What is "Unlawful Harassment"?
- Alarms you
- Annoys you
- Harasses you
- Serves no "legitimate or lawful" purpose
- Would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and actually causes substantial emotional distress to you
What is a "Course of Conduct"?
- A series of acts
- Over a period of time (however short)
- With an on-going purpose
How does the court determine if the acts are "Legitimate or Lawful"?
- Is the respondent (the person who is harassing you) contacting you or are you contacting each other?
- Has the respondent been clearly told that you do not want any further contact?
- Is the respondent’s behavior alarming, annoying, or harassing you?
- Are the respondent’s actions interfering with your privacy or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive living environment for you?
- Has the respondent’s contact with you been previously limited by a court order?
What is an Order for Antiharassment?
An antiharassment order is a special type of restraining order which is available only to victims of harassment.
It is a civil order of the court telling the person who harassed you not to bother you again.
The police are notified of your antiharassment order.
The Order is fully enforceable in any county in Washington State.
- An antiharassment order can:
- Restrain the respondent from contacting you
- Restrain the respondent from keeping you under surveillance
- Require the respondent to stay a stated distance away from your home or workplace
Do I need a lawyer to get an Order of Antiharassment?
No. The law has been designed so you can get an order for antiharassment without a lawyer by filling out the forms yourself.
Because you are seeking an order of the court without the help of an attorney, you will have to do the paperwork and legwork. It is not unusual for this to take several hours.
How do I obtain an Antiharassment Order?
To obtain a petition for an anti-harassment order (the paperwork you need to get an order), you can come to the civil department at the courthouse, or call 360-754-4102 or email TCDCCivil@co.thurston.wa.us to have them emailed to you. Clerks are available from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM. You need to fill out the forms as completely as possible giving the Court written information about what has happened and why you need the court order. The clerk is not allowed to give legal advice; if you feel you need it, please contact an attorney. After you have filled out the forms, return them to the clerk. The clerk will file the petition with the court.
Petitions filed by 11AM will be heard that day. At that time, the judge will decide if a temporary order should be issued. Petitions received after 11AM will be heard and ruled on the following court day.
At the hearing you will also receive your next court date. That will be your "full order hearing" and will be within two weeks. The person you are filing against (the "respondent") must be served with the papers you have filed and with the notice of the full order hearing. Service is very important and must occur before you can get a full antiharassment order. The court may order law enforcement to serve the respondent with these papers, but if they do not, you will have to arrange for service to happen.
At the full order hearing, both you and the respondent will be able to state your case to the judge. Then the judge will decide whether to issue the order as it was filed, make changes and issue it, or deny the order.
May I obtain emergency protection?
If you are in immediate danger, you may obtain a "temporary order for antiharassment" prior to your full hearing in two weeks.
Ask for and fill out the forms for a temporary antiharassment order.
Almost without exception, if you file your request before 11:00 a.m. Monday through Friday, you will see the judge or court commissioner the same day you file your papers and may need to explain why you need immediate protection.
You must show reasonable proof of unlawful harassment by the respondent and that great or irreparable harm will be the result if the temporary antiharassment protection order is not granted.
The judge can grant you a temporary order which will be served on the respondent, along with the notice of the hearing for the one year antiharassment order.
The temporary order will expire on the date of the hearing for the one year antiharassment order.
You must attend the full hearing to extend your temporary order for antiharassment.
How much will it cost?
The filing fee is $83.00.
There may also be a charge for having copies delivered (served on) the respondent.
If you cannot afford the fees, the court may allow you to go ahead without paying. Ask for and complete the form requesting a fee waiver.
What if I have previously filed for an Antiharassment Order against the respondent?
You may not obtain a temporary order for antiharassment if you have already had two temporary orders against the respondent and not obtained the one-year order, unless you can show the Court good cause for failing to get the one-year order.
If you need to renew your one-year order, you may reapply by filing a new petition within three months before the expiration of your order.
What if the person harassing me is a minor?
The district court must transfer the proceeding to the superior court when the respondent is under 18 years of age.
What happens if the order is violated?
Any willful disobedience of the antiharassment order by the respondent shall subject the respondent to criminal penalties and the respondent may also be found in contempt of court.
What if I am the victim of domestic violence?
Victims of acts of domestic violence are entitled to petition for protection from acts of domestic violence.
For information from the Thurston County Clerk about filing a petition for protection from domestic violence, Click Here.