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Restraining Orders in the King County, Washington

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Recently updated on May 8th, 2024 at 12:12 am


A restraining order is formally known as a Civil Protection Order in the Washington State.

Protection Orders are governed by the Washington state law.  The name of similar legal orders varies from state to state and in many states these are called restraining orders.  The basic idea is the same which is that a judge issues an orders an abuser to stay away from the victim in order to protect someone from physical harm, abuse, verbal attacks, threats, stalking, controlling-behavior, or violence of any kind.

There are six types of civil protection (restraining) orders to cover various situations and which are Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO), Antiharassment Protection Order (AHPO), Stalking Protection Order (SPO), Sexual Assault Protection Order (SAPO), Vulnerable Adult Protection Order (VAPO) and Extreme Risk Protection Order.

Violating a protection (restraining) order is a serious offense and can lead to criminal charges of misdemeanor. Misdemeanor crimes are of a lesser seriousness than felony, and besides violating a protection (restraining) order, are issued for other actions like disorderly conduct, shoplifting, or trespassing. While some may view these offenses as minor, they can lead to imprisonment. These cases are handled in municipal and district courts, where judges can impose a jail term of up to 90 days, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. If aggravating factors are present or if the defendants have prior criminal records, judges are more inclined to impose longer jail sentences.

Protection (restraining) orders are often sought in cases where there is a credible threat to an individual's safety. If someone believes they need protection and qualifies for a protection (restraining) order, they can usually apply for one through their local court system. The process may involve filing a petition, attending a hearing, and presenting evidence to support the request for the order.

The first step is to determine roughly which type of civil protection applies to your situation.

King County

King County which includes Seattle, Kent, Bellevue, Federal Way, Kirkland, Redmond, Auburn, Burien, Shoreline. These cities house campuses of major corporations such as Microsoft, Amazon, and universities such as University of Washington, Seattle University, and many more follow the same Washington law on Domestic Violence Protection Orders as the rest of the counties in Washington

Maps - King County, Washington

The court forms needed are published on the Administrative Office of the Courts website which apply to the entire state. However, King County Courts along with other counties some times have additional county specific changes to the Washington forms, and also introduce additional county specific cover sheets.

Where is your protection (restraining) order case filed in the King County

The forms are filled and to be filed at one of these locations depending on where the victim lives or where the abuse occurred.

If you begin a case using the button on the upper right then your court location will be determined based on your responses.


Superior Courts

1  King County Superior Court in Seattle downtown.

In case you are filing at Superior Court, then areas north of the I-90 fall in the jurisdiction of the Seattle location.


2.  King County Superior Court in Kent

Maleng Regional Justice Center (MRJC) 401 4th Ave N, Kent, WA 98032

In case you are filing at Superior Court, then areas south of the I-90 fall in the jurisdiction of the Kent location.



3. King County District Court, Auburn

340 E Main St 101 Auburn, WA 98002

Court - City of Auburn


4. King County District Court, Bellevue

 1309 114th Ave SE #100, Bellevue, WA 98004

Bellevue Municipal Court Case Search


5. King County District Court, Burien

601 S.W. 149th St. Burien, WA 98166

Traffic Infractions in King County District Court - Burien | Leist Law Office, PS


6. King County District Court, Issaquah

5415 220th Ave. S.E. Issaquah, WA 98029-6839

Issaquah King County Courthouse | Baylis Architects | 425.454.0566


7. King County District Court, Redmond

8601 160th Ave NE, Redmond, WA 98052

Redmond DUI Defense | Cowan Kirk


8. King County District Court, Shoreline

 18050 Meridian Ave N, Shoreline, WA 98133

Shoreline Area News: King County District Court simplifies small claims filing


9. King County District Court, Kent

MRJC Office, 1A 401 4th Ave. N. Kent, WA 98032 (in the same building as the Superior Court)



10. King County District Court, Vashon

10011 S.W. Bank Road Vashon, WA 98070

Situations where Domestic Violence Protection Orders apply in Washington 

There are a few different types of protection (restraining) orders and typically only one of them may apply to your situation. The first step is to see if any of the different types of protection (restraining) order applies to your situation or is remotely related as that might help you decide whether to apply .

