Articles Posted in Civil Protection Order

To convict a defendant of felony violation of a no-contact order, the state must prove that an order existed and that the defendant knew of the order.  The order is therefore generally relevant and likely admissible.  In a recent case, however, the defendant challenged the admission of a no-contact order because he had stipulated to the existence of his order and his knowledge of it.Legal News Gavel

The defendant was charged with several Washington domestic violence offenses, including felony violation of a no-contact order, after the woman with whom he was living told police he assaulted her.  The defendant was under Department of Corrections supervision at the time.  The defendant pleaded guilty to some of the charges, but the charge for felony violation of a no-contact order went to trial.

The state planned to admit two no-contact orders into evidence.   To prove the charge, the state would have to prove that there was a no-contact order in place and that the defendant knew of it.  The defendant requested that the no-contact order be excluded because he had agreed to stipulate to knowing of its existence.  The judge ultimately admitted the no-contact order over the defendant’s objection.

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Legal News GavelWhen one parent seeks a protection order against the other parent, they often ask that the order also be applied to the children.  However, when a court issues a domestic violence protection order, any provisions addressing the residential arrangement of minor children must be made in accordance with Washington child custody laws.  The court must make findings as to the relevant factors justifying the modification.  In a recent case, a Washington appeals court considered whether a protection order that included the child was an improper modification of the parenting plan.

The couple divorced in 2015 and the parenting plan gave each parent 50% residential time with their child.  In 2017, the ex-wife petitioned for a protection order, alleging her ex-husband had given her a threatening letter.  In the letter, he stated he had two things to live for:  “redemption by taking revenge on [his ex-wife]…” and protecting his son.  The wife also provided a post on a website purportedly made by the ex-husband in 2015, stating he “contemplated murder and considered violence” but that his “son was too young to be separated from his mother permanently.

Following a hearing, the commissioner issued a protection order restraining the ex-husband from contact with the ex-wife or the child except for his supervised visits.

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The state can get a conviction in a Washington domestic violence case even when the alleged victim does not testify.  In such cases, it is very important for the defendant to fight the admission of other improper evidence that may be harmful to the defense.  In a recent case, a defendant was convicted of second degree assault and 13 counts of violation of a domestic violence no-contact order despite the fact his wife failed to appear to testify.

Legal News GavelA woman called her daughter and told her she had been in an altercation with her husband and he had choked her.  The woman then drove to her daughter’s home in Idaho.  The woman said she was afraid of her husband.  The daughter saw marks on her mother’s face and neck and asked if she should call the police.

When the officer arrived, he observed injuries consistent with strangulation.  The woman told the officer she did not feel safe in her home where the incident occurred.  The officer contacted the local authorities in Washington and an Asotin County detective came to the daughter’s home.  The detective also noticed injuries consistent with strangulation and took photos to document them.

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Romantic and familial relationships can grow contentious and sometimes become violent.  Sometimes relationships can become so contentious that one party seeks to have a court intervene and issue a civil protection order to prevent the other party from contacting them or engaging in other activities.  Washington civil protection order attorneys know that a victim does not have to wait until they are seriously injured to seek a civil protection order.  In some cases, a court may issue a civil protection order even if there has not been a physical assault, as seen in one recent case.

Legal News GavelThe former husband appealed a domestic violence protection order (DVPO) issued in favor of his ex-wife.  In her petition, the ex-wife stated her ex-husband had violated the no-contact order entered after the divorce.  She stated that he had threatened to kill her when she filed the protection order and that he had threatened her many times.  She stated he had told her she could either be with him, or he would keep harassing her.  She alleged he had a history of both suicidal and violent behaviors.  The court granted her a temporary order and scheduled a hearing.

At the hearing, the ex-wife testified that she was afraid for her safety.  She said she wanted the DVPO because the restraining order that was already in place was not working.  The ex-husband also testified at the hearing and either denied or tried to explain the allegations.

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Many people think “domestic violence” is limited to people who are or have previously been married or in a romantic relationship.  Under Washington law, however, domestic violence is defined to include incidents between family or household members.  Sometimes, whether a Washington domestic violence protection order can properly be issued turns on the relationship between the parties, as seen in a recent case.

Legal News GavelA woman petitioned for a domestic violence protection order against a man to whom she referred as her “uncle.”  The man was seeking repayment of money he had lent the woman, and she alleged he made threats against her and her children.

