If you have been charged with a domestic-violence crime, the judge may have entered a “No-Contact Order” while the case was pending. What exactly does this mean? How does it work? This article helps explain the meaning and parameters of a No-Contact Order.
When you are arraigned for a domestic-violence crime, the judge will often impose a No-Contact Order for the benefit the alleged victim while the case is pending; i.e., before you are convicted of anything. In fact, the judge may impose this order as a condition of release. This may seem supremely unfair – you haven’t been convicted of anything! But do not violate the judge’s ruling. As you will see, doing so may only make things more difficult for you down the road.
If you do violate the No-Contact Order, the court may have you taken into custody. It could also result in the prosecution adding new criminal charges against you. In their eyes, you’ve demonstrated a propensity to disregard court orders. Prosecutors have been known to treat violations of a No-Contact Order just as seriously, and indeed more seriously, than the underlying charge itself.
So, what are you allowed to do? What are you prohibited from doing?
Read the order carefully, and ask your attorney for help interpreting it. Feel free to call George Law at (248) 470-4300; the attorneys at George Law have considerable experience with No-Contact orders.
Read the No-Contact Order carefully and pay close attention to what the judge has actually ordered. In many No-Contact Orders, judges in Michigan will prohibit you from going anywhere near the alleged victim’s (i) home, (ii) school, (iii) place of employment, and (iv) etc. If you had been living together, you would be required to leave the residence and move to a new residence while the case is pending. The judge would forbid you from contacting or communicating by phone, email, text, etc., with the alleged victim. You would also be prohibited from directing others to contact the alleged victim on your behalf. And you still haven’t been convicted of anything!
What do you do if you are forced to vacate your house, but you have property there? Ask the judge to allow somebody you know to retrieve your personal belongings. Having a skilled attorney, such as those at George Law, can often achieve this for you.
If you have children together, it complicates matters somewhat. A No-Contact Order can affect your relationship with your children and your family situation. Talk to a lawyer at George Law about your options. If you and the alleged victim have shared children, the judge may allow you to visit the children and establish a pick-up and drop-off routine. Also, you can work to arrange agreed childcare.
Can a No-Contact Order be dropped?
Either party may file a motion with the court to modify a No-Contact Order. The judge takes into account (i) how long your particular case has been pending, (ii) whether you have complied with the No-Contact Order, (iii) if you have a violation of a No-Contact Order pending in the court, (iv) if you have complied with supervised release, and (v) if the alleged victim will consent to the judge dismissing the No-Contact Order.
If you are seeking to vacate a domestic-violence conviction or remove it from your record, the court will examine closely whether you have ever violated a No-Contact Order.
No-Contact Orders are complex, and the consequences for violating them can be dire. Talk to a domestic violence lawyer at George Law to discuss your options today. Contact us by email or at (248) 470-4300 for a free consultation.