Can I Fight Against a Protection Order?

Challenging Protection Orders in Washington

In Washington State, protection orders, also known as restraining orders, are issued to safeguard individuals from potential harm or harassment. However, there may be instances where individuals find themselves subject to an unjust or unnecessary protection order. Protection orders completely prohibit you from contacting or being within a certain distance of the petitioner, the individual that the protection order is put in place for. This may make it challenging for the respondent to participate in daily life, especially if the two were married or living together prior to the protection order. Challenging such orders can be a complex process, but with the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer, one of our skilled attorneys will be able to offer legal guidance and a way to fight against the protection order put in place. If you are facing a challenging protection order in Washington State, our attorneys are here to help you.

Understanding Protection Orders

Before delving into the strategies for challenging a protection order, it is crucial to understand the different types of protection orders issued in the State of Washington.

Anti-Harassment Protection Order: An Anti-Harassment Protection Order is designed to protect individuals from unlawful behavior or harassment from any individual.

Stalking Protection Order: A Stalking Protection Order is intended to protect from stalking behavior exhibited by another individual.

Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO): A Domestic Violence Protection Order is issued to protect individuals who are victims of domestic violence, which includes physical harm, harassment, or stalking from a family or household member.

Sexual Assault Protection Order (SAPO): A Sexual Assault Protection Order is granted to individuals who have been victims of sexual misconduct or non-consensual intercourse by a person who is not a family or household member.

Vulnerable Adult Protection Order (VAPO): A Vulnerable Adult Protection Order is established expressly to protect vulnerable adults from threats, acts of abandonment, neglect, abuse, or financial exploitation. A “vulnerable adult” in Washington is defined as an adult with developmental disabilities, is residing in a facility or receiving in-home care, or is aged 60 or older who is unable to care for themselves freely.

Seek Legal Representation 

Hiring an attorney is the best step you can take towards fighting a protection order. A skilled attorney can guide individuals through the legal process, offer valuable advice, and present a strong case to challenge the protection order. Their knowledge of the intricate legal system and experience in similar cases will be invaluable assets.

Collect Evidence and Establish Facts 

To build a strong defense against a protection order, it is crucial to gather all relevant evidence and establish the facts in your favor. This can include text messages, emails, witnesses, or any other documentation that contradicts the petitioner’s claims. By presenting evidence that challenges the allegations, you can cast doubt on the petitioner’s credibility, providing a solid foundation for your defense.

Present Counterarguments 

When contesting a protection order, presenting strong counterarguments is crucial. This involves outlining alternative interpretations of events, questioning the credibility of witnesses, and highlighting any mitigating factors that might influence the court’s decision. By presenting a well-reasoned argument, backed by solid evidence, you can increase the chances of convincing the court to dismiss or modify the protection order.

Demonstrate Compliance and Rehabilitation

Another effective strategy is to demonstrate that you have taken steps towards rehabilitation and pose no threat to the petitioner. This can involve attending counseling or therapy, completing anger management programs, or participating in other relevant interventions. By showing the court your commitment to personal growth and change, you can help sway their decision in your favor.

How Can We Help You With Challenging Protection Orders in Washington?

Challenging a protection order in Washington State requires a comprehensive understanding of the law, strategic planning, and persuasive arguments. By seeking the guidance of a skilled attorney, collecting compelling evidence, and presenting a well-structured defense, individuals can improve their chances of successfully fighting an undeserved protection order. The attorneys at the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer understand that each case is unique and they will give each individual case the quality of care and service that it needs. Their skill and experience shine in this area as our firm has fought against hundreds of protection orders.

Don’t delay the legal assistance you need, call the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer at (360) 334-6277 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today.

Types of Protection Orders in the State of Washington

Protection Orders in Washington

Protection Orders in Washington

In the State of Washington, various types of Protection Orders exist to safeguard individuals and discourage certain behaviors directed towards them. These orders serve as legal measures to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals facing different forms of threats or harassment. Among the commonly encountered types are: (1) Stalking Protection Order, (2) Harassment Protection Order, (3) Domestic Violence Protection Order, (4) Sexual Assault Protection Order, and (5) Vulnerable Adult Protection Order. Understanding the difference between these types of protection orders allows individuals to protect themselves in various ways depending on the specific circumstance. Equally important is being well-informed about these orders, as it helps individuals comprehend the potential consequences associated with violating a Protection Order.

What is a Protection Order?

A Protection Order, issued by a judge, is a legal document designed to safeguard individuals from harm by another person. When a Protection Order is in effect, the restrained individual is prohibited from contacting or being in close proximity to the protected individual, under penalty of potential consequences. In the State of Washington, there are several distinct types of Protection Orders, each tailored to address specific circumstances and provide appropriate measures of protection.

Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO): Among the prevalent types of Protection Orders, the Domestic Violence Protection Order stands as one of the most common. It is primarily intended to shield individuals from physical abuse, threats of imminent harm, or stalking, and is typically sought against immediate family members, intimate partners, or roommates. A Domestic Violence Protection Order can be requested on a temporary basis, lasting up to one year, and is renewable. In certain circumstances, it can also be pursued as a permanent measure for long-term protection.

Stalking Protection Order: A Stalking Protection Order is specifically crafted to safeguard individuals from individuals engaging in stalking behavior, regardless of their familial or household relationship. In accordance with the Revised Code of Washington, stalking is defined as the intentional and repetitive act of harassing or following another person, thereby causing the victim to experience fear for their personal safety or the safety of their property. This type of Protection Order can be obtained on a temporary basis, valid for up to one year, or can be sought as a permanent measure to provide long-term protection.