The types are:

Domestic Violence is for situations involving romantic partners, ex-es, dating partners, roommates and family members when one person hurts the other physically, sexually or even emotionally by blackmailing or by being controlling. What is the legal definition of Domestic Violence in the Washington State.


Example 1:  Husband is sexually and verbally abusive, and controlling  

My husband doesn't allow me the option to say no to sex, and often that warning is not explicit but I know bad things will happen if I say no such as bullying, threats and immense tension. As a couple we have been having sex everyday for nearly two decades now.  He verbally abuses me by calling me a whore if I don't sleep with him.  During this time he is intoxicated so I am fearful of having a discussion as his anger will quickly get out of control, and he will hurl things at home thereby inducing more fear in me. Such behavior has been going on for over a decade now so I am not sure about the date of the first incident now. One day I very carefully chose my words and mentioned that maybe we are not a right fit, and should seek counseling. He was enraged and threated me that he will utterly destroy me, my work reputation, and expose some minor things I did to the immigration authorities.  Since about six months, I have been sleeping in a separate room. He comes there routinely and tries to sleep with me forcefully.   Often times I feel that if I resist, or decline his advances that my reputation, our property, or even me life will me in danger.  I feel little, humiliated and disgusted with myself.

Example 2:  Boyfriend blackmails and destroys property to control and induce fear

Today, Michael was armed with a pistol and seemed to be under the influence of an unidentified substance. He made threats to create false narratives with the aim of jeopardizing my 28-year accounting career, stating he would falsely accuse me of engaging in illegal financial activities. His menacing statement, "if you mess with me, I'll retaliate," was accompanied by destructive actions, such as damaging property in my home, including creating a hole in the wall. Michael's behavior becomes particularly alarming when he is under the influence of drugs.

Example 3: Ex-boyfriend stalks 

Jenna's ex-boyfriend shows up at Jenna's work unexpectedly and drives around. Jenna is fearful, and had earlier clearly asked him to leave her alone.


Situations where other Protection Orders apply in Washington 

Antiharassment applies to situations involving repeated irritating behavior, stalking, abuse, or threatened by someone you are not as close to as is required under domestic violence cases, like a neighbor, or more distant family members like cousins, aunts or uncles, or nieces or nephews.


Vulnerable Adult: A senior citizen (or an adult who cannot function independently) is being abused by a caretaker, neighbor or child. These are also used by Adult Protective Services.



Extreme (Firearm) Risk: Typically, a police officer or sheriff who thinks someone might hurt themselves or someone else with a gun. This can stop that person from buying or owning a gun. It can't order them to stay away from someone.


Stalking: An employer usually requests these to protect their employee(s) from a person who has stalked, harassed, been violent or threatened violence at the workplace.


 Sexual Assault involves involving unwanted sexual conduct by someone who is not a romantic partner or an ex- or a roommate or a member of the victim's family or household. This is also used as an added protection in criminal cases so in case the charges are dropped by the state, the victim has some basic protection via this protection order.


Still Unsure ?

Answer few questions anonymously to see which one is suitable 



How Protection (restraining) Orders Solve the Problem

The purpose of a protection (restraining) order is to restrict the contact or proximity of one person (the respondent or alleged perpetrator) to another person (the petitioner or victim) in order to ensure the safety and well-being of the petitioner.

The specific terms of a protection (restraining) order can vary depending on the circumstances of the case e.g. if the people live together then it might require one party to vacate the place.

Typically, a protection (restraining) order may prohibit the respondent from

  1. Approaching or contacting the petitioner including via text or social media
  2. Staying away from the usual places petitioner is at such as home, work or school
  3. Prohibit stalking, or surveillance of any kind
  4. In situations where they lived together, provide custody or access to
    • Children
    • Pets
    • Important documents
    • Personal items such as clothes, medications, cell phones
    • Cars
  5. Extending the protections to others living with the petitioner


Here's the top three findings from a study on domestic violence and protection (restraining) orders from the University of New Hampshire

Reduce ViolenceReduce Violence

Civil protective orders (such as a DVRO) are effective in reducing partner violence for many women. For half the women in the sample, a protective order stopped the violence. For the other half, the orders significantly reduced violence and abuse.

Cost Effective

Cost Effective

They are a relatively low-cost solution, particularly when compared with the social and personal costs of partner violence.


