In Washington state, a restraining order is a type of court order that prohibits contact via specific methods with one or more individuals. A judge can often issue one in family law cases including divorce, paternity, and domestic violence. In certain situations, a court can opt for a protective order or a no-contact order.
A restraining order can concern contact methods such as:
- Phone calls
- Social media
- Using a third person as an intermediary
A restraining order can also prohibit a person from coming within a specific distance of the protected person, whether at work or home. A restraining order can be temporary or permanent.
If the protected person or someone else accuses you of violating a restraining order, you can face severe penalties that increase after your first and second violations. If you are facing charges, you should reach out to an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you avoid contesting the accusations. A reputable attorney can play a significant role in building a successful defense.
What Are the Penalties for a Restraining Order Violations in Washington State?
A judge usually categorizes a first restraining order violation as a gross misdemeanor, which can result in up to a year of jail time and up to $5,000 in fines.
If you receive two previous convictions for violating a restraining order, a judge charges a third offense as a Class C felony.
This type of conviction can lead to the following penalties:
- Up to five years in prison
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Community service
Common Defense Strategies Against Charges of Violating a Restraining Order
To convict someone of violating a restraining order, a Washington state judge must prove the following elements:
- A restraining order was in place
- You were aware of the restraining order
- You willfully engaged in prohibited contact with the plaintiff
To help you successfully contest an accusation of violating a restraining order, your defense attorney can demonstrate that you did not know about the restraining order or that you did not mean to contact the plaintiff. They can also show evidence that your accuser is lying.
Hire Hester Law Group as Your Criminal Defense Attorney to Secure a Positive Outcome
Even if the plaintiff initiated contact, the state of Washington can still consider that you violated the restraining order. The laws governing restraining orders, protective orders, and no-contact orders, can be complex and a judge usually aims for a conviction. In addition to formal penalties, this type of conviction can negatively affect your professional and personal life in the long run, including custody rights and employability.
When you trust Hester Law Group to advocate for your rights and future, we bring our in-depth understanding of the law and our thorough knowledge of the judicial system to help you build a strong defense. Our team always recommends that you contact us as soon as you face charges of violating a restraining order.
During your initial consultation, which we can offer for free, we carefully review your situation and make sure we have all the necessary elements to get started with your defense. With decades of experience and a successful track record, we aim to obtain a dismissal of charges against you and if this is not an option, we are committed to getting a reduction of charges.
If you are accused of violating a restraining order in Tacoma, contact Hester Law Group today at (253) 300-3034 to schedule a free consultation with one of our criminal defense attorneys.