If you’re being abused, harassed, stalked or going through a divorce, you may be considering filing a restraining order.

If you feel that you’re in danger, a restraining order, which can also be known as a protection order, can be issued quickly in Washington State with the help of an attorney.

What Does A Restraining Order Encompass In Washington State?

Restraining orders are filed in domestic abuse cases or family law cases, such as divorce cases or paternity cases [1]. Restraining orders are broader than a Domestic Violence Order Of Protection and in addition to domestic violence, restraining orders can deal with property issues, child custody, and spousal support. For example, if during a divorce one spouse is concerned the other may dispose of assets, a restraining order can help prevent this.

Are There Different Types Of Restraining Orders In Washington State?

Depending on your situation, there are specific types of protection or restraining orders you may seek.

  • Domestic Violence Order For Protection: This order commands the respondent to not threaten or harm you and forbids them from entering your residence. It can also give one parent temporary custody of a child or use of a vehicle, among other things [2]
  • Restraining Order: A Restraining Order is broader than the Domestic Violence Order and can encompass property issues and spousal support, as well as domestic violence.
  • No-Contact Order: A No-Contact Order is a criminal action and doesn’t require an application to be filled out. This order is usually temporary during a criminal trial to prevent the defendant from contacting you [3].
  • Civil Antiharrassment Order: This order is used mostly when the two parties are not married nor related to each other. This order can be used in disputes or stalking cases and is best for victims who have not been assaulted nor threatened with physical harm [4].

How Do You Get A Restraining Order In Washington State?

Your best first step in obtaining a restraining order is enlisting outside help through a trusted family law practice like Priest Family Law. Then, one of our lawyers can help you get a temporary restraining order. This can be done quickly with an application, which can be found online. Your attorney can help you fill out and file it at the courthouse. Next, the county clerk will decide if a temporary restraining order will be issued. This would happen that same day and without a court hearing. The defendant does not need to be present for a temporary restraining order to be issued [5].

Next, the defendant will be given notice and a court hearing will be scheduled, usually, for a few days later. During this hearing, your lawyer will present evidence supporting your request for a permanent restraining order like abuse or harassment. Then, the judge will decide to make the restraining order permanent or not.

What Should I Do Next If I Want To File A Restraining Order In Washington State?

If you live in Washington State and need a restraining order, reach out to the attorneys at Priest Family Law. Our team can advise you on the best order of protection for your situation. We have experience filing restraining orders quickly and winning long-term protection for our clients.


[1] “Types Of Protection Orders Available.” Washington Courts. https://www.courts.wa.gov/dv/?fa=dv_order.ordtypes

[2] “Types Of Protection Orders Available.” Washington Courts. https://www.courts.wa.gov/dv/?fa=dv_order.ordtypes

[3] “Types Of Protection Orders Available.” Washington Courts. https://www.courts.wa.gov/dv/?fa=dv_order.ordtypes

[4] “Types Of Protection Orders Available.” Washington Courts. https://www.courts.wa.gov/dv/?fa=dv_order.ordtypes

[5] Portman, Janet. “How To Get A Restraining Order.” Lawyers.com. https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/criminal/criminal-law-basics/how-to-get-a-restraining-order.html

In domestic violence cases, false imprisonment is when the alleged abuser physically detains their victim either by using physical force or threatening violence against them if they left their home or current location.

The legal definition of false imprisonment is the unlawful restraint of another unwilling person without legal justification [1]. False imprisonment is a felony charge and is considered an intentional tort, which means it is a wrongful act committed with the intent to harm someone else.

What Is Considered False Imprisonment In Washington State?

In domestic violence cases, defendants can be charged with false imprisonment if they prevent their victims from leaving their current location or the victim’s freedom of movement is restricted. In Washington State, domestic violence is defined between two household members or two intimate partners, so this false imprisonment may happen in the victim’s own home and would be committed by a loved one or family member [2].

During the case, a state prosecutor will need to prove that the defendant stopped the victim from leaving their location. They’ll have to prove this was against their will and that the defendant achieved this imprisonment through either coercion, threats, violence or restraints [3].

It’s important to note that physical force or physical restraints, like handcuffs or rope, is not necessary to prove a false imprisonment charge. If the defendant made a threat of violence it can be seen as a legitimate reason for the victim to not be able to leave because they feared for their safety or someone else’s if they left.

During the trial, a prosecutor will also need to prove that a reasonable person would believe they could not leave and were being held against their will [4].

How Is False Imprisonment Different From Kidnapping In Washington State?

False imprisonment differs from a kidnapping charge, but can later evolve into kidnapping. False imprisonment becomes kidnapping when the aggressor moves the victim some distance from the original place they were imprisoned, or a significant amount of time has passed [5]. It’s possible for a defendant to be charged with both false imprisonment and kidnapping. Kidnapping is considered a more serious offense and depending on the circumstances ranks as a Class A or Class B felony.

What Is the Penalty For Being Convicted Of False Imprisonment In Washington State?

False Imprisonment is a Class C Felony in Washington State, therefore it is a very serious charge [6]. Defendants who are convicted as an adult face a fine up to $10,000 paired with potential jail time based on the severity of the case. Felonies can carry a sentence of life in prison.

What Should I Do If I’m Involved In A False Imprisonment Case?

If you’re involved in a false imprisonment case, you’ll want to be prepared with evidence to help you win your case. Start by quickly booking an appointment with a trusted attorney at Priest Family Law.

Our team has experience navigating the nuances of false imprisonment charges. We know that a false imprisonment charge is often just one of many charges in a domestic violence case. We understand domestic violence cases are deeply personal and can help you navigate your best next steps to succeed in the courtroom.


