Changes to Washington’s Protection Order Laws?

SQ Attorneys

SQ Attorneys

In July of this year major changes in our civil protection order laws took effect. The laws that pertain to protection orders can now be found at RCW 7.105.

Under our new protection order laws, the rules and procedures have become more standardized. Electronic service is now prioritized except in certain delineated cases. Hearings related to protection orders may be held in person or remotely, and the law encourages remote appearance as the rule, not the exception. The court must allow a party to appear remotely unless it finds good cause to require them to attend in person or by other specific means.

Definitions were expanded and broaden the circumstances under which a person may obtain a domestic violence protection order. The definition of “domestic violence” now eliminates the requirement of imminence in the infliction of fear of physical harm, bodily injury or assault. “coercive control” and “unlawful harassment” are also now included in the definition of domestic violence. The definition of “Family or household members” is no longer limited to adults, and “Intimate partner” now includes persons in a dating relationship where both parties are at least thirteen years old, reduced from sixteen.

The court is not permitted to dismiss or deny a protection order because the alleged conduct would meet the criteria for a different type of protection order, and courts must prioritize ex parte temporary protection order petitions. Interestingly our protection order laws now permit a court to realign the parties if it finds the respondent was actually the victim. In short, the tables can be turned and the petitioner becomes the respondent and vice versa.

These are but a few of the changes made to Washington’s protection order laws. If you or a loved one needs the assistance of an experienced attorney to battle a protection order case, call the team at SQ Attorneys. SQ Attorneys is a Washington State criminal defense firm comprised of two seasoned criminal defense lawyers – Greg Schwesinger and Saad Qadri. Although neither Greg nor Saad condone criminal behavior, they certainly realize and appreciate that sometimes good people can get caught up in bad situations. After all, we are all human, and we all make mistakes. Call SQ Attorneys – (425) 359-3791 or (206) 441-0900.

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