’s residence for a specified period or until further order of the court; (3) Prohibiting contact with the vulnerable adult by the offending party for a specified period or until further order of the court; (4) Prohibiting the offending party from knowingly coming within, or knowingly remaining within, a specified distance from a specified location; (5) Requiring an accounting by the offending party for the disposition of the vulnerable adult’s income or other resources; (6) Restraining the transfer of the offending party’s and/or vulnerable adult’s property for a specified period not exceeding ninety days; and (7) Requiring the offending party to pay a filing fee and court costs, including service fees, and to reimburse the person bringing the action for costs incurred in bringing the action, including a reasonable attorney’s fee. Any relief granted by an order of protection, other than a judgment for costs, shall be for a fixed period not to exceed five years. RCW 74.34.130.
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