Appealing A Protection Order
How and where you appeal a protection order depends on what court issued the decision. If the petition was heard in a district or municipal court, the appeal will be decided by the superior court for that county. The rules for this type of appeal are found in the Rules for Appeal of Decisions of Courts of Limited Jurisdiction (RALJ).
But if the petition was granted by a commissioner in the superior court (which happens in certain kinds of cases), then a respondent has two options for appealing. One option is to seek revision in the superior court within 10 days of the date the commissioner issued the protection order. This procedure requires an elected judge (as opposed to a court commissioner) to review the case and make independent findings. It is considered an intermediate step in the process, though it is not required in order to secure further review. If this does not result in a favorable outcome, an appeal to a higher-level court can be undertaken.
The second option is to bypass the revision process entirely and file your appeal directly to the Washington State Court of Appeals within 30 days of the protection order’s issuance. A respondent subject to a civil protection order has the right to a direct appeal, which means you don’t have to get the court’s permission to take the case. But review in the court of appeals can easily take a year or longer and is much more procedurally strict.
As with most appeals, the status quo remains while the appeal is pending. For anyone restricted by a protection order lasting one year or less, the appeal may not even be decided by the time the protection order lapses (unless the petitioner successfully renews it). Also, as in the trial courts, the losing party on revision or appeal may be ordered to pay reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party. This means there is a financial risk is doing an appeal beyond your own costs.
It is important to get experienced legal counsel to assist you in deciding whether to file an appeal. This is especially hard because the timelines are so tight. Call us for help at 425-643-1606.