Washington courts take domestic abuse seriously. Our laws have expanded to protect against many abusive behaviors: physical abuse, stalking, cyberstalking, and harassment.
Domestic violence is a pattern of physical and or emotional abuse used to control a person with whom the abusive person has an intimate or family relationship. If children are involved, it is essential to eliminate the exposure to domestic violence to prevent long-lasting psychological harm. Parties can obtain a Temporary Order for Protection immediately.
Domestic Violence Protection Orders is a civil protection order available to protect victims from abuse committed by family or household members. A person can petition for relief for themselves and on behalf of their children or household members.
Anti-Harassment Orders apply when parties are not married or living together and have no children together. A party may seek an order if someone has seriously alarmed, annoyed or harassed them. The petitioner (party requesting the order) must prove that the conduct would cause a reasonable person to suffer serious emotional distress and that the conduct was intentional or willful and served no legitimate purpose.
Stalking Protection Orders are available when someone is intentionally harassing, monitoring or following you and this makes you feel intimidated, frightened or threatened. The conduct must occur more than once.
Unfortunately, false allegations of domestic violence occur. False allegations can be used by the unscrupulous as a part of gamesmanship in family law matters to secure a tactical advantage. The collateral consequences of having an order entered against you are serious: you can be barred from your home and contact with your children, banned from owning firearms, and will likely be required to participate in a domestic violence perpetrator treatment program. It can cause job loss if you are in the military, police, or similar occupations where employment requires carrying a weapon.
What I can do.
Civil protection order hearings are challenging. There is a very low standard of proof for allegations. Hearsay testimony and statements are allowed because the traditional rules of evidence do not apply. I have successfully litigated and defended against all types of domestic violence protection orders, including successful defense of law enforcement.