The Protection Order Process Can Be Abused
Protection Orders Can Be Used as Weapons Against Innocent Men
The RCW 26.50 Domestic Violence Protection Order was adopted as a shield to provide immediate protection to a person in fear of physical harm (the “applicant”) by restraining the “respondent” (you) from coming near the applicant.
The Protection Order is issued Ex Parte, which means without any notice or hearing for you.
The respondent is not given an opportunity to deny the allegations before the Restraining Order is issued.
The problem is that an angry wife or girlfriend can use this protection process as a weapon by making false accusations. Before there is any Court hearing or opportunity to respond, you can be kicked out of your own home and restrained from returning.
Restrain First, Ask Questions Later
You Can Be Restrained From Your Home Without Ever Being Heard
There is no way for the Judge to know if the allegations are totally false.
The Judge takes the petition at face value and enters the Restraining Order immediately. Even if you own your house as separate property, you can be restrained from going near it.
The Protection Order can restrain you from:
- Entering your own home or even going onto the grounds
- Coming within a certain distance of the applicant
- Contacting the applicant in any way
The Protection Order can also:
- Give her unilateral custody of your children
- Restrain you from contacting your children
- Give her sole possession of your car and/or other personal property
- Keep you locked out of your home for up to 24 days without a hearing
All this is done at no cost to her. There is no filing fee and the sheriff will serve the order on you for free. The Order can even require you to pay the court and service costs for her. If you are in the home, the sheriff will accompany her to the house and kick you out.
For extra fun, the Domestic Violence Protection Order against you is placed into the law enforcement “Computer-Based Criminal Information System” which can have a terrible impact on your employment, military career, security clearance, and bonding clearance.
And, all this, without you ever doing anything wrong!
Using a Protection Order as a Weapon: Phase 2
Now She Can Lie and Say that You Violated the Protection Order
If she wants to cause more harm, she can call the police and falsely claim that you violated the Order.
If she files a false report against you;
- The police can then arrest you without a warrant
- The Prosecuting Attorney will represent her, for free, and prosecute you
- You could be found guilty of a Criminal Gross Misdemeanor that will go on your record for the rest of your life
All of this can happen without you ever doing anything illegal!
Yes, there is an important need to provide protection to anyone suffering domestic violence, but at the same time, we need to improve this process to prevent its use as a weapon to harm an innocent man.