The Use of No Contact Orders in Florida Domestic Violence Cases
The courts in Florida often issue a no contact order in a criminal matter that involves domestic violence, assault, battery, or any other crime where the court is concerned a victim may be threatened or at risk for continued violence.
What is a No Contact Order?
The no contact order is utilized before the accused has his or her trial. The premise is to keep the defendant from initiating any contact, direct or indirect, with the victim. If the accused tries to email, call, or even text the victim, it may be considered a violation. Even a hand gesture towards the victim could be deemed a violation. Social media posts or messages are also included in the no contact order. If you try to contact the victim through a third party, it’s also considered a violation.
The goal of a no contact order is to protect the accused from further allegations in addition to keeping the victim safe while the case is pending.
What Happens if Someone Violates the No Contact Order?
If the defendant violates the no contact order, they can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. Each attempt at contact could be a separate charge for violating the no contact order. If there are multiple violations, the accused could be facing several years in jail. In addition, a person who violates a no contact order may have their bail revoked and be remanded to jail until their trial.
A person who violates the no contact order with the intent of coercing the victim, or any other witnesses, into dropping the charges or lifting the order could be charged with witness tampering as well.
Can the No Contact Order be Revised or Lifted?
Because many cases involving no contact orders are between spouses, some of whom have children, they may want the order lifted. The court may opt to refuse this request depending on the circumstances of the case. In the event the charges are dropped, or the case resolved, the no contact order is usually lifted.
A criminal defense attorney might move to have the no contact order modified to be a “no violent contact” order, but it’s up to the judge to decide.
It’s imperative that the accused does not contact the victim until the court has confirmed the no contact order has been lifted. Sometimes couples are anxious to work out their differences and reconcile before the court has ruled. This could result in a violation even if the victim agreed to the contact.
Retaining a Florida Family Law Attorney
If you have been the victim of domestic abuse, it’s important you speak with a Florida family law attorney right away. If charges are pending against your spouse, significant other, or ex, you need to protect yourself by allowing the no contact order to stand until the case has been resolved. There may be instances where a court awards a more permanent restraining order against your abuser. If you have questions about no contact orders or need assistance, contact the Law Offices of Schwartz | White at 561-391-9943 to schedule a consultation.