ANTI-HARASSMENT ORDERS UNDER WASHINGTON LAW
An anti-harassment order is a special type of restraining order that is available for victims of harassment. It’s a civil order in which a court tells a person who is harassing another not to continue in such acts. More specifically, anti-harassment orders can: (1) restrain a person from contacting another person; (2) restrain a person from keeping another person under surveillance; and, (3) require a person to stay a certain distance away from another person’s home or workplace. Police are notified of these orders and they’re enforceable in any county in Washington.
Washington law considers unlawful harassment any knowing and willful “course of conduct” that seriously:
- Alarms a person
- Annoys a person
- Harasses a person
- Serves no legitimate or lawful purpose
- Causes a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and actually causes substantial emotional distress to a person
A “course of conduct” is basically a series of acts, that take place over a period of time (however short), and have an on-going purpose.
VIOLATIONS OF ANTI-HARASSMENT ORDERS
A person restrained by an anti-harassment order can be found in violation of that order. A person violates these protection orders if: (1) a valid anti-harassment order was in place; (2) the offender in question was given valid notice of the order; and, (3) the offender committed some type of contact that was prohibited under the order.
When discussing conduct prohibited under anti-harassment orders, it’s important to note that this conduct is prohibited up until the order is terminated. Further, prohibited conduct includes both direct and indirect contact with a protected person. It also includes being in close proximity to a protected person.
PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS OF ANTI-HARASSMENT ORDERS
The penalties for violations of these orders are severe. The underlying facts of a case will determine the exact punishment a defendant receives. However, in general, penalties can include incarceration and/or thousands of dollars in fines. A court may also order a violator to submit to electronic monitoring. Further, penalties will grow harsher if a violation occurred through an act of reckless endangerment or assault, or if the violator has two or more prior convictions for similar violations.
The talented attorneys at Black Law have a combined 20 years of experience with anti-harassment orders. They can either help persons obtain an anti-harassment order or help someone fight against one. Our protection order attorneys are dedicated and knowledgeable. They are also tireless in their efforts and are here for you. Please contact them now and protect your rights and freedoms.