The man’s attorney challenged whether a domestic violence order was applicable because the parties had never lived together and were not closely related.  The woman had to explain her relationship to the man through an interpreter.  She told the court her father had told her the man was the son of her grandmother’s first cousin.  The court asked her if there was a blood relationship, and she responded, “possibly, yes.”

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Some evidence, though relevant, may be unfairly prejudicial.  A court must balance the probative value of evidence against the risk of unfair prejudice.  If the risk of unfair prejudice substantially outweighs its probative value, the evidence must be excluded.  Washington domestic violence attorneys know that some facts about an alleged victim could be prejudicial to their client.

Legal News GavelA Washington appeals court recently considered whether the trial court erred in allowing limited evidence of the alleged victim’s pregnancy when the defendant appealed his conviction of a misdemeanor violation of a court order with a special finding of domestic violence.

There was a domestic violence no-contact order prohibiting the defendant from contacting or coming within 500 feet of the mother of his child.  The woman was pregnant at the time with another child that was believed to be the defendant’s.

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A person has a fundamental right to parent his or her own natural children.  When a court places a sentencing condition on a person that limits those fundamental rights, it must consider whether there are reasonable alternatives that will further the state’s interest.  If there are no reasonable alternatives, the court must narrowly tailor the condition.  Washington domestic violence attorneys handling these cases must understand the family law implications of any sentencing conditions imposed by the court. This issue recently arose in a case before the Washington Court of Appeals.

Legal News GavelThe couple had three children together.  In 2015, there were no-contact orders in place keeping the husband from contacting the wife of the six-year-old daughter.  Sheriff’s deputies believed the husband was at the wife’s residence.  They did not receive a response when they first knocked on the door, but the wife ultimately answered and let them in.

One of the deputies found a locked door and heard noises from inside the room.  He forced the door open and found men’s clothing and shoes.  The window was open, but the deputies had observed it to be closed when they walked around the house before entering.

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Domestic violence protection orders are designed to protect people from violence and abuse.  Although the process is intended to be as simple and easy as it can be, Washington civil protection order attorneys understand that it can be difficult for everyone involved, especially children.  It can be hard for children to talk about what has happened. The Washington Supreme Court has recently clarified that there is not a due process right to cross-examine a minor in every protection order proceeding, but there may be such a right in some cases.

Legal News GavelIn this case, the 14-year-old daughter had taken an overdose of prescription medication in November 2014, partly to avoid visiting her father.  She told a social worker her father had been physically and verbally abusive.   She had told her counselor her father often called her names.  She stated that her father had “trie[d] to suffocate her.”  She said he had been doing this for years.  She said he put her under pillows and lay on them, which made her feel like she was suffocating and caused her to panic.

The mother sought a domestic violence protection order on behalf of herself and her children.  Her petition stated that her daughter harmed herself because of her fear of visiting her father and because of his history of domestic violence against them.

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Property disputes, property damage, or outright theft sometimes occur following a romantic breakup or a fight between romantic partners.  While it is understandable for a person to want to retrieve their property, trying to get the property back in violation of a no-contact order could result in criminal charges.  Washington civil protection order attorneys know that the theft or property damage may not provide a successful defense to those charges.

Legal News GavelA Washington appeals court recently reviewed a case in which the defendant raised a defense of property defense surrounding the violation of a no-contact order.  A domestic violence no-contact order prevented the defendant from contacting a woman he had previously dated for several years.

According to the defendant, he was loading boxes from his son’s garage in his car.  He left his cell phone in the car, which had a broken window.  He saw someone walking down the street but could not tell who it was.  When he went back to his car, he found his cell phone and other items were gone.

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It is not uncommon for a civil protection order case to occur at the same time as a criminal case.  When the issues in the cases are similar or related, the defendant’s Fifth Amendment rights can be implicated.  Washington civil protection order attorneys understand that a defendant is not automatically entitled to a continuance in the civil protection order proceeding, however.  The court should balance the interests to determine whether the case should be continued, as done in a recent case.

Legal News GavelThe husband was charged with multiple counts of rape of a child, involving his wife’s daughter.  The wife reported that her husband had tried to get her to lie in the criminal case, and he was arrested for tampering with a witness.

The wife filed for a domestic violence protection order (DVPO), stating she was afraid her husband would retaliate.  The court issued a temporary protection order and notice of a hearing.  The husband requested a continuance of the hearing due to the pending criminal matter.

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