Protective Order Arrests and Convictions

Restraining Order FAQ Information Center

Washington State law allows an individual to file a civil case in court, asking a judge to grant an order to protect them from another person whose behavior is abusive, threatening, exploitive or seriously alarming. The primary purpose is to order the “Respondent” to not contact or harm the “Petitioner.”

There are 4 types of protections orders, intended for specific situations. Washington State law establishes who can seek them, who they can protect, who they can restrain, the types of protections and relief they offer, when and where court hearings are conducted, what costs may be incurred, etc.

Petitioners (the person filing the case) choose which type of protection order is most appropriate for them to pursue. However, protection orders do not cover everyone’s needs; there may be other legal remedies that are appropriate. Revised Code of Washington

Other types of orders

The vast majority of people come to the Clerk after an incident where a police officer advised them to go to court to get a “no contact” or “restraining” order. No contact and restraining orders can also order a person not to contact or harm someone, but they are not protection orders and are used in different situations.

Restraining orders: These type of orders are requested by the parties as part of an existing domestic cases such as a divorce or a case to determine paternity, custody, child support or visitation.

Important Things To Understand About The Protection Order Process

The process for obtaining all protection orders is somewhat similar. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to obtain a protection order, the Petitioner should keep in mind the following:

  • The Petitioner is filing a civil court case.
  • There may be costs for filing fees, copies, service of copies of forms on the Respondent, etc.
  • The Petitioner must complete several court forms.
  • The documents are filed in a publicly available court file (except the Law Enforcement Information Sheet).
  • A return hearing will be scheduled to determine if the court will issue a long term order.
  • The Respondent can defend against the allegations brought against them in court.
  • The judge can determine if the protection order should be granted or not.
  • The Respondent (the other party) must be served with copies of documents, including the:
    (a) Petition, so the respondent knows of the allegations and what type of relief the Petitioner is requesting, and (b) the Temporary Order (if granted) and (c) Notice of Nearing, so the respondent is aware of any restraints currently against her/him, and the time and location of the hearing will be.
  • There may be more than one return hearing, especially if Petitioner has difficulty in getting the Respondent served with the necessaary papers.
  • Each trip to the courthouse, to start the case and to appear again at court hearings, usually takes 2-5 hours.
  • The judge will review the court documents and decide if the legal standards have been met in order to grant the protection order.

What “Basic” Protection Order Forms Are Needed to Start a Case?

What They Are and Who Gets Them

Petition: This is the formal request to the Judge to enter a protection order. This document identifies who the parties are, their relationship to each other, describes the behavior that necessitates seeking a protection order,and what relief the Petitioner is requesting. The judge uses this information to determine if the Petitioner qualifies for the protection order.

The Petitioner should prepare three copies of each document they are submitting to the court for filing.

  • Clerk – This is the Original document which is filed and retained by the court.
  • Petitioner – This is the copy, for Petitioner’s records.
  • Respondent – A copy must be served on Respondent as notice of the claims made against them by the Petitioner.

Temporary Order for Protection and Notice of Hearing: Most Petitioners request immediate temporary protection, without prior notice to the Respondent, to protect them until the return hearing date. (If they do not request one or if the judge determines the situation does not justify one, a Notice of Hearing is used to set the return hearing date or the Denial Order may set the hearing.)

The Temporary Order for Protection and Notice of Hearing identifies any restraints currently in place, when and where the future hearing is (which is also the expiration date), instruction regarding WACIC data entry and service on Respondent.

  • Clerk – This is the Original document which is filed and retained by the court.
  • Petitioner – A Certified copy for Petitioner (usually 2, plus others as needed for school, daycare, work, landlord). The Petitioner will keep a copy of this order on their person at all times. If necessary, this document tells the responding officer that there is an Order of Protection in place.
  • Respondent – A copy of the Order is served on Respondent, usually via law enforcement agency having jurisdiction where Petitioner resides, as long as the Petitioner knows Respondent’s address. This docuMENT can also be served by a private civil process server or a 3rd party (usually a friend or family member). A Return of Service must be filed with the court after service. The Petitioner must send a copy to Law Enforcement to confirm the Respondent was served if service was performed by a third party.
  • Law Enforcement – A copy for law enforcement for WACIC data entry.

