A person may obtain an Anti harassment Order-Civil Order RCW 10.14 , if the person is a victim of unlawful harassment.
If you have a court order, it is important to remember:
- Keep a certified copy of the order with you at all times.
- The order is enforceable throughout the State of Washington.
- If there is a violation of your court order, call 9-1-1 or the local police. Tell them you have a court order and it is being violated.
Whether or not you have a court order, if you are being harassed, threatened, or assaulted, call 9-1-1, or the local police!!
What is an order for Antiharassment?
An Antiharassment order is a special type of restraining order which is available only to victims of harassment. It is a civil order of the Court telling the person who harassed you not to bother you again. The police are notified of your Antiharassment order. The order is fully enforceable in any county in Washington.
An Antiharassment order can:
- Restrain the respondent from contacting you.
- Restrain the respondent from keeping you under surveillance.
- Require the respondent to stay a stated distance away from your home or workplace.
What is "unlawful harassment"?
"Unlawful harassment" means a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person which seriously alarms, annoys, harasses, or is detrimental to such person, and which serves no legitimate or lawful purpose. The course of conduct shall be such as would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and shall actually cause substantial emotional distress to the petitioner, or, when the course of conduct would cause a reasonable parent to fear for the well-being of their child.
What is a "course of conduct"?
"Course of conduct" means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose. "Course of conduct" includes, in addition to any other form of communication, contact, or conduct, the sending of an electronic communication, but does not include constitutionally protected free speech. Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of "course of conduct."
How does the Court determine if the acts are "legitimate or lawful"?
The Court considers the following:
- Is the respondent (the person who is harassing you) contacting you or are you contacting each other?
- Has the respondent been clearly told that you do not want any further contact?
- Is the respondent's behavior alarming, annoying, or harassing you?
- Are the respondent's actions unreasonably interfering with your privacy or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive living environment for you?
- Has the respondent's contact with you been previously limited by a court order?
- Is the respondent acting pursuant to any statutory authority, for example, lawful eviction, debt collection, etc.
Do I need a lawyer to get an order for Antiharassment?
No. The law has been designed so you can get an order for Antiharassment without a lawyer by filling out the forms yourself. Because you are seeking an order of the Court without the help of an attorney, you will have the paperwork and legwork to do. It is not unusual for this to take several hours.
How do I obtain an order for Antiharassment?
You can get the forms free at the Chelan County District Court Civil Office, located on the fourth level of the courthouse. You need to fill out the forms as completely as possible, giving the Court written information about what has happened and why you need the court order. The clerk is not allowed to give legal advice. If you feel you need it, please contact an attorney.
After you have completed your forms, you then will return them to the clerk.
The respondent must be served with the papers you have filed along with the notice of the hearing. Service is very important and must occur before you can get your one-year Antiharassment order. You may have law enforcement serve the respondent with these papers.
A full Antiharassment order hearing date will be set before a judge. This hearing will be held within two weeks. At this hearing both parties are given an opportunity to address the Court.
At the full Antiharassment hearing, the Court will decide whether to sign your order and may make some changes. The order for Antiharassment will generally last for a maximum of one year, but it could last longer if necessary.
May I obtain emergency protection?
If you are in immediate danger, you may obtain a temporary order for Antiharassment prior to your full hearing in two weeks. Ask for and fill out the forms for a temporary Antiharassment order.
Almost without exception, if you file your request early in the day, you will have a determination from the judge on the same day. You may need to explain why you need immediate protection. You must show reasonable proof of unlawful harassment by the respondent and that great or irreparable harm will be the result if the temporary Antiharassment protection order is not granted. The judge can grant you a temporary order which must be served on the respondent along with the notice of the hearing for the one year Antiharassment order.
The temporary order will expire on the date of the full hearing. You must attend the full hearing to extend your temporary order for Antiharassment.
How much will it cost?
The filing fee is $83. There may also be a charge for having copies delivered (served on) the respondent. If you cannot afford the fees, the Court may allow you to go ahead without paying. Ask for and complete the form requesting fee waiver.
What if I have previously filed for an Antiharassment order against the respondent?
You may not obtain a temporary order for Antiharassment if you have already had two temporary orders against the respondent and not obtained the one-year order unless you can show the Court good cause for failing to get the one-year order.
Can the Antiharassment order be extended or renewed?
If you need to renew your one-year order, you may reapply by filing a new petition within three months of the expiration of your order.
What if the person harassing me is a minor?
The District Court must transfer the proceeding to the Superior Court when the respondent is under 18 years of age.
What happens if the order is violated?
Any willful disobedience of the Antiharassment order by the respondent shall subject the respondent to criminal penalties and the respondent may also be found in contempt of court.
What if I am the victim of domestic violence?
Victims of acts of domestic violence are required to petition in the Superior Court.