What Happens If You Violate a Restraining Order in WA?

Restraining orders forbid specific types of contact between you and someone else who requested one against you. Having to respect a restraining order is not a crime but violating its terms is a criminal offense. Convictions for violating a restraining order become more severe if you accrue more than one conviction of this type.

If you are accused and/or arrested due to an alleged violation of a restraining order in the state of Washington, you should reach out to a competent criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to increase your chances of securing a dismissal of charges.

In Washington State, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond any reasonable doubt to convict someone of violating a restraining order:

  • A valid order was in place
  • The offender had received valid notice of the order
  • A prohibited contact happened

The burden of proof is on the prosecution, but you should nevertheless hire a criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and interests.

First and Second Violations

A first conviction for violation of a restraining order is typically a gross misdemeanor with the following penalties:

  • Up to a year of incarceration
  • Up to $5,000 in fines

A judge may choose either or both incarceration and fines as part of the sentence. The court also has the right under RCW §26.50.110 to require that the convicted individual uses electronic monitoring for a specific amount of time. The individual who committed the violation of a restraining order generally has to cover the costs associated with electronic monitoring.

A second violation of a restraining order usually qualifies as a gross misdemeanor although the penalties may increase.

Third Violation

If you have previously received two convictions for restraining order violations, a third conviction becomes a Class C felony.

The penalties for a third conviction of violating a restraining order can include:

  • Up to five years in prison
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Community service
  • Community supervision

Choose Hester Law Group to Protect Your Rights in Tacoma or Its Surrounding Areas

If you are facing allegations of violating a restraining order, we recommend you reach out to us right away. The penalties for a conviction can be severe and demonstrating that you did not violate the restraining order is key to obtaining a dismissal of charges.

Even if the person who filed the restraining order against you contacts you, it would still count as a violation as they still have the legal right to contact you. Effective defense strategies can include establishing that you did not know about the restraining order or that you did not mean to violate the court order.

During your initial consultation with Hester Law Group, you can expect our team to carefully evaluate your situation and recommend defense strategies to protect your right and future.

Are you accused of violating a restraining order in Tacoma or its surrounding areas? Contact Hester Law Group today at (253) 300-3034 to schedule a criminal defense consultation.