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Domestic Violence No Contact Orders in Washington State

In Washington State, there isn’t any crime of Home Violence. Reasonably, Home Violence is a tag that’s placed on different crimes indicating that there’s a household or family relationship between the events concerned. Most jurisdictions will impose a No Contact Order that prohibits the defendant in a Home Violence (“DV”) case from having contact with the alleged sufferer of the crime. The order will usually prohibit contact with the sufferer’s youngsters, residence and workplace too.

Household or family relationship

In response to RCW 10.99.020(3), household or family members is outlined as:

[S]pouses, former spouses, individuals who’ve a toddler in frequent no matter whether or not they have been married or have lived collectively at any time, grownup individuals associated by blood or marriage, grownup individuals who’re presently residing collectively or who’ve resided collectively up to now, individuals sixteen years of age or older who’re presently residing collectively or who’ve resided collectively up to now and who’ve or have had a relationship relationship, individuals sixteen years of age or older with whom an individual sixteen years of age or older has or has had a relationship relationship, and individuals who’ve a organic or authorized parent-child relationship, together with stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren.

As you possibly can see, this definition is extraordinarily broad. It’s much more inclusive then what most individuals would count on it to be. The identical is true for the kinds of crimes which can be labeled “Home Violence.” Most individuals solely consider Assault relating to home violence, nonetheless there are a lot of different crimes that may carry the DV tag.

Obligatory Arrest

In response to RCW 10.31.100(2)(c), an officer should make an arrest if: The particular person is sixteen years or older and inside the previous 4 hours has assaulted a household or family member as outlined in RCW 10.99.020 and the officer believes:

(i) A felonious assault has occurred;

(ii) an assault has occurred which has resulted in bodily damage to the sufferer, whether or not the damage is observable by the responding officer or not; or

(iii) that any bodily motion has occurred which was meant to trigger one other particular person moderately to concern imminent severe bodily damage or demise. Bodily damage means bodily ache, sickness, or an impairment of bodily situation. When the officer has possible trigger to imagine that household or family members have assaulted one another, the officer shouldn’t be required to arrest each individuals. The officer shall arrest the particular person whom the officer believes to be the first bodily aggressor. In making this willpower, the officer shall make each affordable effort to contemplate:

(i) The intent to guard victims of home violence beneath RCW 10.99.010;

(ii) the comparative extent of accidents inflicted or severe threats creating concern of bodily damage; and

(iii) the historical past of home violence between the individuals concerned.

Should you get arrested for a criminal offense involving home violence, a No Contact Order will slam into place virtually instantly.

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No Contact Orders

There are two kinds of No Contact Orders in Washington State: Pre-Trial and Submit Conviction. Each kinds of orders forestall the defendant from having contact with the alleged sufferer. Nevertheless, neither kind prevents the sufferer from attempting to have contact with the defendant, since solely the defendant goes to jail if the order is violated. In different phrases, the No Contact Orders restrict solely the defendant’s conduct.


Pre-Trial Orders are issued in opposition to the defendant (typically known as a Respondent) earlier than she or he is convicted of getting performed something mistaken. These orders can preclude contact between the Respondent and the alleged sufferer of the crime, the sufferer’s youngsters (even when they’re the Respondent’s youngsters too), the sufferer’s workplace and the sufferer’s dwelling (even when it is the Respondent’s dwelling too).

In different phrases, these orders can pressure you away from your property and your children earlier than you’ve got even been convicted of a criminal offense. That is true even when the sufferer says that nothing occurred or that no matter did occur was blown all out of proportion.

Pre-trial orders keep in place till there’s a decision to the felony case or till a Decide lifts it.


A No Contact Order issued after conviction can carry the identical kinds of restrictions {that a} Pre-Trial order does. Submit-Conviction Orders are usually good for a 12 months, nonetheless a Decide can lengthen that if she or he feels that the info warrant it.

Civil Standby

Since a No Contact Order can preclude you from going to your individual dwelling, the Courts will usually enable you one journey dwelling to get garments and some private objects. Nevertheless, you should be accompanied by a Legislation Enforcement Officer. This course of known as a “Civil Standby.” You will need to contact the regulation enforcement company and schedule a time for the Civil Standby. Bear in mind, nonetheless, that it is a low precedence motion for many regulation enforcement businesses, so the civil standby will solely be performed once they have the time to spare.