Harassment Protection Order: A Harassment Protection Order is specifically designed to provide protection from individuals engaging in unlawful behavior or harassment towards another individual. Harassment is defined as a course of conduct which seriously alarms, annoys, harasses, or is detrimental to such person, and which serves no legitimate or lawful purpose. This type of order aims to prevent and address acts of harassment, ensuring the safety and well-being of the victim. An Anti-Harassment Protection Order can be obtained as a temporary measure, valid for up to one year, or it can be pursued as a permanent order to offer ongoing protection.

Sexual Assault Protection Order(SAPO): A Sexual Assault Protection Order is specifically designed to provide protection against nonconsensual intercourse or other forms of unwanted sexual conduct perpetrated by individuals who are not family or household members. This type of protection order serves to safeguard victims and ensure their safety in the face of sexual assault. It can be requested as a temporary order, valid for up to one year, or pursued as a permanent order to provide ongoing and long-term protection.

Vulnerable Adult Protection Order (VAPO): A Vulnerable Adult Protection Order is specifically designed to safeguard individuals who are considered vulnerable adults from threats, acts of abandonment, neglect, abuse, or financial exploitation. In the state of Washington, a “vulnerable adult” refers to an adult with developmental disabilities, an adult residing in a facility or receiving in-home care, or an adult aged 60 or above who is unable to independently care for themselves. While Protection Orders typically prohibit all forms of contact, a Vulnerable Adult Protection Order may allow for limited contact while imposing restrictions on access to the vulnerable adult’s financial resources. The primary objective of this order is to ensure the well-being and protection of vulnerable adults in situations where they may be at risk.

What can we do for you?

Petitioning for a Protection Order can be a complex and intricate process that may pose challenges when undertaken alone. It entails navigating legal paperwork, articulating compelling justifications, and presenting arguments for the requested Protection Order. To streamline this process and alleviate the burden, enlisting the assistance of a skilled lawyer can prove invaluable. By engaging the services of experienced attorneys, such as those at the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer, individuals can benefit from the expertise and guidance necessary to effectively pursue and secure their desired Protection Order. The knowledgeable legal professionals at the firm will diligently gather the required information, ensuring a comprehensive and compelling case for the Protection Order, ultimately increasing the chances of obtaining approval from the presiding judge.

Call the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer at (360) 334-6277 today and schedule a consultation to see what we can do for you.

Cyberstalking in the State of Washington (Potential Penalties)

Cyberstalking in the State of Washington

Cyberstalking in Washington

As the Internet has become a pinnacle of communication and commerce, cybercrime has been on the rise since around 2015 throughout the United States. Cyberstalking is one of many prevalent cybercrimes in today’s highly digital world. Cyberstalking is defined in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) as using someone’s electronic communication to “harass, intimidate, torment, or embarrass.” Cyberstalking can arise out of various forms of conduct which does not include spoken telephone conversations, since that falls under Telephone Harassment. Cyberstalking can be either classified as a gross misdemeanor or a felony depending on the aggravating factors of the case.

What is Cyberstalking?

Any form of electronic communication, excluding telephone communication that is used to “harass, intimidate, torment, or embarrass” counts as Cyberstalking. Common forms of communication in which cyberstalking occurs includes texts, emails, or even comments made on social media posts. Additionally, installing or monitoring someone’s whereabouts with a tracking device also falls under the umbrella of Cyberstalking according to the Revised Code of Washington.

What are the possible penalties for Cyberstalking?

Cyberstalking is assessed by the “aggravating factors” of the specific circumstance. Depending on the circumstances and facts of a case, Cyberstalking can either be a Gross Misdemeanor or Felony charge.

Gross Misdemeanor: First offense cyberstalking convictions are often classified into the gross misdemeanor category. A gross misdemeanor charge can carry penalties of jail time reaching up to 364 days, or up to a $5,000.00 fine.

Class C Felony: There are a number of different aggravating factors that elevate Cyberstalking from a gross misdemeanor to a Class C felony. Two of the most common ones tend to be prior convictions, or the violation of a protection order. Having a previous Cyberstalking conviction in any state prior will potentially elevate the most current charge to a Class C felony. Violating a protection order can also constitute Cyberstalking as a Class C felony. For example texting or emailing someone while a protection order is active will not only count as a violation of the protection order, but you will also potentially be charged with Cyberstalking in addition to the original violation. Each message or email you send can count as a violation against your protection order, which can stack up quickly as well.

Potential defenses against Cyberstalking

There are a number of defenses an attorney can use to defend against alleged cyberstalking charges. Some of these defenses include:

  • Lack of intent: Cyberstalking requires that the defendant acted knowingly and without consent.
  • False accusations: In some cases, the alleged victim may make false accusations of cyberstalking to retaliate against the defendant or gain some advantage. A skilled defense attorney can work to demonstrate that the allegations are baseless and lack credibility.
  • Lack of evidence: To secure a conviction for cyberstalking, the prosecution must present sufficient evidence of the defendant’s actions. If the evidence is insufficient to support the allegations, the defendant may be acquitted.
  • Mistaken identity: In some cases, the alleged victim may have mistaken the defendant for someone else. A defense attorney can investigate the case to determine if any evidence supports the defendant’s claim that they were not the perpetrator.

Ultimately, the key to mounting a successful defense in a cyberstalking case is to work with an experienced attorney who has a deep understanding of the relevant laws and legal procedures.

At the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer, we have the experience and expertise necessary to provide our clients with the aggressive defense they need.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help protect your rights and interests.