Civil Protection Orders
What is a Protection Order?
Washington State law allows an individual to seek out a judicial order that protects them from another individual for a variety of reasons. These protections may prevent others from abusing, threatening, or harassing you. These orders are designed to keep petitioners safe, as violation of a court issued Protection order is a criminal offense that may result in prosecution.
There are different types of Protection Orders dependent on things such as the relationship between the parties, the conduct between the parties, and the incidents that have occurred.
How Do I Get a Protection Order?
To receive a Protection Order, you must:
- Fill out and Submit a Petition for Protection Order, along with a Law Enforcement Sheet to the court.
- In the case of an Anti-Harassment order, pay a $73 filing fee. (A waiver of fee form is available if you are indigent)
- Attend any and all court ordered hearings.
You must file in Superior Court if:
- You are younger than 15 years old
- You are filing an extreme risk or vulnerable adult Protection Order
- You are applying for protection for, or against, any minors
- The parties involved have a pending family law case (Divorce, custody plans, etc.)
What Happens After I File?
The Timeline of a Protection Order
- After submitting a petition to the court, the judge then reviews the petition. Several different things can occur.
- There may be an Ex Parte hearing, in which the petitioner (you) would go before the judge to explain/clarify things the judge wants to know. Failure to appear for this hearing will result in the denial of your petition.
- A Temporary Protection Order may be granted for up to two weeks, protecting the petition until the next hearing.
- A full hearing is set, where the petition and respondent are ordered to appear.
- A denial order is entered as there is not enough evidence/threat to consider a full order. The petitioner would then have up to two weeks to re-file with any additional evidence they can provide.
- If the Judge determines there is enough evidence/danger and grants a temporary order, a full order hearing will be set where the Judge will consider entering a full protection order good for a minimum of one year. The court will contact the petitioner to let them know the date and time of the full order hearing. The court will forward the temporary order to law enforcement to serve the Petition for Protection and Temporary Protection Order on the respondent so they are aware of the order and the court date.
- At the full order hearing both the petitioner and the respondent will have a chance to speak before the judge. Once the judge has listened to the testimony of both sides, he will enter either a full protection order or a denial order.
- A full order may be entered if there is enough evidence/threat to necessitate long-term protection of the petitioner. Both parties will be given a copy of the order
- A denial order may be entered if there is not enough evidence/threat to necessitate a full order. The petitioner would then have up to two weeks to re-file with any additional evidence they can provide.
The law defines Domestic Violence as: When intimate partners, family members or someone you live with has hurt you physically or threatened to hurt you. It also can mean they have behaved sexually in a way that harms you – even once! This type of protection order also can protect you from “coercive control.” Coercive control is behavior that causes you to suffer physical, emotional or psychological harm. Harassment committed by intimate partners, family members or someone you live with is also considered Domestic Violence for the purpose of protection orders.
The law defines Sexual Assault as: When someone has behaved sexually in a way that harms you – even once! You can ask for this type of protection against anyone who has harmed you. If the other person is an intimate partner, family member or someone you live with, you could choose a Domestic Violence Protection Order.
The law defines Stalking as: When someone has scared you by harassing or following you on purpose again and again. Stalking can be in-person or online. If the stalker is an intimate partner, family member, or someone you live, or have lived, with then you may file a Domestic Violence Protection Order.
The law defines Harassment as: when someone has seriously alarmed, annoyed or harassed you, without a valid reason. If the Harassment is committed by an intimate partner, family member, or someone you live, or have lived, with then you may file a Domestic Violence Protection Order.
Below are additional resources, outside the court, that may prove helpful in the process of filing a protection order. Whitman County District Court has no affiliations to these resources and is not responsible for their content. They are merely provided as a courtesy to those seeking additional information and/or help with the process of filing a protection order.
Protection Order Petition Flowchart - This is a flowchart that shows an illustration of the process of filing a protection order, to the issuance of a full order. As this is not Superior Court, an Ex Parte hearing is not required and may skipped entirely if the judge has enough information to make a decision.
Protection Order Type Flowchart - This is a flowchart that shows an illustration that helps one decide which type of protection order petition to submit. According to 2023 Legislation, unlawful harassment committed by a household or family member, or current or former dating relationship may be filed as an Domestic Violence Protection order, even if there is no stalking, assault or threats of physical harm.
WashingtonLawHelp.org - Sponsored and maintained by the Northwest Justice Project, this site offers a breakdown of the petition into an online interview, that can then be submitted to a court to apply for a protective order.