If an intimate partner or spouse accuses you of domestic violence, they could go to the police and try to bring charges against you. Other times, they could go to the Washington courts and ask for a domestic violence protection order.

If the police have not arrested you or charged you with the crime, getting served with notice of a possible domestic violence protection order hearing may not seem very serious. However, if you have the option of showing up to defend yourself against the claims made by the other person, then doing so is often a good decision.

What happens if you just ignore domestic violence protection order proceedings?

The order can affect your life

If you don’t go to court to defend yourself, then the odds favor the plaintiff. Although you may feel like they don’t have a strong case against you, if you aren’t there to fight back against their spurious claims, they could convince the court to grant the order.

A domestic violence protection order in Washington could force you to move if you cohabitate with the other party. It could place restrictions on your socialization activities, from preventing you from going to a business that employs the other party to restricting your ability to communicate with them electronically.

A domestic violence protection order issued after a hearing could also trigger federal rules that make you ineligible to own a firearm. Not only could that put you at risk of criminal charges, but it could affect your career if you work in law enforcement or the military.

How do you defend against a protection order request?

If someone wants to claim that they feel a significant and credible fear for their safety because of your behavior, you will need to provide alternate explanations for their claims against you or give context to statements or situations that might make you seem dangerous. Social media records, videos and pictures of your time together or even witness testimony can help you defend yourself.

Recognizing the potentially life-altering consequences of a domestic violence claim, even in a hearing for a protective order instead of a criminal trial, will help protect your reputation and your future.