Civil Anti-Harassment Orders

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Washington courts have the ability to issue several different types of court orders in matters relating to domestic violence, abuse, and harassment. While no contact orders and protection orders are among the most common types of domestic court orders, civil anti-harassment orders are also used quite frequently. In most cases, civil anti-harassment orders are used in situations in which the parties involved are not married or related to each other and in which there are no assaults or threats of physical violence. Common situations warranting anti-harassment orders may include disputes between neighbors and stalking situations involving strangers or acquaintances. Additionally, these orders are specifically reserved for cases of harassment, which defined by Washington law, may include any willful conduct that:

  • Alarms
  • Annoys
  • Harasses
  • Serves no legitimate or lawful purpose
  • Causes substantial emotional distress

In order for a court is issue a civil anti-harassment order, an individual's conduct must occur as a series of acts, over a period of time, and / or with an on-going purpose. Courts will also take a number of other factors into consideration when determining if harassing acts are not legitimate or lawful. When these orders are granted, they will prevent an accused individual (respondent) from contacting the alleged victim and keeping them under surveillance. Orders will also require a respondent to stay a certain distance away from the alleged victim's home or workplace. Anti-harassment orders may be either ex-parte (temporary) or final (ranging anywhere from one year to a permanently).


Violations of a civil anti-harassment orders can result in a range of criminal repercussions, including contempt of court, misdemeanor charges, and felony allegations, depending on the circumstances at hand. If you are currently facing charges for violating a civil anti-harassment order, retaining a seasoned Seattle criminal defense attorney is vital to helping you defend against serious criminal penalties.

Throughout the years that our firm has been representing clients accused of domestic violence and other criminal offenses, we know that all cases are unique and that all clients have unique stories. As such, we place an emphasis on working closely with our clients, understanding their situation, and working diligently toward exploring their available options for defense and for obtaining a favorable resolution. If you would like more information about civil anti-harassment orders, including order modifications or order violations, please do not hesitate to contact a Seattle criminal defense lawyer from our firm to learn more about your legal options.

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