No Contact Orders and Violations Thereof

When people in Washington talk about No-Contact Orders, they are usually referring to a particular type of protection order. These types include Anti-Harassment Orders (RCW Chapter 10.14), Domestic Violence Protection Orders (RCW Chapter 26.50), Restraining Orders (Multiple RCW sections) normal No-Contact Orders (formal order issued by a criminal court) and simple conditions of release (again for criminal cases).

There are two general types of defense relating to No-Contact Orders: fighting a criminal charge of violating an order, and fighting the imposition of an order in the first place. Ashbach Law Offices, LLC has successfully represented clients charged with criminal allegations as well as facing imposition of orders. No-Contact orders can have significant life impacts, including inability to live at home, see loved ones, possess a firearm, and depending on the employer, loss of a job or career.

The lawyers at Ashbach Law Offices, LLC provide aggressive, strong defense for those with no contact order problems throughout Skagit, Snohomish, King and Whatcom Counties. Our goal is to aggressively protect you, your family and your interests from the prosecution, saving jail time, licenses, occupations and reputations. With offices in Marysville and Mill Creek, Washington, we are available to meet you discuss your case. We help good people in bad situations. Let us help you.
General Considerations
No Contact Orders can have disastrous effects, which include inability to see loved ones, loss of employment, loss of firearms, inability to travel as well as social stigma.

Once an Order has been issued by a court, it will stay in effect until it terminates, expires or is lifted. During the time period in which the Order is in effect, willful violation of its terms is punishable as a crime. Consent to contact by the protected party is not a defense to a charge brought against the restrained party, even if the protected party did not want an Order in the first place.

In general, Washington State will honor No Contact Orders or protective orders from other states, as long as they complied with Due Process.

Notice Required
Washington Courts are authorized to issue Protective Orders for Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Stalking and Harassment allegations. No Contact Orders and Anti-Harassment Orders are issued as part of an underlying criminal allegation. Restraining Orders are typically entered as part of a civil proceeding, such as divorce. Domestic Violence Protection Orders, Sexual Assault Protection Orders and Stalking Protection Orders are typically obtained by petition to the court. Anti-Harassment orders may also be sought by petition.

For a restrained person to be subject to the punishment consequences of a protective order, that restrained person must have actual knowledge of the order and its contents. Usually this is shown by service documents or the restrained person’s signature on the order.

Formal versus Informal No Contact Orders
As part of a criminal allegation, a court may impose a No Contact Order on a person being charged. If a Formal No Contact Order is issued, willful and knowing violation of its terms subjects the restrained party to a criminal offense. Usually a violation is charged as a gross misdemeanor. However, if the violation involved an assault, or there are many prior convictions, it may be charged as a Felony.

Instead of a Formal No Contact Order, a court may choose to condition a person’s release from jail upon the promise to have no contact with a protected party. Violation of that order would typically not be a new charge, but would subject the restrained person to being taken into custody as a violation of conditions of release.

Petitions for No Contact Orders
The legislature has also established a method for people alleged to be victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Harassment to petition a court for a protective order. Typically this is done ex parte (without the other side present). If the judicial officer finds enough evidence, a temporary order will be issued, typically for two weeks, until a set hearing date. At that hearing, the respondent (party sought to be restrained) has the opportunity to explain why a permanent order should not be entered.

Violation of such a temporary order with knowledge of its contents, or violation of the permanent order (if granted), is chargeable as a criminal offense.

Ashbach Law Offices, LLC, aggressively represents clients charged with No Contact Order offenses throughout the Washington I-5 corridor, covering Skagit, Snohomish, King and Whatcom Counties. Regular courts of practice include, but are not limited to, Anacortes, Arlington, Bellevue, Bellingham, Blaine, Burlington, Edmonds, Everett, Issaquah, Lynnwood, Marysville, Monroe, Mount Vernon, Mountlake Terrance, Redmond, Seattle, Sedro Woolley and Shoreline.