Lifting a Domestic Violence No Contact Order Not that Easy

In every criminal court case involving charges of domestic violence, a no-contact order will be issued prohibiting conduct between the defendant and the alleged victim. This is for the protection of the victim However, there are many cases where the victim neither wants nor needs that protection. In many such cases, the no-contact order can cause significant strain on the victim and/or the family.

Lifting the order to allow contact would seem to be simple thing, i.e. just tell the prosecutor or judge you do not want it. Seems simple enough except for the balls set in motion after.

Makes No Difference What the Alleged Victim Wants in Terms of Dropping the Charges

First the alleged victim must show up in court. In court, the alleged victim will be met with many pressures from the prosecutor’s office and the “victims advocate” office. It seems that no matter what the alleged victim says, i.e. it was a misunderstanding, I did not call the police, nothing happened,…, neither the prosecutor nor the victim advocate will let it go. In fact, even if the alleged victim submits the request to drop the charges in writing, it makes no difference. Once the case is filed, it is moving forward plain and simple.

Threats of Contempt of Court for Non-Compliance with Subpoena

Instead, the alleged victim who often at this point is well-established not to be a victim at all will not just be met with encouragement to proceed, he or she will often be threatened with subpoenas and contempt of court for not cooperating through the prosecutorial process.

This of course puts enormous stress on the alleged victim who just wants life back to normal. While the defendant is out of the home, the alleged victim is typically the only care provider for the children which puts a huge strain on the both the alleged victim and the children. Worse and sometimes financially devastating to the entire family, the defendant must find a new place to live for what can be numerous months, typically at least 6 months. During that time the family has doubled its financial obligations for living expense.

Subpoenas are Enforceable and Violation Can Result in Contempt

Subpoenas issued by a court are fully enforceable through contempt of court processes. It is very important that the alleged victim understand this.

More than that, the alleged victim needs to understand how to assert his or her own rights under threats from the prosecution. Prosecutors can be reigned in and they often are in these situations but there is right way to do it and a wrong way. The alleged victim should be very cautious how they proceed.

The Alleged Victim Might Need Independent Legal Counsel to Lift the Order

As strange and unfair as it may seem, it is often in the alleged victim’s interest to get his or her own attorney. An experienced domestic violence attorney can insure that he or she is treated fairly and legally, including lifting the no-contact order and/or getting the charges dismissed completely.

It is a shame that this is necessary, but in light of the fact that contempt can result in jail time it is best to proceed with caution. The attorney will truly be the victim advocate in these cases where the State’s “victim advocate” anything but an advocate for the rights and welfare of the alleged victim.

Collins & Collins, P.C. can be reached for Albuquerque and Rio Rancho area cases at (505) 242-5958.

Related Reading:

What if my Wife Wants to Drop the Domestic Violence Charges?
What Can I Do to Return Home After Domestic Violence Charges?
If I Received a Subpoena, Do I Have to Go to Court Even if I Don’t Want to Pursue Domestic Violence Charges?
What are the Standard Conditions of Release in a Domestic Violence Case and Can They be Changed?
If I Give a Written Statement, Will the DA Drop the Domestic Violence Charges Against My Husband/Wife…?

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