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Legal Information: Washington

Restraining Orders

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December 3, 2020

What happens if I move?

Your order is valid throughout the state of Washington and in all U.S. states and territories.  When you first get the order from court, a copy of your order is forwarded by the clerk of the court to the appropriate law enforcement agency that is specified in the order.  Then, this law enforcement agency will enter your order into a computer database that other law enforcement agencies in the state have access to.  Once it is in the database, this is considered giving notice to all law enforcement agencies that the order exists, and therefore it is enforceable in any county you move to within Washington.1 

Additionally, federal law provides what is called “full faith and credit,” which means that once you have a criminal or civil protection order, it follows you wherever you go, including U.S. territories and tribal lands.2  However, different states have different rules for enforcing out-of-state protection orders.  If you are moving to another state, you can find out about your new state’s policies by contacting a domestic violence program, the clerk of courts, a lawyer in your state, or the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit (1-800-903-0111, ext. 2).

1 R.C.W. § 7.90.160(1),(2)
2 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a)