Ashbach Law Offices, LLC is a leader in Domestic Violence and No Contact Order defense in Western Washington. We regularly practice throughout Island, King, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom County, although we will travel to other areas when clients in trouble need us. We are referred to by prosecutors and judges alike for friends who need aggressive, strong representation, and are often referred cases by other lawyers for truly difficult circumstances. If find yourself in need of legal defense, please contact our office at 360.474.7872 (call or text) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is a No Contact Order for cases involving allegations of Domestic Violence?
A No Contact Order is a court order restraining one person from contacting another person (or many people). In the realm of domestic violence accusations, a No Contact Order prohibits the restrained person from having any contact with the protected party, who is usually the alleged victim. This usually means no telephone contact, email, texting, in-person contact, third party contact, or contact with protected party’s residence, workplace or school.
How long do No Contact Orders Last in Domestic Violence allegation cases?
Courts will typically impose No Contact Orders at the beginning of a criminal case, and these orders can last until the case is over (which can be many months) or can be permanent in the case of some convictions. Sometimes it is possible to get a No Contact Order lifted earlier in the case, and that procedure depends on each court. The ideal situation is to avoid a No Contact Order being imposed in the first place, which is why it is important to move fast in selecting a lawyer who can help prevent an order from being entered. In many situations, when our office is hired in advance of the first court hearing, we are able to prepare and argue against a no-contact order, and are able to succeed with that argument.
What Does a No Contact Order Mean?
Generally, it means that the person restrained cannot have any contact whatsoever with the protected party. For people who are in a relationship, this can have disastrous consequences, as no contact means no telephone calls, emails, texting, in-person visits. For people who live together, this can totally disrupt living situations as one person is forced to move out. If you have children with the protected party, you may have difficulty seeing the children. Even if you are able to see your children, the ramifications of not being able to live at home can be very difficult on the family.
What if the alleged victim doesn’t want the order in place?
In theory, the court and prosecutor are supposed to take the alleged victim’s wishes into account when making the decision to impose a No Contact Order. In reality, the court and prosecutor take a paternalistic view and impose a No Contact Order in the vast majority of cases, regardless of the history and seriousness ofthe allegations. However, in many instances we have been able to successfully argue against a No Contact Order on behalf of our clients when the alleged victim is present and on board. For that reason, it is advisable to contact an attorney as early as possible to start working towards a great defense and a great argument against entry of an order.
Note: Even if the alleged victim/protected party does not want the order in place, you must abide by it. So called “invited contact” does not make prohibited contact legal, and state supreme court cases have routinely held this to be the case. If the protected party texts you, you cannot text back unless that is explicitly allowed by the order (in most cases, it is not). In fact, we had one case where the protected party repeatedly texted out client for a month, until he finally texted back that he could not talk to her. The protected party then took that text to the police, and our client was placed in jail with a new charge. That case was eventually dismissed, but it was expensive and not pleasant for the client. Please be very obedient regarding the orders.
What are the consequences of violating a No Contact Order?
Violation of a No Contact Order may be charged as either a gross misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. Additionally, if you are caught violating the order, your bail or your personal recognizance release will likely be revoked, and you will be put back into jail. While we have had good success getting No Contact Order violations dismissed or beaten at trial, generally these allegations are more difficult to fight than an underlying assault accusation.
Other types of Orders
There are many types of No Contact Orders (Harassment Protection Order, Domestic Violence No Contact Order, Sexual Assault Protection Order, Vulnerable Adult Protection Order, Pre-trial No Contact Orders, and Post-Conviction No Contact Orders), but they all share an underlying characteristic. In many instances, a person (“petitioner”) asks the court for a protection order, a temporary order is granted, and a hearing is scheduled to determine if the order will be permanent. These are generally referred to as “civil” no contact orders.
Ashbach Law Offices, LLC, aggressively represents clients charged with No Contact Order offenses throughout the Washington I-5 corridor, covering Skagit, Snohomish, King and Whatcom Counties. Regular courts of practice include, but are not limited to, Anacortes, Arlington, Bellevue, Bellingham, Blaine, Burlington, Edmonds, Everett, Issaquah, Lynnwood, Marysville, Monroe, Mount Vernon, Mountlake Terrance, Redmond, Seattle, Sedro Woolley and Shoreline.