When Does a Protection Order Actually End?

In Washington state, protection orders are a legal mechanism used to protect the people – not to punish those who have orders filed against them. These orders are a critical element in preserving the safety of those who legitimately need protection, which is why the team here at Burke Brown Attorneys feels strongly about ensuring these orders are used effectively and not abused.

It is essential for both the petitioner, the person seeking protection, and the respondent, the person against whom the order is filed, to understand the implications and duration of these orders. What some people often do not realize is that a protection order can, in effect, be indefinite.

While these orders are initially set for a period of one year, petitioners have the right in the state of Washington to request extensions beyond this period. This can have profound consequences, potentially restricting your access to your children and limiting your freedom of movement in areas where the petitioner or your children are present.

Continual Extensions Under the Protection Order Act

Under Chapter 7.105 RCW, also known as the Protection Order Act, petitioners have the right to request as many extensions of a protection order as they deem necessary, subject to court approval. This can be initiated within 90 days before the order’s expiration.

The law heavily favors renewal from the court unless the respondent can effectively demonstrate that the behaviors that led to the order, such as domestic violence, nonconsensual sexual misconduct, or harassment, will not continue. This, of course, places the burden on the respondent as opposed to the petitioner and creates an urgency to take action to end a protection order against you. How, exactly, do you prove that these acts won’t continue?

Proving Violating Acts Won’t Continue

With the burden of proof on your shoulders to demonstrate that the violating acts won’t continue, simply doing “nothing” won’t suffice. It’s not enough to simply claim an absence of incidents or contact for the duration of the order as evidence that the acts will not continue.

The court will proceed with caution when considering the safety of the petitioner, requiring the respondent to take substantial steps to actually prove change. This often involves engaging in demonstrable efforts such as counseling, treatment, and utilizing resources aimed at preventing future misconduct.

These proactive measures are crucial in convincing the court of the respondent’s commitment to change and addressing the issues that necessitate the order. Without bonafide action, you are left hoping for something that likely will never come. There are real, certified programs in our state certified by the Washington Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) that provide a roadmap toward your freedom.

Take Action to Free Yourself from a Washington Protection Order

The process of lifting or terminating a protection order in Washington can be daunting. Lawyers experienced in these matters understand the importance of a well-formulated strategy to address the court’s concerns. Seeking skilled legal counsel is essential in presenting a compelling case to the court.

At Burke Brown Attorneys, we offer the necessary guidance and support to navigate this complex process. Our approach involves a combination of legal guidance and practical advice, aimed at achieving the best possible outcome for our clients. Contact our team today to better understand your situation and explore the steps required to resolve a protection order against you, enabling you to move forward with your life.

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