The Temporary Order for Protection and Notice of Hearing identifies which agency the Clerk shall forward the copy to for WACIC data entry:

  • If the Petitioner resides within city limits, that city’s police enter the order.
  • If the Petitioner resides outside of city limits, in unincorporated county, that county’s sheriff enters the order.

Law Enforcement Information Sheet: Identifying information about the protected and restrained person such as birth date, description, address, plus hazard information such as access to weapons and use of drugs. This is a “pass-through” document and is not retained by the Clerk.

  • Petitioner – Original is copied and returned to the Petitioner
  • Law Enforcement – Copy must be included with all orders for WACIC data entry. Without the information in this form, law enforcement can’t enter the order into WACIC and the order is rejected.
  • Process Server (Law Enforcement, professional, or third party) – For use in locating and identifying the Respondent – NOT to be served on the Respondent. Law enforcement does not research the location of the Respondent to be served.

Several forms request the birthdates of the parties. It is one of the most critical personal identifiers used by law enforcement. This informtion is used to:

  • (a) Enter an order into WACIC
  • (b) Update WACIC after the Respondent has been served and knows of the restraints imposed by the Judge
  • (c) Verify if a protection order is “in the system” when an officer needs to enforce the order

The Most Common Orders Entered at the Return Court Hearing

  • “Full” Order for Protection -usually expires in 1 year
  • Reissuance of Temporary Order for Protection – usually expires in 14 days
  • Denial Order
  • Order Modifying/Terminating Order for Protection

Usually, the Petitioner is handed the order with specific instructions to deliver it directly to the Clerk´s Office.

On occasion, it may be appropriate for court personnel to escort the Petitioner.

A signed order must never leave the Courthouse. After the hearing, it is critical that the Petitioner return with the signed original order to the Clerk´s Office. There are several important steps to complete following the hearing.

After the Court Hearing: Return to the Clerk to Process the Court Order

1) Filing:

The Clerk will file the original order. The Clerk checks for the Judge’s signature, any future hearing date, expiration date, name of the law enforcement agency to which the Clerk will send a copy for data entry, and whether the Respondent must be served.

2) Petitioner´s Copies:

The Petitioner obtains 1 or more certified copies of the order. They usually get one to carry with them, and one for their records. They may also want additional copies for their employer, landlord, children’s school or daycare, etc.

3) Service:

If the Respondent did not receive proper notice of the hearing, and the Judge sets another hearing, a copy of the new order will need to be served on the Respondent. The Petitioner will need to obtain a copy of the new order to arrange for service by law enforcement, private process server, a 3rd party other than the Petitioner.

If a temporary order has been reissued (continued), the petition, and temporary order are recopied for inclusion in the service packet. In addition to the documents to be served on the Respondent, the Clerk will provide another Return of Service form, recopy the Petitioner’s LEIS form, and … if the court ordered fees waived … a copy of the fee waiver form so that law enforcement will not charge the Petitioner for service.

Questions can be asked and answered regarding service issues at that time.

4) WACIC entry:

The Clerk must send a copy of the protection order to the law enforcement agency (city or county) responsible for entry into the Washington Crime Information Center or WACIC. WACIC is the statewide computer system used by law enforcement in this state to list and verify the existence of orders such as protection orders, restraining orders, no-contact orders and bench warrants.

Every order that establishes, modifies, or terminates restraints is sent to law enforcement for entry or update of WACIC. The order has a place to identify which agency is to perform WACIC entry.

  • If the Petitioner resides within city limits, that city’s police enter the order.
  • If the Petitioner resides outside of city limits, in unincorporated county, that county’s sheriff enters the order.

Questions can be asked and answered regarding WACIC data entry issues at that time.

Contact Is Usually Very Important To Both The Petitioner And The Clerk.

