After an arrest for domestic violence in Washington State, a No Contact Order will normally be issued as a condition of release. A violation of the order is an additional criminal charge. In Seattle, Bellevue and other parts of Western Washington, orders preventing contact are extremely common, even if there are no accusations of assault.
Although the orders are meant to protect the alleged victim, they can cause a significant hardship for the accused and the accuser. These orders are issued without regard for whether you share housing or children with the alleged victim and can prevent you from entering your own home.
Duration & Removal of No Contact Order
By default, orders preventing contact are in place until the case is resolved and can be continued by the court after the case resolves. These orders can sometimes be dismissed or modified during hearings initiated by your attorney.
The alleged victim does not control whether or not the No Contact Order remains in place. However, it is important that they support the lifting of the order. A good lawyer can present a compelling case for why the order should be removed.
In cases where children are involved, orders preventing contact can sometimes be modified through the court process. Modifications can allow you to pick up or drop off your children with the alleged victim or a third party.
Violations of No Contact Orders
It is extremely easy to violate an order preventing contact. Each communication that violates the order can result in an additional criminal charge. For example, three text messages can result in three separate gross misdemeanor charges, even if the communication was initiated by the alleged victim.
There is no law that prevents the protected person from contacting the defendant. As soon as you see this person, you should immediately walk away. If the protected person reaches out to you with a phone call or message, responding to them breaks the No Contact Order and exposes you to criminal liability.
Attempts to communicate with or influence the protected person through a third party can also result in a No Contact Order charge. If there have been two prior convictions for breaking a No Contact Order or an assault occurred during the order violation, felony No Contact Order charges will be filed.
Defending Violations of No Contact Orders
It is important to be defended by an attorney who is experienced with both No Contact Order violations and domestic violence. Prosecutors are aggressive and oftentimes file charges that are too harsh, given the circumstances and the evidence.
At Beckwith DV Law, we can normally find weaknesses in the case against you and convince the prosecutor that the charges should be dismissed or significantly reduced. If the evidence against you is strong or if you admitted guilt to the police, hope is not lost and you should not plead guilty.
We fight No Contact Orders and violations of Orders in Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Everett, and other courtrooms throughout King, Snohomish, Pierce, and Kitsap County.
Call us any day of the week (including after-hours) for a free consultation.