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No-contact orders in domestic violence cases: a Q & A

Lots of numbers get tossed around in the media regarding domestic violence. For example, it's often asserted that 1 in 3 women have experienced some form of violence from an intimate partner.

By any measure, domestic violence (DV) is a common charge that can result in jail time or fines. But you still may not realize how far-reaching the other consequences of a DV charge can be.

In this post, we will use an FAQ format to focus on one such consequence: the issuance of a no-contact order.

How does the law define domestic violence?

Washington law defines several different types of conduct directed against a household or family member as domestic violence. The code section is Section 26.50.010 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) .

The prohibited types of conduct against a family or household member include:

  • Infliction of bodily harm
  • Making threats of such harm
  • Sexual assault
  • Stalking

What is a no-contact order exactly?

No-contact orders (NCO) are often referred to as restraining orders. When a criminal charge is involved, an NCO is an order from the court prohibiting contact with the person who accused you of domestic violence.

The terminology is a little tricky, however, because a civil protection order cam also contain a no-contact component. In other words, a no-contact order can be involved even if there is no criminal charge.

And to complicate things further, Washington law also allows for anti-harassment orders.

Is it true that spouses sometimes use restraining orders to try to get an advantage in child custody disputes?

Yes, that does happen. Unscrupulous or desperate accusers often make allegations of domestic violence, seeking to use that to their advantage in child custody cases.

An NCO can therefore profoundly affect family relationships for years to come.

What are the chances for getting a DV charge dismissed?

Regardless of whether they involve NCOs, domestic violence cases can be tough to prosecute. This because both parties are often partly culpable and those who claim to be victims often change their stories.

But it is important to have skilled legal counsel on your side to advocate for you and work toward a favorable resolution.

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