Urban Vs. Rural

The impact of civil protective orders on reducing violence and abuse did not differ for rural and urban women. In rural areas where resources and services for partner violence may be more limited, the protection (restraining) orders hold greater importance.

Process for Protection (restraining) Orders

Step 1: Gather evidence to support your case

The first step is to gather the evidence to support your case. The fallowing are considered as evidence of domestic violence


Evidence Type 1: Pending Criminal Case

Judges are also more likely to issue an order if there is an ongoing criminal case, therefore it’s important to call such cases out when seeking a temporary protection (restraining) order.

When a judge sees that there’s a criminal case happening, they might think it means the police or the district attorney are pretty sure they can prove the crime happened.

Examples of evidence are:

Evidence Type 2: Photos of violence, injuries, damage

These are the most common types of evidence submitted. These can be photos of victim’s injuries inflicted by the abuser. It is helpful to add photos next to the related incident description to help create a complete picture for the judge.

Evidence Type 3: Print outs of messages, emails or transcripts of voicemail

You can take screenshots of text messages and attach them. Similarly you can print emails and attach them as pictures or PDF files. While in most cases you cannot submit digital files such as

Evidence Type 4: 911 Calls

Rather than just saying you called 911 or any specific hotline, you can make your case stronger by listing the following items

  • The number dialed in case of the domestic hotline
  • The date and time (or approximate date and time) when the call was made
  • Who made the call
  • What was reported on the call
  • Any specific details of the person who answer the 911 call e.g. male/female voice

Evidence Type 5:  Medical Records

.You can attach documentation of previous medical emergencies or injuries that resulted from the actions of the abuser. These could be hospital visit records, print outs from your hospital portal (E.g. mychart) showing details of your visit.

Evidence Type 6:  Police reports

You can attach a copy of the police reports filed against abuser for domestic violence.

Evidence Type 7:  Testimony

  • A testimony from a witness. The witness can be anyone such as a family member, neighbor a co-worker or a bystander. The testimony is just an essay written describing the incidents witnessed, with as many specifics as possible.

Step 2: Prepare King County court forms 


Click one of the green button on the right to create these forms for free online →. 

In order to apply for a civil protection order, you need to fill and submit a specific set of official Washington court forms with some cover sheets added by the King County courts.

The most important form is the petition, and it's called Petition for Protection Order

PO 001 Petition for Protection Order


The complete set of documents is at the Washington Courts website. While these forms are used in most courts, certain courts use modified versions of these forms, and its important to uses those versions.

Tip: You can check your local court's website to see the exact versions and set of court forms needed. You need to prepare these forms. Courts also offers a free self help center where you can take forms. Alternatively you can use a free website such as LegalAtoms to prepare the protection (restraining) orders paperwork online.


Nothing happens until you file the forms. So its a good idea to step through the forms even if you think you don't plan to file for a protection order right now, to get

You can then file them online when you've thought through all aspects.  There are special protections for victims, and you're protected even if your immigration status is undocumented in United States.

Step 3: E-File the Court Forms

Typically these are filed at your county's Superior Courts or District Court. Some of these courts are also called Family Justice Center.

Step 4: Wait for a King County Judge to Issue a Temporary Order 

Depending on the facts and evidence presented, a Judge can issue a protection (restraining) order with immediate effect until the hearing, called an Emergency Temporary Order.  In relatively less risky situations, a temporary order is issued in a few days.

If there are no grounds or if the application is incomplete or the jurisdiction is incorrect the application may be rejected.

The temporary order is only valid for about 3 weeks which is the amount of time until the hearing. If the hearing is delayed for any reason, you need to check with the court to ensure the temporary order is renewed until the hearing.

Step 5: Law Enforcement will Serve the abuser 

This would be done in one of the following ways:
  1. Clerk would have the abuser served by law enforcement.  You don't need to do anything in this case
  2. Clerk would give you a packet of temporary order and other documents, and you will have it formally served via another adult or legal courier to the abuser
  3. In some cases such as when the respondent address is unknown, a complete set of Temporary Order and supporting documents called the "911Packet" is handed to you. This is handy e.g. in case there is a confrontation with the abuser and cops get called, the cops can hand over physically the 911-packet to the abuser.

Step 6: Present Evidence in a Court Hearing 

Attend a hearing: The court holds a hearing within a couple of weeks where the evidence is examined. If there is sufficient supporting evidence as determined by a Judge, a full protection (restraining) order is issued. At this point it becomes a crime for the abuser to break the conditions of the protection (restraining) order.