[1] “What Is False Imprisonment?” Nolo.com. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-false-imprisonment.html

[2] “Domestic Violence/Domestic Abuse Definitions And Relationships.” National Conference Of State Legislators. https://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/domestic-violence-domestic-abuse-definitions-and-relationships.aspx

[3] Rooth, Jay. “Understanding Domestic Abuse Charges: False Imprisonment.” Lawyers.com, 7, Feb. 2018. https://blogs.lawyers.com/attorney/domestic-violence/partner-4-45446/

[4] “What Is False Imprisonment?” Nolo.com. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-false-imprisonment.html

[5] “What Is False Imprisonment?” Nolo.com. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-false-imprisonment.html

[6] “RCW 9A.40.040.” Washington State Legislature. https://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9A.40.040

When a victim is assaulted, the crime can become a domestic violence charge depending on who the victim’s attacker was. If the relationship between the attacker and the victim is romantic, household members or they’re related by blood, the charge would be classified as domestic violence.

What Is Considered Domestic Violence In Washington State?

In Washington State, domestic violence occurs between two people who share a household relationship, such as dating or blood-family relationships. Domestic violence usually involves a victim suffering physical injury from pushing, slapping or hitting, though sometimes it can involve the greater charges of murder or rape [1].

Domestic violence charges differ from assault charges because the relationship between the attacker and victim is known. This means the attacker may have abused the victim’s trust and confidence to commit the crime. In domestic violence crimes, the victims also often get special protections from their attacker after the case is settled.

What Is The Relationship Between The Attacker And Victim To Be Considered Domestic Violence in Washington State?

In Washington State, domestic violence happens between two people that are [2]:

  • Intimate partners, such as spouses or domestic partners.
  • Former spouses or former domestic partners.
  • Two people who share a child, regardless of marital status or if they’ve ever lived together.
  • Two adult people who currently or previously lived together and are currently or previously dated.
  • Two people who are at least 16 years old and currently live together, or lived together in the past, and have dated.
  • Two people, both over the age of 16 years old who have dated.
  • Adults related by blood.
  • People with a biological or legal parent relationship, such as step-parents or grandparents.

What Is The Punishment For Domestic Violence In Washington State?

If a police officer in Washington State is called to a scene for a domestic violence incident and that officer has a reasonable belief or probable cause that a crime was committed they must arrest the alleged attacker [3]. The officer can arrest the alleged attacker without a warrant if they believe the attacker has hurt someone in their household in the last four hours or the person in question has violated a domestic violence protective order [3].

If the alleged attacker is convicted of domestic violence, how much time in jail they will serve is based on the class of charge, such as a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony. In Washington State, domestic violence misdemeanors carry a $1,000 fine and up to 90 days in prison. Gross misdemeanors can be punished by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Domestic violence felonies can carry a sentence of more than a year in prison [4]. After the attacker has been convicted they may also have a domestic violence protection order or restraining order against them preventing them from contacting their victim.

What Should I Do If I’m Involved In A Domestic Violence Case In Washington State?

If you have been charged with domestic violence or you’re the victim of domestic violence, reach out to the trusted team at Priest Criminal Defense. Our team has experience working with families involved with domestic violence in Washington State. We can help you build your best case and work to achieve a speedy resolution.

[1] Berman, Sara J. “Domestic Violence And Domestic Abuse.” Nolo. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/domestic-violence-33813.html
[2] “RCW 26.50.010.” Washington State Legislature. https://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?Cite=26.50.010
[3] Mince-Dider, Ave. “Washington Domestic Violence Laws.” Nolo. https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/domestic-violence/domestic-violence-washington-state-penalties-d
[4] “Washington Domestic Violence Laws.” FindLaw.com. https://statelaws.findlaw.com/washington-law/washington-domestic-violence-laws.html

Domestic Violence in vancouver waVictims of domestic violence have been subjected to harrowing events over extended periods of time. The most important way to help break the cycle of violence is by building multi-layer support structures to allow those effected to begin a new, better phase in their lives. Hiring an experienced attorney is an important part of your support team.

Domestic Violence and the Law

Although domestic violence is almost universally covered in state and federal law, it is extremely complex and working within the system almost without exceptions, brings out the worst in the people involved. There are many issues regarding the proper timing and maintenance of court orders so that you and your loved ones are protected to the fullest extent possible. Having experienced professionals helping you keep track of your legal obligations can help you better utilize your other support resources throughout your journey.

Role Your Attorney Plays in Protecting You from Domestic Violence

Although it is possible for you to get an emergency court order to protect you from the your current situation, there are several legal instruments and procedures that an attorney can assist greatly with that you probably can’t do yourself. Even if it is possible to do some things yourself, it is important for you to realize that you almost certainly won’t be able to do everything you need to without help. Part of getting better is knowing when you need help and having the courage to ask for it. Things your attorney can do include:

  1. File a protection or no-contact order
  2. Get a divorce
  3. File a lawsuit against the violent party
  4. Help with custody proceedings
  5. The Importance of Emotional and Health Support

Domestic violence leaves both physical and emotional pain that will eventually need to be addressed to build your new life. Working with qualified health professionals such as licensed therapists who offer both group and individual therapy sessions is absolutely critical for dealing with the mental and emotional fallout from the trauma you have suffered. And, unfortunately, working with health professionals to repair the physical injuries is often necessary. Without adequate support here, legal support, no matter how comprehensive, likely won’t be enough to maximize the chances of success.

By getting support from health and legal professionals along with the force of our legal system, victims can get past the nightmares of the past and look forward to a bright new future. Give us a call today if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence and needs the protection of the courts.