What is a no-contact order?
A no-contact order stops someone charged with a crime from having any contact or communication with a certain person or persons they are alleged to have committed a crime against. No-contact orders are frequently seen in cases where domestic violence, sexual abuse or stalking are alleged to have occurred. There are cases where the protected person is the one who requested the no-contact order, and there are other cases where the judge may decide to issue a no-contact order if they think it’s appropriate for the particular case. All in all, no-contact orders are put in place when a judge feels it is needed to protect the well-being and safety of a person.
Who does the no-contact order apply to?
The no-contact order only applies to the person who committed the initial crime that led to the no-contact order. This means that the protected person can and sometimes does reach out to the defendant. It is very important that the defendant does not respond to the protected person despite them reaching out first because it will violate the order and be the cause of a new crime. Unless the judge makes certain exceptions, no contact or communication is allowed by the defendant, regardless of who reached out first.
What happens if I violate a no-contact order?
No-contact orders are taken very seriously. Violating your no-contact order even once can result in a fine, jail time, or both. It can also be a reason to have your bond revoked on the case where the Defendant was originally charged. The fine can be up to a thousand dollars, and the jail time can be up to one year. If you violate your no-contact order twice within five years, you will be guilty of a felony. If you are charged with a felony, you can be fined up to five thousand dollars, given up to five years in jail, or both. Furthermore, no warrant is required for an arrest to be made when you violate a no-contact order. Probable cause is the only thing an officer needs to make an arrest, meaning they just need to reasonably believe you are violating your no-contact order.
How long does a no-contact order last?
Knowing when your no-contact order ends is very important. The length of a no-contact order varies as not all no-contact orders are the same. Some no-contact orders have an expiration date written on them, and that is when it will end.
How do I get rid of my no-contact order?
The process to remove a no-contact order is not complicated. It can be started by the person the No Contact Order protects, or the Defendant. If the protected person is trying to get it removed, they will file a written and signed request to a clerk at the court. The form for this request will be made available by the clerk at the court. Oftentimes, the Prosecutor’s Office Victim Witness Coordinator will also help provide the paperwork. It is important to note that a request will only be effective if it is filed in the same court that the criminal offense which led to the no-contact order was filed. When filing the request, the protected person can request that the no-contact order be removed completely or modified. Once a request is made, the court must schedule a court hearing; typically within 14 days. The court must also let all the parties know about the upcoming court hearing. The judge will allow each party to voice their feelings at the court hearing. After hearing from all the parties involved, the judge will make the final decision regarding the removal or modification of the no-contact order. At the end of the day, the judge is the only person with the power to remove or modify a no-contact order.
What does a judge look for when deciding to remove or modify a no-contact order?
Each case is different, and the judge will look at all the facts in each case before making their final decision. However, a judge is more likely to remove a no-contact order after the defendant has completed any recommended treatment that would reduce their risk of reoffending. It is also important for the judge to see that the protected person will feel safe and not live in fear if the order is removed or modified. Additionally, the judge likes to be reassured that if a situation arises where the protected person is in danger again due to the defendant, they will be willing to report the situation and get the help they need. This is harder to prove in cases where the protected person has shown a pattern of not reporting because they were protecting the defendant. Having the protected person create a ‘safety plan’ and providing the court with a copy can help the protected person show that they are willing and ready to report when necessary. This ‘safety plan’ should let the court know what actions the protected person will take, step-by- step, to report and get that help.
Do I need an attorney to remove my no-contact order?
As in any case, an attorney is not required, but it can increase your chances of success and make the process less stressful. At Aaron Hooper, Attorney at Law, we have experience with these types of cases and know what judges are looking for when deciding if the removal or modification of a no-contact order is proper. If you need help removing or modifying your no-contact order, please contact Aaron Hooper, Attorney at Law. We are well-equipped and ready to handle your case!