Pierce County, Washington is home to Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), a major military installation that serves as a hub for thousands of service members and their families. While protection orders are designed to provide safety and security to individuals who are victims of domestic violence or harassment, they can also have unintended consequences for service members stationed at JBLM. Understanding the potential impact of a protection order and knowing what steps to take if served with one in Pierce County Superior Court can be crucial for service members to protect their rights and well-being.
Protection orders, under RCW 7.105, also known as restraining orders or no-contact orders, are legal orders issued by a court to prohibit an individual from engaging in certain behaviors toward another person. These behaviors may include physical violence, harassment, stalking, or contact of any kind. In Pierce County, protection orders can be obtained through the Superior Court, and they can be sought by anyone who believes they are a victim of domestic violence or harassment, including spouses, domestic partners, former partners, family members, or household members.
For service members stationed at JBLM, a protection order can have a significant impact on their military career and personal life. One of the most immediate and severe consequences is the potential restriction or loss of access to firearms, which can impact a service member’s ability to perform their duties if they are required to carry or use firearms as part of their job. Additionally, a protection order can limit or prohibit contact with family members, including spouses, children, or other dependents, which can strain relationships and affect the service member’s emotional well-being.
Moreover, a protection order can impact a service member’s security clearance, which is a critical requirement for many military jobs. A security clearance is granted to individuals who have been deemed trustworthy and reliable to access classified information, and any legal action, including a protection order, can raise concerns about an individual’s judgment, stability, and ability to handle sensitive information. A protection order can also affect a service member’s promotion opportunities, as it may be viewed as evidence of misconduct or behavior that does not align with military values and standards.
If a service member is served with a protection order in Pierce County Superior Court, it is essential to take immediate and appropriate action to protect their rights and mitigate the potential consequences. The following steps can be helpful:
- Seek legal advice: It is crucial for service members to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney who specializes in military law and understands the implications of a protection order on their military career. A skilled attorney can provide guidance on how to respond to the protection order and represent the service member’s interests in court.
Contact Whalley Law at 253-565-3209 as their attorneys are available 24/7 and consultations are available immediately. They offer a $5,000 flat fee representation for protection orders.
- Comply with the protection order: It is crucial for service members to strictly comply with the terms and conditions of the protection order, even if they believe it is unfair or unwarranted. Violating a protection order can result in serious legal consequences, including criminal charges and additional restrictions on firearms, which can further jeopardize a service member’s military career.
- Notify the chain of command: Service members should inform their chain of command, including their commanding officer, about the protection order. This allows the military to be aware of the situation and provide appropriate support and guidance to the service member.
The most important step is to hire a civilian attorney who can help guide you through the process so that you can minimize the affect the allegations have against your military career. The attorneys at Whalley Law have protected many service members who have been served with a Petition for a Restraining Order.