Litigating and Fighting Protection Orders. An Experienced Lawyer | Attorney’s Perspective
Over the course of our legal careers, the lawyers in our office have filed and litigated, prosecuted or defended every kind of protection order case throughout the Puget Sound region. Though it appears to be self-serving, we recommend using a lawyer to file or defend these cases if you want to win. Filing or defending a protection order case is not something you want to do twice and, in general, the law will not give you a chance to do so. Once a primary victim is chosen, the law and judges do not readily change their mind. Properly documenting, organizing, presenting and arguing cases in courtrooms, while factoring in new evidence, answering questions and keeping track of the big picture is what a competent litigator is trained to do . If you do proceed on your own, based on our experience watching other lawyers | attorneys and people proceeding without counsel, there certain conclusions we have come to about how to handle and present these kinds of cases … and perhaps any case.
Organize. We have lost track of the number of cases where the declarations and the evidence presented were disorganized. We have argued cases where the other side may have had a valid concern, but their inability to organize their facts and case in any meaningful fashion cost them a chance at prevailing. Organizing facts increases the chances of anyone understanding what you mean. No judge wants to sift through a pile of unorganized material to find your point. A defining characteristic between excellent lawyers who fight and litigate and everyone else is that they take the time to organize a case into a meaningful and understandable story. Failure to do so always costs you.
Put Your Best Foot Forward. People, and even some lawyers, fail to lead with their best evidence. Now, there may be advantages to waiting to say something, but failing to lead with your strongest evidence for no reason is foolish. You cannot blame a judge or anyone else for that matter, for missing your point if you bury it in details.
Keep to The Point. Unrepresented parties are the worst at this, but we have even seen the lawyers fall prey to this error. It is easy to get distracted in courtrooms, however, allowing your testimony or argument to wander not only decreases the chances that a court or commissioner will understand you and agree with you, but getting someone to agree with you is more difficult if they have to figure out what you are saying. You lose credibility as a speaker if you can’t stick to the point.
Do not Exaggerate or Twist Facts. Everyone wants to win their case, it’s fun to win, but trying to do so by exaggerating or twisting facts means you are trying to win at the expense of your credibility. This is foolish. We have had cases where we are losing but the other side was not ok with just winning, they wanted to hit a homerun. Sensing that they were close to convincing the judge, they began to exaggerate and twist facts. Doing this lost credibility and eventually lost a case they should have won. When in doubt, when you’re ahead, be quiet, stick to the facts and don’t fall prey to trying to “make” your case. Your credibility as a speaker or witness wins cases, getting caught exaggerating or twisting facts ruins your credibility.
Know the Law and How to Apply it. Domestic Violence Protection Orders, Sexual Assault Protection Orders, Anti-Harassment Protection Orders, and Vulnerable Adult Protection Orders have links to each of the sections of the Revised Code of Washington that contains the law that creates these legal concepts. Though there are other sections that may apply, at minimum, reading and knowing these sections, especially what are you trying to prove is essential to walking into a courtroom. I have seen commissioners, from the bench, interrupt and try to redirect parties to the law and standards. Though this is improper, even judges lose patience when parties enter a courtroom without knowing the law. If you are going to play lawyer, at minimum, take the time to get familiar with the law.
Over the course of our lengthy legal careers, our lawyers | attorneys have litigated and fought a wide variety of complicated and emotionally tangled disputes, familial disputes, abuse, harassment and sexual behavior in the legal arena. Our office is a unique blend of courtroom experience, knowledge, skills and temperament. Our lawyers know cases are rarely as simple as police reports or accusations claim. Our clients hire us because they want trained listeners who are staunch, uncompromising and effective. They want counsel who takes the time to listen and fight vigorously for a result. Whether acting in our role as counsel, advocate, negotiator or litigator, we have years of experience manipulating, working and fighting to resolve cases with our clients’ best interests in mind.
Choosing the right counsel for your case is essential. Choosing bad counsel can set the tone for a long and difficult road. Call us at 206-708-7852 to set up an appointment to discuss your situation.