If the Petitioner does not return to the Clerk’s Office with the court’s Order, the Petitioner does not have an opportunity to obtain certified copies for Petitioner’s person use, any necessary copies and forms needed to arrange for service on the Respondent, and can’t provide the Clerk with the required LEIS to forward along with the order to law enforcement.

The Clerk loses the opportunity to review the order for any missing signatures, expiration dates, future hearing date problems, before the Petitioner is gone and can’t be contacted. Time can be critical, especially when future hearing dates are scheduled.

This is intended to assist you in choosing which type of protection order may fit your situation. These 4 types of protection order cases are not appropriate for everyone, in every situation.

Domestic Violence Protection Order, RCW 26.50

A petition can be filed by a person who is a victim of domestic violence or fears violence by a “family or household member”. This includes:

  • Persons who are or were married.
  • Adults who do or did reside together.
  • Persons who are or were domestic partners.
  • Persons 16 years or older who have or had a dating relationship.
  • Persons who have a child in common.
  • Adults who are related by blood or marriage.
  • Persons with a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren.

The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) may petition on behalf and with the consent of a vulnerable adult.

“Domestic Violence” means:

  • Physical harm, bodily injury.
  • Assault.
  • The infliction of fear of imminent physical harm.
  • Sexual assault.
  • Stalking.

Costs to Petitioner: No fee for forms, filing, or certified copies. No fee required for service of documents on the Respondent, if performed by law enforcement.


The case will be filed in the city or county where the Petitioner resides. If the Petitioner has left the residence to avoid abuse, the case may also be filed in the city or county of the new residence. Filed as a stand-alone civil case. Can also be filed in a dissolution, legal separation, parentage or 3rd party custody case if the parties are the same.


The initial hearing for emergency ex parte temporary orders are held in the Ex Parte Department: W325 in Seattle, 1J in Kent.

Return hearings are held in the Family Law Department: Room W291 in Seattle, 1G in Kent.

Antiharassment Protection Order, RCW 10.14

A petition can be filed by:

  • An adult who is a victim of unlawful harassment.
  • Parents, on behalf of their child: Against an adult whose behavior is detrimental to the child.
  • Parents, on behalf of their child: Against a minor who is under investigation or has been adjudicated of an offense against the child.

“Unlawful Harassment” means:

A knowing and willful course of conduct which seriously alarms, annoys, harasses, or is detrimental to such person, and which serves no legitimate or lawful purpose. The conduct shall be such as would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and shall actually cause substantial emotional distress to the Petitioner, or, when the course of conduct would cause a reasonable parent to fear for the well-being of their child.

“Course of conduct” means:

A pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose.

Costs to Petitioner: No fee for forms. Filing fee is $53.00 plus fees for copies and for service of court documents on the Respondent. Fees may be waived by court order (except service fees by private companies). May be required to pay costs of a guardian ad litem appointed on behalf of a minor.


  • The case may be filed in the city or judicial district of the county in which the harassment occurred or where the Respondent resides at the time the petition is filed.
  • Filed as a stand-alone civil case. Can also be filed in a dissolution, legal separation, parentage or 3rd party custody case if the parties are the same.


  • The initial hearing for emergency ex parte temporary orders are held in the Ex Parte Department: Room W325 in Seattle, Room 1J in Kent.
  • The Return hearings: The courtroom and judge vary.

Consequences of Protective Order Non-Compliance

Violation of an antiharassment, restraining, no-contact or protection order is a gross misdemeanor offense. The third conviction is a felony. See RCW 26.50.110(1, (5).

A wealth of information is available at the King County Superior Court website

Most people object to a protection order being placed upon them for three general reasons:

  • Information is readily available to law enforcement.
  • Interference with employment.
  • The Respondent did not engage in conduct justifying the order against them.

At Jensen Legal were are experienced with both obtaining protection orders and defending against them.

Experienced Seattle Criminal Defense Law Firm

Talk with a domestic violence criminal defense attorney about the evidence, facts and possible defenses in your Protective Order case. Contact an experienced criminal law defense attorney right away.