Filing an Anti-harassment Protection Petition
Washington state law (RCW Chapter 10.14) defines unlawful harassment as a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person which seriously alarms, annoys, harasses or is detrimental to such person and serves no legitimate or lawful purpose. The course of conduct shall be such as would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotion distress, or when the course of conduct would cause a reasonable parent to fear for the well-being of their child.
Under Washington law, "course of conduct" means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose. "Course of conduct" includes the sending of an electronic communication, but does not include constitutionally protected free speech. An individual may request an order of protection that may prohibit harassment, contact and restrain the person (respondent) from coming within a specific distance of one's residence, workplace or school.
Transfer of Harassment Cases
Under recent amendments passed by the Washington State Legislature in 2011, Pierce County District Court has original jurisdiction over these actions. However, Pierce County District Court must transfer such petitions to the Superior Court when it is shown that:
- A - The respondent to the petition is under 18 years of age
- B - The action involves title or possession of real property
- C - A superior court has exercised or is exercising jurisdiction over a proceeding involving the parties
- D - The action would have the effect of interfering with a respondent's care, control or custody of the respondent's minor child
Filing for a Protection Order
First, review the harassment and stalking protection order worksheet.
You may complete the interview process for an antiharassment petition online. Please review additional information on the eServices page.
After you complete the petition online, you will be given a confirmation number. After filing online, you must contact the court within 72 hours by phone (253) 798-7487 or by live chat for clerical review. At this time you will be provided the information for the payment of the filing fee. After the clerical review and payment of the filing fee, the petition will forwarded to the judge for judicial review.
Your Petition will not be processed until you contact the court for review and pay the filing fee.
Antiharassment petitions must be filed by 10:30 AM the day you would like to go to court. Any filings after 10:30 AM will be seen the next business day. Antiharassment filings are not accepted after 3:00 PM.
You will need to know the full name and address of the person you claim is harassing you and any other identifying information about the individual such as date of birth, driver's license number, etc. It will take you about one hour to complete the required forms.
Antiharassment filing fees will not be refunded if the petition is not granted by the judge. In addition to the filing fee, you will need three certified copies of the order. The filing fee and certified copy costs must be paid by cash or credit card. Personal checks are not accepted. In some circumstances the District Court will waive the filing fee and costs. If you want the court to consider a waiver of fees, you must give the court detailed information about your income and expenses to justify the waiver. A fee waiver is not automatically granted by the judicial officer. A list of fees can be found here.
Know when your protective order is served
Washington Protective Order Service PDF