AVVO - 10
10 BEST 2014
Best Criminal Defense Attorneys in Seattle
Super Lawyers

Domestic Violence Protection Orders and Sexual Assault Protection Orders

Restraining Orders in Washington

When someone is accused of sexual misconduct it is not unusual for the person accusing you to seek a civil protection order, which are typically either a Domestic Violence Protection Order or a Sexual Assault Protection Order. The Domestic Violence Protection Order will cost you’re your right to possess firearms for the rest of your life, and the Sexual Assault Protection Order will cost you that right while the order is in effect, which could be for life. Violation of a restraining or protection order is a serious offense in the state of Washington and with multiple offenses can be a felony. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you could be sentenced to jail, home monitoring, be fined, have visitation rights revoked, or sent back to prison if on probation. At The Meryhew Law Group, we help mount a vigorous defense on behalf of clients charged with violating a protection order. But we find the best solution is to fight the imposition of that order in the first place.

Seattle Restraining Order Lawyers

As Seattle restraining order lawyers, we realize an angry ex-spouse, girlfriend, co-worker, or spiteful neighbor can use a restraining order to manipulate a divorce or personal dispute. That's why we work with our own investigators to collect eyewitness testimony, check video surveillance evidence, and tell your side of the story. Due to heightened concern regarding violence against women, the court does not want to appear "soft" on domestic violence or stalking issues.

Regardless whether you're innocent or made an error in judgment, don't assume the court is prepared to give you a second chance. Be prepared with an attorney who knows how to build a case and serve as a strong advocate on your behalf - contact criminal defense attorney at The Meryhew Law Group today.

Court Issued Restraining Orders as a Condition of Sentence or Release

As part of many criminal cases, a protection order is issued by a judge in a criminal case based on an allegation of domestic violence or sexual misconduct in order to prohibit interaction of the defendant with the alleged victim or witnesses. Under RCW 10.99, a protection order prohibits a defendant from directly, indirectly or thought a third party contacting or interacting with the complaining witness, their children, or their family. A violation of these orders can lead to a person being incarcerated while their case is pending or additional criminal charges.

Domestic Violence Protection Orders

A Domestic Violence Protection Order is issued after someone files an affidavit attesting to be the victims of an act of domestic violence. Under RCW 26.50, after the initial affidavit is filed, a temporary restraining order goes into effect for 14 days and sometimes longer by agreement. Afterward, a hearing is held to determine if the restraining order is justified and if it needs to be extended and for how long. At the hearing, in order to be prepared and avoid the serious consequences of these order, you should retain an experienced lawyer to represent you and present evidence to dispute the claims against you.

In order to obtain a Domestic Violence Protection Order, the Petitioner must prove an act of domestic violence. Domestic Violence is defined by that statute as follows: "Domestic violence" means: (a) Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, sexual assault, or stalking as defined in RCW 9A.46.110 of one intimate partner by another intimate partner; or (b) physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, sexual assault, or stalking as defined in RCW 9A.46.110 of one family or household member by another family or household member.

This is a broad definition and can be supported by affidavits or the live testimony of the person accusing you, text messages, emails, witness affidavits and testimony, or other documents. To fight these Orders, it is critical to be prepared and to offer your own evidence and prepared testimony. Defending against these on your own can be a frustrating and losing proposition.

Sexual Assault Protection Orders

In order for someone to obtain a Sexual Assault Protection Order against you they must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that there has been nonconsensual sexual conduct or nonconsensual sexual penetration. This Petition shall be accompanied by an affidavit made under oath stating the specific facts and circumstances that support the request for the Order.

"Sexual conduct" means any of the following:

  • Any intentional or knowing touching or fondling of the genitals, anus, or breasts, directly or indirectly, including through clothing;
  • Any intentional or knowing display of the genitals, anus, or breasts for the purposes of arousal or sexual gratification of the respondent;
  • Any intentional or knowing touching or fondling of the genitals, anus, or breasts, directly or indirectly, including through clothing, that the petitioner is forced to perform by another person or the respondent;
  • Any forced display of the petitioner's genitals, anus, or breasts for the purposes of arousal or sexual gratification of the respondent or others;
  • Any intentional or knowing touching of the clothed or unclothed body of a child under the age of thirteen, if done for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal of the respondent or others; and
  • Any coerced or forced touching or fondling by a child under the age of thirteen, directly or indirectly, including through clothing, of the genitals, anus, or breasts of the respondent or others.
  • "Sexual penetration" means any contact, however slight, between the sex organ or anus of one person by an object, the sex organ, mouth, or anus of another person, or any intrusion, however slight, of any part of the body of one person or of any animal or object into the sex organ or anus of another person, including but not limited to cunnilingus, fellatio, or anal penetration. Evidence of emission of semen is not required to prove sexual penetration.
Once a Restraining Order is Issued against You

If the court decides to issue a restraining order against you, you must comply with the following:

  • Leave any living space you share with the person who filed the restraining order against you.
  • Surrender any firearms you have in your possession or control.
  • Avoid all contact with the person who filed the restraining order or protective order against you

If you violated the terms of this order the Police can take you into custody or refer you for criminal charges. If someone calls the police and claims they saw you within proximity of the person or persons you are supposed to stay away from, you can be arrested and detained even if you are innocent. This can create significant disruption to your life and place you at the mercy of angry family members or friends of the person who file a protection order against you. Just because you never want to see someone again is not a reason to just let them have this order. The consequences are serious, and only an experienced sex offense defense attorney can give you the best defense in Court.

What if I'm Convicted of Violating a Restraining Order or Protection Order?

If convicted, you could be placed in jail, fined, electronically monitored, and be left with a permanent criminal record. If on probation, you could be sent back to prison. Since most employers have a zero-tolerance policy in regard to criminal convictions, you could lose your job. If your conviction is entered on your criminal record, you may find it difficult to rent an apartment or find a job when a background check is conducted on you.

Fighting Restraining Orders

Arresting police officers don't conduct investigations or ask many questions when making an arrest on a restraining order violation. As a result, people who are innocent or at the wrong place at the wrong time, often find themselves facing serious charges. Alternatively, people struggling with an alcohol addiction, depression, or mental illness may need counseling and help instead of incarceration. Our attorney present all of the facts involved in order to persuade the court our client is not a threat and deserves a second chance.

Client Reviews
Just so you all know this man is a GOD sent and has my complete blessing and gratitude. [Brad] is one of the most honest and forthright human beings that I have ever met...and he saved my life. Daniel