Violating a No Contact Order

A willful violation of a No Contact Order is a gross misdemeanor; which suggests which you can stand up to a 12 months in jail and a $5,000 nice. Since violating a Home Violence No Contact Order is itself labeled a criminal offense of home violence, your rights to personal or possess firearms will probably be forfeited upon conviction – even when no gun was used, possessed, talked about or in every other means used or contemplated. That is true even the place the underlying felony case, which prompted the No Contact Order to be issued, is dismissed.

Being in a public place, even the courthouse, shouldn’t be a protection to violating the order. Which means if an order is issued in opposition to you and also you see the protected particular person at a grocery retailer then you need to depart. Inadvertent contact could technically not violate the order, however it’s possible you’ll effectively must go in entrance of a Decide to defend your self. In addition to the stress concerned, you will have to spend extra money to be able to rent an legal professional.

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Even when the sufferer invitations the contact, the respondent can face jail time if the order is violated. What I see most frequently in my circumstances, is the next situation:

Two individuals have a relationship. One thing occurs and the police are known as. Due to everybody’s sensitivity to “Home Violence” the police err on the aspect of charging somebody. A No Contact Order then slams into place, precluding the 2 individuals from having contact with each other. It could additionally make one in every of them unexpectedly homeless – however that could be a totally different difficulty. Individuals, being individuals, need to work the issue out and the alleged sufferer contacts the defendant and says one thing to the impact of “I am so sorry that every one of that is taking place. Come dwelling and I will make it price your whereas.” The issue, after all, is that the defendant takes the alleged sufferer up on the provide. Usually, authorized issues multiply for the defendant shortly thereafter because the glad couple exit to have fun their rekindled relationship solely to tug a “sluggish and go” at a cease signal – or another minor site visitors infraction. They then get stopped by the police. When the officer runs the occupants’ info, up jumps the No Contact Order and the defendant is arrested then taken to jail the place he’s now going through a further cost.

Eradicating the Order

It is extremely tough to take away a Pre-Trial No Contact order as soon as it’s in place. Even when the sufferer is available in and testifies earlier than the Decide that the order shouldn’t be wanted, most Judges will depart the order in place.

One technique is to have the defendant evaluated by a Home Violence Therapy Company. If a counselor is keen to inform the Decide that the defendant wouldn’t pose a hazard to the sufferer if the order is eliminated, then the Decide can get rid of the order. The Therapy Company could need to get the defendant into courses earlier than agreeing to make a advice to the Decide.

One other technique is to ask the Court docket to change the No C0ontact Order to permit marriage counseling. Some Judges would require that contact solely be allowed whereas monitored by a 3rd celebration from the therapy company.

As soon as a No Contact Order has been modified to permit conditional contact, a Decide is extra prone to take away the order later, until there’s a new downside.

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Sufferer Rights

Most Prosecutors’ Places of work have a Home Violence Advocate. It’s this particular person’s job to assist the sufferer of a home violence offense perceive what providers can be found to them and assist maintain them knowledgeable because the court docket course of strikes alongside.

I’ve seen quite a few circumstances the place the sufferer doesn’t need the No Contact Order to be in impact. Going by way of the victims advocate particular person can typically be useful.

Most courts have a type that the alleged sufferer can fill out requesting that the Decide drop the No Contact Order. In my expertise, most Judges will preserve the order even after the sufferer asks to have it dropped. Though the order stays in place, having the sufferer ask for it to be eliminated remains to be beneficial, since it might be helpful on a later try to take away the order.

Gun Rights

Conviction for a criminal offense labeled Home Violence will trigger you to free your proper to personal or possess firearms. This can be a lifelong ban.


In a single case I had, the husband was arrested for a Home Violence cost when, throughout an argument, he threw a bowl into their kitchen sink, chipping it. The argument was overheard by a close-by neighbor who known as the police. The police arrived and once they seemed within the sink, they discovered the chipped bowl and arrested the husband for home violence malicious mischief. There was no allegation that the husband threw the bowl at, and even close to, his spouse. Since Washington is a Group Property state, each the husband and the spouse had an possession curiosity within the bowl, thus by chipping his bowl, the husband broken property belonging to a different (i.e. his spouse) and was subsequently liable beneath Malicious Mischief. With out counsel, the husband (who had no prior felony historical past) pled responsible at arraignment. He was given a one 12 months No Contact Order which prevented him from going dwelling for a 12 months or having any contact together with his spouse.

Had the husband contacted an legal professional previous to pleading responsible, he could not have had a conviction in any respect. Even when there was a conviction, an legal professional may have helped him keep away from such an extended No Contact Order.

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