Missteps in a Domestic Violence Case are Serious Especially With Regard to No Contact Orders

There are numerous ways to get yourself in trouble with no-contact orders. Missteps can land you in jail on the original charges and result in additional charges including felony domestic violence and stalking charges for repeat violations.

“No Contact” Means No Contact

No-contact orders are strictly construed by the courts in domestic violence situations. This means no contact at all whether in person, by phone, by email, by third party intermediaries, by pony express…. Any contact is a violation of the no-contact order.

Even Consensual Contact is a Violation

Those charged with domestic violence often believe that contact is ok so long as the alleged victim desires it or otherwise invites it. This is wrong. It is not unusual that such so-called consensual contact leads to a violation.

Examples abound. The most pernicious is when the alleged victim actively tries to entrap the defendant. This happens on occasion particularly in high conflict divorce and child custody situations.

There is also the possibility that there is inadvertent contact with law enforcement that results in discovery of the violation. This can happen in any number of ways.

A violation can also be detected when probation or pretrial services drops in to visit and finds the defendant present. Likewise, the violation can come up in the context of a probation meeting or court hearing.

Perhaps most common, the violation is detected when the victim advocate or prosecutor discovers it through interviews with the alleged victim. It is often the case that the alleged victim is also unaware that consensual contact is a violation.

Err on the Side of Caution and Request the No Contact Order be Lifted

The safest thing for the defendant is to have his or her attorney file a motion to modify conditions of release to lift the no contact order. However, this too comes with some risks.

To lift the order, the alleged victim must show up for court to let the court and the prosecutor know that he or she will be safe if the no contact order is lifted. This presents the problem of overzealous prosecutors who will pressure, cajole and frighten the alleged victim into testifying against the defendant even when the alleged victim does not want to testify and even where the whole thing began in error and never should have been filed.

An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Can Guide you Through this Minefield

The above-discussion only touches the surface. There are countless ways to get yourself in trouble with no contact orders. It is highly advisable that you seek the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The Albuquerque attorneys at Collins & Collins, P.C. can help. We can be reached at (505) 242-5958.

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