Hi I’m Roger Priest with VanWa Legal PLLC and here in Vancouver, Washington where I practice criminal defense and dui defense, today I’d like to answer a question that I often receive from clients and prospective clients. Which is, how can I drop a domestic violence no contact order? Well, in Washington it pays to understand that there are two ways a domestic violence protection order can come into play. One is through the civil process where a petitioner goes to court and files 4-1 and then serves it upon a respondent and after a hearing, gets granted a domestic violence protection order. But one can also be issued by a criminal court following a charge of domestic violence. In either scenario the process for dropping that no contact order will depend in large part on who’s making the request and what has happened since the order first went into place. In any scenario the person who is protected by the protection order (so that would be the petitioner or the alleged victim of the crime) is usually in the superior position to ask the court to drop a protection order. That makes sense because they are the protected party and is usually their desires that the court most wants to protect.

But a respondent or a defendant in a criminal case under domestic violence charges can also petition the court to drop or modify a no contact order. In either scenario it is important that you file a motion with the court whether you’re the protected party who wants to drop the protect the protection order or the defendant. And then that motion has to be filed on the other party. Generally speaking, the court can review or automatically schedule a hearing to hear that matter. But sometimes the court wants to review it and then decide whether to grant a hearing. In either scenario, once that motion is filed and served on the other party, the court can conduct a hearing to then delve into whether or not the protection order should stay in place or whether it should be dropped. One thing that the court always wants to know probably above all other things is what does the protected party want. So if you are the accused person in a domestic violence crime and you’re petitioning the court to drop a no contact order or you’re the respondent in the domestic violence protection order and you’re asking the court to have the matter dropped the court will want to know what the victim of domestic violence or the person who asked for the protection order as a protective measure wants out of them, out of the protection order. If that person wants the protection order dropped, then the court is much more likely to drop it than if that person does not want it dropped. That makes sense because the order protection is there to protect that person. But that’s not the end of the calculus. The court oftentimes also wants to know (especially in a criminal case of domestic violence) what steps have been taken by the perpetrator or the accused to mitigate the chances of any recurring domestic violence. So that can mean engaging in domestic violence treatment or anger management or in some instances where perhaps the incident of domestic violence was perpetrated after abuse of alcohol or drugs whether that person has engaged in any substance abuse treatment. In all of those scenarios those kinds of pieces of evidence can put the court’s mind at more at ease that future incidences of domestic violence will not happen if the court grants the protection order. Now that can be the calculus for simply dropping a protection order but in some instances, the court may want to modify a protection order and oftentimes a protection order goes into place and has a general prohibition on any contact between the parties whatsoever. In those scenarios that can cause problems for both the protected party and the respondent of the protection order especially if they have children together or share property together. And in those instances, the court is much more likely to modify a protection order if the court is not going to outright drop the no contact order in order to make the party’s lives a little bit easier so that they can communicate for certain purposes. In certain situations in those scenarios, the court oftentimes will allow for the parties to contact between a third party person who is willing to act as a go-between or to allow phone contact or potentially email contact so that the parties can discuss certain things as necessary such as ferrying children back and forth or selling property or paying bills, things of that nature.

In any scenario, it can be very helpful if you’re looking to modify or rescind a no contact order meaning drop a no contact order to discuss it with an attorney who is well-versed in that process. And you can get the help of an attorney either if you are the protected person or if you are the person that the protection order has been placed against. In either scenario, if you’d like to talk more about your particular case and whether or not you think an attorney can help you to drop or modify a no contact order, please give us a call at VanWa Legal, PLLC. I’d be happy to discuss your case with you and see if there’s something I can do to help you. Have a great day.

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