Violating a No Contact Order in Washington
In Washington, when a person is convicted of a domestic violence offense, one of the penalties is often the issuance of a no contact order. A no contact order is also known as a restraining order and it is a legal order preventing the defendant from contacting or intentionally seeking out the victim or their family members. The point of this type of order is to keep domestic violence victims safe from further abuse.
According to Washington law RCW 10.9 9.050, anyone who is convicted of a crime and is sentenced to have no contact with the victim or victims will be issued an order that will be reported to law enforcement. The purpose of this process is so that law enforcement can be aware of the no contact order and will be able to enforce it if necessary. Law enforcement will enter these orders in their computer database. RCW 10.99.050 states:
Entry into the computer-based criminal intelligence information system constitutes notice to all law enforcement agencies of the existence of the order. The order is fully enforceable in any jurisdiction in the state.
The Penalties for Violating a No Contact Order in Seattle
No contact orders are taken very seriously in Washington. Law enforcement agents who have probable cause to believe that a person has violated the terms of their no contact order can make an arrest and take that person into custody. This means that anyone who unintentionally violates a no contact order can be arrested without be allowed a chance to defend themselves.
Additionally, the penalties for a willful violation of a no contact order can be severe. A willful violation of an order is punishable under RCW 26.50.110, and can result in:
- A violation that includes an assault, drive-by shooting, reckless endangerment or a defendant with 2 or more prior violations will result in felony charges. The penalties for such include:
- A maximum of 5 years of jail time OR
- A maximum of $10,000 in fines OR
- A combination of both
- All other violations will be charged as gross misdemeanors and will result in sentencing of:
- A maximum of 1 year of jail time OR
- A maximum of $5,000 in fines OR
- A combination of both
No contact orders will generally last for one year unless otherwise specified. If the order is modified or terminated before it expires, law enforcement will also be informed of this.