Protection Orders and Restraining Orders

Restraining Orders in Washington

Violation of a restraining or protection order is a serious offense in the state of Washington. 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 intervene with investigators and law enforcement officers on behalf of clients charged with violating a protection order.

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 a team of attorneys who know how to build a case and serve as strong advocates on your behalf - contact criminal defense attorneys at The Meryhew Law Group today.

Restraining Order or Protection Order?

A protection order is different from a restraining order. A protection order is issued by a judge in a domestic violence case in order to prohibit interaction of the defendant with the alleged victim. Under RCW 10.99, a protection order prohibits a defendant from contacting or interacting with the victim, the victim's children, or the victim's family.

A restraining order is issued after someone files an affidavit attesting to being threatened by you. Under RCW 26.50, after the initial affidavit is filed, a temporary restraining order goes into effect for 14 days. Afterward, a hearing is held to determine if the restraining order is justified and if it needs to be extended. At the hearing, you can retain a lawyer to represent you and present evidence to dispute the claims against you.

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
  • Give up ownership of any firearms you own
  • Avoid all contact with the person who filed the restraining order or protective order against you

Additionally, the police can take you into custody if you are suspected of violating the terms of a protection order or restraining order. 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.

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 attorneys present all of the facts involved in order to persuade the court our client is not a threat and deserves a second chance.

To schedule a confidential consultation and discuss your case, contact criminal defense attorneys at The Meryhew Law Group today.