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Legal Information: Washington

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
December 3, 2020

What types of sexual assault protection orders are available? How long do they last?

There are two types of sexual assault protection orders available in Washington:

  1. An ex parte temporary sexual assault protection order; and
  2. A final sexual assault protection order (which can be for a fixed period of time (“nonpermanent”) or can be permanent).

You can get an ex parte temporary sexual assault protection order if you have been the victim of nonconsensual sexual conduct or penetration and the judge believes that you would likely be harmed by the offender if s/he were given notice of your petition before you got the sexual assault protection order.1 The offender does not need to be present or have notice of the hearing for a temporary sexual assault protection order, which is what is meant by the term “ex parte.” An ex parte temporary order may be renewed one or more times as needed.2

An ex parte temporary order is effective for a set period of time, which is usually up to 14 days (or up to 24 days if service by publication or service by mail is permitted). The court will schedule a final hearing to determine whether or not to grant a final sexual assault protection order no later than 14 days (or 24 days) after the temporary protection order was issued.2

A final sexual assault protection order will be granted if the judge believes that you have been a victim of nonconsensual sexual conduct or penetration.3 You will have the opportunity to prove this to the judge at the final sexual assault protection order hearing where you can present evidence, witnesses, testimony, etc. We strongly recommend getting an attorney to represent you at the hearing, if possible, to make sure your legal rights are protected. You can find legal referrals on our WA Finding a Lawyer page. If you are unable to get a lawyer, you can get more information about preparing for court on our At the Hearing page. The final order is effective for a fixed period of time (nonpermanent) or it can be permanent (last forever). A nonpermanent order may be renewed one or more times if you file a motion for renewal stating the reasons why you want to renew it at any time within the three months before the order expires.4 See How do I extend my protection order?

1 R.C.W. § 7.90.110(1)(a),(b)
2 R.C.W. §§ 7.90.120(1)(a); 7.90.121(1)
3 R.C.W. § 7.90.090(1)(a)
4 R.C.W. § 7.90.120(2); 7.90.121(2)