What Can I Do to Return Home After Domestic Violence Charges?

Returning home will require modification of the no-contact order.
Returning home will require modification of the no-contact order.

There are numerous conditions of release issued with domestic violence charges,   The first and most important is the no-contact order.

Of you are facing domestic violence charges, you will soon learn that you are to have no contact with the victim while the case is pending.  This is so-called  no-contact order is taken very seriously and violations can result in immediate arrest.  The violation can be charged as contempt of court or even result in additional charges.

Many defendants and alleged victims do not want the no-contact order and want to know if and how the defendant can return to the home.  It is important to understand the law and consequences.  A an experienced domestic violence attorney can help make sure the proper steps are taken to safely return home.

Motion to Modify Conditions of Release to Lift No-Contact Order

<strong>The short answer and the safest route to returning home is to file a motion to modify the conditions of release to lift the no-contact order but there is more to it. 

The short answer and the safest route to returning home is to file a motion to modify the conditions of release to lift the no-contact order.  Though many defendants will return home even in the face of the no-contact order, this can be risky with potentially severe consequences.

The purpose behind the no-contact order is obvious.  It is meant to protect victims of domestic abuse against further abuse.  It is also intended to prevent the intimidation (which may come in many forms) of alleged victims by the defendant to prevent the alleged victim from cooperating with the prosecutor on the case.

The no-contact order is issued in every domestic violence case from the most violent to the most inane.  Whether the case involves very serious acts violence or much less severe, sometimes even seemingly trivial conduct, a violation of the no-contact order is taken very seriously by the courts.

Consequences for Violations of No-Contact Orders from the Court

<strong>Violation of the no-contact order has serious consequences including jail pending trial, additional charges and complications in the resolution of your domestic violence charges.
In turn, the consequences for violating the order can be very serious.  In fact, in many cases such as the domestic violence property damage, the violation may come with more serious consequences than the actual charges.  Violations can also make resolving the charges quite difficult.

In short, violation of a no-contact order can carry jail time until the criminal process has concluded.  This can mean significant jail time particularly when a trial is necessary since it can take months to get a case to trial.

Consequences for Violations of No-Contact Orders on a Family 

Having said all that, the no-contact order can have devastating consequences for a family.  In fact, it is often the alleged victim who is asking this question of how to get the husband/wife/parent home.   The no-contact order will often require the defendant parent to get other housing at great expense basically doubling the housing costs to the family.  Beyond the financial strain, the no-contact order can hugely disrupt a family due to child care and other family management issues.

So the question of what to do to lift the order is an important one.  It is generally unwise to take matters into your own hands and simply move home.  Though it is one of those situations of “no harm, no foul,” the stakes can be pretty high.  From the more cynical point of view, the no-contact order can be used as a weapon against the defendant.  And it is not uncommon that a violation of the no-contact order is reported on the most trivial disagreements (think “I am not going to argue with you, I will call the police if I have to…”).

Steps to Drop a Domestic Violence No-Contact Order

<strong>Lifting the no-contact order is not necessarily a simple process.  The alleged victim will have to appear in court to let the judge know he or she is safe.
Because of the risks associated with violating the order, a defendant should file a motion to modify the conditions of release to lift the no-contact order.  The agreement and cooperation of the alleged victim is absolutely necessary.  The alleged victim will have to attend the hearing on the motion as will the defendant.  The judge and prosecutor are going to want to hear it directly from the alleged victim in open court that the victim feels safe and does not believe the defendant to be a threat to the alleged victim or other household members.

If the alleged victim is willing to make these statements to the judge, most but certainly not all judges will lift the no-contact order.  Additionally, there are circumstances where even the most lenient judge will refuse to lift the no-contact order.  In brief, the judge may refuse to lift the order if the circumstances and history of the household, the defendant, and the alleged victim suggest that lifting the order would be unwise.

Seek Legal Guidance

It is important to have the guidance of an experienced domestic violence attorney.  There are many possible miscues here with many possible consequences for your defense, your freedom and your family.

It is very important that you do not take actions on your own without first consulting with an attorney.  Again, the consequences can be quite severe.

Share your thoughts