Washington Protection Order Attorney
Ready to Help You Obtain a Domestic Violence Protective Order
Protection or restraining orders are a legal tool that can be used to help protect you and your family from domestic violence. If you are in immediate danger, you should call 911. If you are not in immediate danger but are concerned about your safety, you should contact an experienced family law attorney who can help you understand your options and guide you through the process of obtaining a protection order.
At McKinley Irvin, we have been helping clients with protection orders for over three decades years. Our team understands the law and the process, and we know how to get results. We have offices throughout Washington State and we serve clients throughout the Pacific Northwest.
What is a Domestic Violence Protection Order?
A Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) is a legal remedy designed to offer immediate protection to individuals who have experienced domestic violence. Domestic violence, as defined by Washington law, encompasses a range of abusive behaviors, including physical harm, threats, intimidation, stalking, harassment, or the willful destruction of property. The DVPO is a civil court order sought by a petitioner who has been a victim of such violence, and it serves as a crucial tool in providing safety and relief.
Here are several key provisions of a DVPO:
- Prohibition of Contact: One of the primary functions of a DVPO is to establish a clear boundary between the victim and the alleged abuser. The order typically includes provisions that prohibit the abuser from initiating any form of contact with the victim. This can include direct communication, phone calls, text messages, emails, or social media interactions.
- Stay-Away Orders: To ensure the safety of the victim, a DVPO may include specific geographic restrictions. The abuser may be prohibited from coming near the victim's residence, workplace, school, or any other specified locations where the victim is likely to be present.
- Temporary Custody and Visitation Rights: In cases where the victim and the abuser share children, a DVPO may address temporary custody and visitation arrangements. This can include provisions to ensure the safety of the children, such as supervised visitation or restrictions on the abuser's access.
- Possession of Firearms: To enhance the safety of the victim, a DVPO may include provisions regarding the possession of firearms. The court may order the abuser to surrender any firearms they own and prohibit them from acquiring new ones during the duration of the order.
- Counseling or Treatment Requirements: In some cases, the court may mandate that the abuser participate in counseling, anger management, or other relevant treatment programs as a condition of the DVPO. These requirements aim to address the root causes of the violence and reduce the risk of future harm.
How to Get a Protection Order
Filing a Petition
The initiation of the DVPO process involves the petitioner filing a petition with the appropriate court. This critical step can be undertaken at the local courthouse or through designated domestic violence assistance programs, which are often equipped to provide guidance and support through the legal procedures. The petitioner, who is typically the victim of domestic violence, submits a written statement detailing the incidents of abuse, the relationship with the alleged abuser, and any supporting evidence.
Temporary Order and Hearing
In urgent situations where immediate protection is necessary, the court may issue a temporary DVPO based on the petitioner's sworn testimony and the evidence provided in the initial petition. This temporary order serves as a protective measure until a formal hearing can be scheduled. The hearing allows both the petitioner and the alleged abuser to present their respective cases before the court. During this proceeding, evidence may be presented, witnesses may testify, and legal arguments are considered. The court then determines whether to extend, modify, or dismiss the temporary order, or to issue a more permanent order based on the merits of the case.
Service of the Order
Once a DVPO is granted, it must be officially served to the alleged abuser to ensure they are aware of the order's terms and conditions. Law enforcement officers are often involved in this process to guarantee that the order is properly served and to emphasize the legal consequences of non-compliance. The served order outlines the specific prohibitions, restrictions, and requirements imposed on the alleged abuser. It is crucial for the abuser to understand the severity of violating the order, as such violations may lead to legal consequences, including arrest.
Duration and Renewal
A DVPO is typically issued for a specified duration, often one year. However, if the petitioner continues to experience a credible threat of domestic violence even after the initial order expires, they have the option to seek a renewal of the order. The renewal process involves filing a request with the court, presenting evidence of ongoing threats or violence, and making a compelling case for the extension of protection. The court will then determine whether the circumstances warrant the continuation of the DVPO.
Throughout this process, victims of domestic violence are encouraged to seek the guidance of legal professionals, domestic violence advocates, or support organizations. These resources can offer assistance in navigating the legal system, ensuring that the necessary documents are filed correctly, and providing emotional support during a challenging time. The overarching goal of the DVPO process is to safeguard victims and provide a legal framework to deter and address domestic violence.
How We Can Help
When seeking assistance from McKinley Irvin, our experienced attorneys can guide you through the process of filing for a DVPO in Washington.
Here's how we can support you in obtaining the protection you need:
- Initial Consultation: We offer an initial consultation to discuss your specific situation. During this meeting, we gather essential details about the domestic violence incidents, assess the nature of the relationship, and determine the appropriate legal steps to take.
- Explaining Legal Options: We provide a comprehensive overview of your legal options, including the possibility of obtaining a DVPO. Our attorneys explain the requirements, benefits, and potential outcomes associated with seeking this form of protection.
- Preparing the DVPO Petition: We assist in preparing the DVPO petition, ensuring that all necessary information is accurately documented. This includes details of the domestic violence incidents, the relationship between the parties involved, and any supporting evidence you may have.
- Filing Documents with the Court: Handling the administrative aspects of the process, we take care of filing the necessary documents with the appropriate court. This includes submitting the DVPO petition and any additional supporting evidence on your behalf.
- Representation at Hearings: In cases where a temporary DVPO hearing is scheduled, our attorneys represent you in court. We present your case persuasively, ensuring that the court understands the urgency and necessity of obtaining immediate protection.
- Communicating with Law Enforcement: We can facilitate communication with law enforcement agencies to ensure that the DVPO is properly served to the alleged abuser. This step is crucial in enforcing the terms of the order and making the abuser aware of the legal consequences for non-compliance.
- Guidance on Duration and Renewal: Our team provides guidance on the duration of the DVPO and the possibility of renewal if the threat of domestic violence persists. We assist you in navigating the legal process to seek an extension of the order when necessary.
- Legal Support Throughout: Our commitment goes beyond the initial filing. We provide ongoing legal support, addressing any questions or concerns you may have throughout the duration of the DVPO. This includes assistance with potential modifications or enforcement issues that may arise.
Our Washington protective order lawyers understand the sensitive nature of domestic violence cases, and we are dedicated to advocating for your safety and well-being. We work diligently to navigate the legal system on your behalf, providing you with the support and representation needed to secure your desired outcome.