L.A. County court to staff: Get COVID vaccine or get fired - Los Angeles Times


Step 7. Collect the Final Order

After the hearing, a final order may be issued. You can take a paper copy of the order with you. The order is typically valid for five years.

Legal Definition of Domestic Violence

The definition was updated in 2021 to include more subtle abuses. It is important because a protection order will be issued if the abuser's behavior is shown to meet the definition.

As per Revised Code of Washington, R.C.W., § 7.105.010 (9) "Domestic violence" means:

(a) Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of physical harm, bodily injury, or assault; nonconsensual sexual conduct or nonconsensual sexual penetration; coercive control; unlawful harassment; or stalking of one intimate partner by another intimate partner; or
(b) Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of physical harm, bodily injury, or assault; nonconsensual sexual conduct or nonconsensual sexual penetration; coercive control; unlawful harassment; or stalking of one family or household member by another family or household member.
(20) "Intimate partner" means:

(a) Spouses or domestic partners;
(b) former spouses or former domestic partners;
(c) persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time, unless the child is conceived through sexual assault; or
(d) persons who have or have had a dating relationship where both persons are at least 13 years of age or older.


Who can file the Civil Protection

(Restraining) Order case and for whom

For all civil protection orders, the case can be filed by someone (called petitioner) who is 15 years or older for all civil protection orders. Here are the situations:

For Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO)


Self:  A petitioner over can petition for himself/herself 



For Minors: A petitioner can file on behalf of minors who are family or household member. The petitioner must be minor's choice and safeguard minor's interests.


For Vulnerable Adults: Petitioner can file for vulnerable adults who are family or household members



For Antiharassment Protection Order (AHPO), Sexual Assault Protection Order (SAPO) and Stalking Protection Order (SPO)


Self:  A petitioner over can petition for himself/herself 



For Minor: A parent, legal guardian, or custodian can file for a minor



For Vulnerable Adult: for a vulnerable adult or another adult who cannot petition himself/herself due to age, disability accessibility . The petitioner needs to demonstrate to the court's satisfaction in a written affidavit that the petitioner is interested in the adult's well-being.


Restrictions You can Ask for 

Stay Away From You: Abuser would have to stay at least 100 yards away from you, your children and locations you request such as your work


Hand over Vehicles: Get access to cars held by the abuser



Not to Post Your Private Images: Take down, delete, and do not distribute intimate images of a protected person, as defined in RCW 9A.86.010.




Not to Contact You Not to contact you via phone or text or mutual friends



  Move out  Abuser may be forced to vacate the residence shared with the victim



Restrict Abusive Litigation: This is to prevent the misuse of the legal system to harass, intimidate, or burden you.


Not to Stalk You: Not stalk you or your loved ones, including online stalking or surveillance such as on your accounts on Facebook or other social media.


Hand over personal items: Such as passport, medications, clothes. This would be applicable if you were living together up to now.


Get Treatment for Drugs, Mental Health And Sex Offender: You can request the abuser to seek treatment for alcoholism, drug use, domestic violence abuse (RCW 43.20A.735) or sex offender (RCW 18.155.070)




Your Costs for Getting a Protection (restraining) Order


Some of the civil protection orders have no cost, owing to their use in protecting victims.


  • Antiharassment:    $ 53  - The fee is waived if the following are involved
    • Stalking (as defined in RCW 9A.46.110)
    • A hate crime (under RCW 9A.36.080(1)(c))
    • A single act of violence or threat of violence (under RCW 7.105.010(35)(b)) OR
    • From a person who has engaged in nonconsensual sex that constitutes a sex offense (as defined in RCW 9A.44.128)
  • Sexual Assault:  $0 (FREE)


  • Stalking:  $0  (FREE)


  • Vulnerable Adult: $0  (FREE)


  • Extreme Risk: $0  (FREE)


How long does the process take

If you file by noon at most courts, you can get a temporary protection order the same day as you file. Courts can have a cutoff of around 2 p.m. in most locations in the King County  for the same day "Emergency" orders , so you need to file before then. Otherwise, the order would be issued the following day when courts open.

Courts are  open Monday-Friday and closed on Saturday-Sunday.

