Respecting and heeding a no contact order can be tricky, especially when the restricted person lives near you or is your child(ren)'s other parent. For those who must pick up children, access personal belongings, or have any reason to be near the restricted person, care must be taken to make other arrangements. Violations of no contact orders are gross misdemeanors and carry stringent penalties.
In several Washington counties, courts regularly issue a No Contact Order after a domestic violence arrest. The victim of the alleged abuse does not have the right to argue the order. Those arrested for violating the gross misdemeanor order, may face up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.
What does No Contact Mean?
Contact means: in person, on a computer, a tablet, a telephone, or any other device. To avoid any kind of violation, the person ordered to stay away must be mindful of all forms of contact. In fact, a violation can occur if the alleged abuser is found within close proximity of the restricted person. These restrictions usually remain in place throughout the domestic violence case and may even be extended after the case is resolved. It is important to note that every time a communication is made—one text message or 10 text messages—each is treated as a separate violation and a separate charge.
What If the Recipient of the No Contact Order Contacts Me?
Just as the victim has no say about the court's order for No Contact, the person ordered to stay away has no say whether the victim contacts him or her. In other words, if you cannot contact your ex-boyfriend because of a No Contact Order, when he emails, calls, texts, or messages you on social media, you could be charged with a willful violation of the order if you respond to any of these attempts at contact. Similarly, if you happen to be in a public place or at a person's home and the restricted person appears, you must leave immediately without any attempt of contact with that person. Failure to leave immediately is another willful violation.
If your domestic violence situation was a single, one-time situation and you have no previous violations, sometimes the victim can be successful in petitioning the court to lift the order. The court often will weigh factors in addition to a clean criminal history, such as positive results from interaction with a social worker. An experienced criminal defense attorney knows how to navigate these strategies in domestic violence cases and can often win varying levels of contact between the victim and the other party in court.
Proving Willful Violations of No Contact Orders in Court
A No Contact Order violation is not always easy for prosecutors to prove. A criminal defense attorney who has experience with No Contact Order violations will know how to examine the case facts and uncover flaws that lead to successful case dismissals or significantly reduced charges. Steve Karimi knows his way around domestic violence cases and has a successful track record in getting results for his clients. Call today to learn how Karimi Law can help you get your best results.