It is an unfortunate reality that many people live in danger of violence from a family member, spouse or other person close to them. One thing a victim can do to seek relief is to obtain a domestic violence protection order. In Washington State, a DVPO can be obtained by a person who experiences physical harm, bodily injury or assault — or a fear that these acts are imminent — at the hands of a family or household member or intimate partner.
Washington law defines family and household members as:
- Parents and their children, grandparents and grandchildren and stepparents and stepchildren
- Adults related by blood or marriage
- Adults currently living together or who have lived together in the past
Intimate partners include:
- Spouses and domestic partners
- Former spouses and domestic partners
- People who have children together
- People 16 years of age or older who have lived together or have had a dating relationship
An eligible party can obtain a temporary protection order without prior notice to the alleged offender if there is a danger that irreparable injury would otherwise occur. The order can prohibit the offending party from having any contact with the other party or from coming within a specified distance of certain locations, such as the other party’s residence, workplace or school. It can also restrain the offending party from harassing, following or cyberstalking the other party. After a hearing, the DVPO can be made permanent, lasting for a period of weeks, months or years.
Typically, someone who violates a DVPO will be charged with a misdemeanor, which carries a potential penalty of up to a year in jail, thousands of dollars in fines or both. The judge can also require the violator to wear an electronic monitor. DVPO violations can be felonies carrying stiffer penalties in certain circumstances, such as when the violator has a previous record of domestic violence.
At Bottimore & Associates, P.L.L.C., in Tacoma, our family law attorneys are ready to help you obtain a domestic violence protection order. We also represent people who are accused of domestic violence but may have done nothing wrong. To speak with a skilled lawyer about your situation, please call 253-272-5653 or contact us online.