The temporary order is valid until a formal hearing is held in which both parties need to be present. Typically a hearing is scheduled in 2 weeks of filing.

At the hearing a formal order may be issued

All Clerk's Office locations are closed on Court Holidays.

Court Holiday


Day of Week

Christmas Holiday December 25, 2023 Monday
New Year's Day (observed) January 1, 2024 Monday
Martin Luther King Jr. Day January 15, 2024 Monday
Presidents' Day February 19, 2024 Monday
Memorial Day May 27, 2024 Monday
Juneteenth June 19, 2024 Wednesday
Independence Day July 4, 2024 Thursday
Labor Day September 2, 2024 Monday
Veterans' Day November 11, 2024  Monday
Thanksgiving Day November 28, 2024 Thursday
Native American Heritage Day November 29, 2024 Friday
Christmas Holiday December 25, 2024 Wednesday
New Year's Day January 1, 2025 Wednesday


Risks of Getting a Protection (restraining) Order


It is conceivable that following the submission of a civil protection order, the abuser particularly in domestic violence situations may react with anger due to the perceived loss of control over you and your household. In certain instances, the abuser may portray themselves as the victim and shift blame onto the actual victim they were mistreating.

The response of your abuser after the filing of a protection order is unpredictable. While a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) can provide legal protection, one should not automatically assume that it guarantees safety. The initial weeks post-filing can be particularly precarious, contingent on your abuser's reaction.

Despite the safeguards intended by a DVPO, abusers may retaliate through various means, such as:

  1. Physical assault or violence
  2. Harming or taking away children
  3. Damaging jointly owned property
  4. Disregarding the order and persisting with threats, possibly through intermediaries
  5. Inflicting harm or causing harm to pets
  6. Harassing your loved ones for information
  7. Engaging in stalking behavior
  8. Initiating a retaliatory protection (restraining) order against you
  9. Spreading false information about you in court documents, online, or publicly

Following the submission of a domestic violence Protection order, it's important to continuously assess your situation and prepare for the potential escalation of your case into more violent territory.


Calculating your risk level

The Lethality Assessment Program (LAP) is a questionnaire used by law enforcement and other professionals, often in the context of domestic violence situations, to assess the risk of murder in cases involving intimate partner violence.

The questionnaire has about 20 questions designed to evaluate the severity and potential danger of a situation. These questions may cover aspects such as the presence of weapons, history of violence, threats of harm, and other factors that could indicate an increased risk of lethal violence.

  1. Has the physical violence increased in severity or frequency over the past year?
  2. Does the abuser own a gun? Or has he ever used a weapon against you or threatened you with a lethal weapon particularly a gun?
  3. Have you ever lived together? And if yes then have you left the abuser after living together during the past year?
  4. Is he unemployed?
  5. Has the abuser threatened to kill you? Do you believe he is capable of killing you?
  6. Does he threaten to harm your children?
  7. Does he ever try to choke/strangle you or cut off your breathing? . If yes to the previous question, has he done it more than once, or did it make you pass out or blackout or make you dizzy?
  8. Has he avoided being arrested for domestic violence?
  9. Do you have a child with the abuser which is not his
  10. Has he ever forced you to have sex when you did not wish to do so?
  11. Does he use illegal drugs? By drugs, I mean “uppers” or amphetamines, “meth”, speed, angel dust, cocaine, “crack”, street drugs or mixtures. . Is he an alcoholic or problem drinker?
  12. Does he control most or all of your daily activities? For instance, does he tell you who you can be friends with, when you can see your family, how much money you can use, or when you can take the car? 18. In reference to the previous question, do you let him control most or all of your activities?
  13. Is he violently and constantly jealous of you? (For instance, does he say: “If I can’t have you, no one can.”)
  14. Have you ever been pregnant by him? Have you ever been beaten by him while you were pregnant?
  15. Has he ever threatened or tried to commit suicide?
  16. Have you ever threatened or tried to commit suicide?
  17. Does he follow or spy on you, leave threatening notes or messages, destroy your property, or call you when you don’t want him to?

How many people file for Protection (restraining) Orders in the King County? 

About 20,000 Civil Protection Orders including DVPO were filed in Washington in 2023 (Source: Administrative Office of the Courts). In March 2024 the numbers were consistent i.e. about 1700 (Source).


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