No Contact Order
After an arrest for domestic violence, the person accused of the crime will be held in jail without the ability to post bond until the first appearance in front of the judge. The first appearance hearing usually occurs within 24 hours of the arrest. If the person was booked into the jail after midnight, then they will have to wait an extra 24 hours before seeing the judge.
In Tampa, FL, the first appearance hearing occur at 9 a.m. in courtroom 17 at the courthouse (enter the main courthouse at 800 East Twiggs Street, Tampa, FL).
At first appearance, the judge will provide the defendant with a “Standard No Contact Order.” The judge will tell the defendant that he or she can have “no contact” with the alleged victim in the case.
The “no contact” provision effective puts the defendant in a “time out.” During that time, the parties can focus on themselves and the best ways to improve their situation. The goal in these cases is to prevent any further allegations. The “no contact” order also protects the defendant by making sure nothing else happens while the case is pending.
In many of these cases, the person accused of the crime is married to the alleged victim. The parties might have children together. Both parties often want the “no contact” provision lifted. Unfortunately, the court might refuse to prove any relief. Of course, once the charges are dropped or resolved, that pre-trial “no contact” provision is eliminated.
Remember to NEVER talk with the alleged victim or other witnesses about the case about “dropping the charges” or “lifting the no contact order.” The authorities might consider those conversations to be a form of witness tampering which is a serious criminal offense.
An experienced criminal defense attorney is in the best position to help you through the process so that the “no contact” provision can be lifted quickly when appropriate. Most importantly, a criminal defense attorney can help you fight for an outright dismissal of the charges. Be careful not to violate the “no contact” provision in any way while it is in effect.
Any violation could result in you being held with “no bond” until the case is resolved. If you contact the alleged victim, either directly or indirectly, you might be charged with a violation of the pretrial release conditions which is a separate criminal offense that comes with additional punishments.
Modifying the “No Contact” Order in Tampa, FL
An experienced criminal defense attorney in Tampa, FL, can file a “Motion to Modify Conditions of Release and Lift the No Contact Order.” The goal is getting the court to modify the “no contact” provision to “no violent” contact.
Then the attorney can begin working on getting the criminal charges dropped by the prosecutor or dismissed by the court in advance of trial. In other cases, the attorney is preparing for trial.
If you are charged with domestic violence then be especially careful not to violate the letter or spirit of the “no contact” provision. No contact means no contact of any kind, even through a third party. Any violation can mean that you will be held no bond during the remainder of the case.
If you are charged with the serious offense of domestic violence, then contact an experienced attorney for domestic violence battery cases in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL. From our second office in New Port Richey, FL, we represent men and women accused of domestic violence in Pasco County, FL.
Call (813) 250-0500.
Questions Asked before the “No Contact” Order is Lifted
Over the past 18 months, the courts in Florida have become more hesitant to make modifications to the “no contact” order while the case is pending. In fact, the courts often read questions from a script while questioning the alleged victim about the facts of the case.
Those questions often include:
- What is your name?
- How do you know the Defendant (the person accused of domestic violence)
- How long have you known the Defendant?
- Are you married?
- If not, how are you related? (By blood, by marriage, boyfriend, girlfriend, former live-in lovers, have children together, dating, parent, child, sibling, etc?)
- If you have children together, what are their names and ages?
- Did any child witness the incident of alleged violence?
- Are you the custodian of the children?
- Does anyone else have custody of the children?
- Is the Child Protective Investigations (CPI) Division of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office involved?
- Is a child safety plan in place?
- Was CPI involved before these allegations?
- What are the terms of the “child safety plan”?
- Did you file for an injunction or protective order against domestic violence?
- Were you told to file for an injunction or protective order against domestic violence by any Child Protective Investigator?
- Are you receiving any counseling or other services put in place by CPI?
- Did you call the police or know who did?
- Did you speak to the police?
- What did you tell the police?
- Did you tell the police – 1. [first statement in the police report attributed to the alleged victim]].
- Did you tell the police – 2. [second statement in the police report attributed to the alleged victim, etc…]]
- Did you tell the police the truth?
- Are there any prior incidents of domestic violence between you and the defendant?
- Does the defendant have any prior record?
- Are you scared of the defendant?
In many cases, the alleged victim is asked all of these questions before he or she even has a chance to read the police report or know what statements are attributed to the alleged victim. In some cases, the alleged victim should invoke their right to remain silent if they can not truthfully answer any question without tending to incriminate themselves.
For this reason, it might be better to just leave the “no contact” provision in place while the criminal defense attorney finds the best way to fight the charges or get the charges dismissed.
An attorney can help you determine the pros and cons of filing a motion to modify the “no contact” provision and the best way to handle the motion when it is filed.
What is the No Contact Order in a Domestic Violence Case?
On September 29, 2015, Chief Judge Ronald N. Ficarrotta signed Administrative Order S-2015-053 on the Standard No-Contact Order. The new administrative order is intended to comply with recent amendments to section 903.047 related to the conditions of pretrial release.
If the case has a “victim,” the automatic and standard “no contact” provision will be imposed. The prohibition is absolute until modified by the court. Individuals who cannot afford a private attorney to file the “motion to modify” will be at a particular disadvantage.
The order handed out to the accused person does not even discuss the procedure to seek a “motion to modify” the no contact provision as set out in 903.047(2).
903.047 Conditions of pretrial release. –
(2) Upon motion by the defendant when bail is set, or upon later motion properly noticed pursuant to law, the court may modify the condition required by paragraph (1)(b) if good cause is shown and the interests of justice so require. The victim shall be permitted to be heard at any proceeding in which such modification is considered, and the state attorney shall notify the victim of the provisions of this subsection and of the pendency of any such proceeding.
Under the other provisions of 903.047, the court must impose a Standard No Contact Order in all criminal cases involving a victim. The Standard No Contact Order provides defendants with written notice of the meaning of “no contact” and has immediate effect and enforceability.
Under the new administrative order in Hillsborough County, all defendants who are arrested for a criminal offense involving a victim and who are released from custody on pretrial release are hereby subject to the Standard No Contact Order.
In accordance with section 903.047(1)(b), Florida Statutes, each defendant identified in section 1 of this administrative order must receive a copy of the Standard No Contact Order before the defendant is released from custody on pretrial release. Additionally, the terms of the no contact order do not prohibit an attorney for the defendant, consistent with the rules regulating The Florida Bar, from communicating with any person protected by the no contact order for lawful purpose.
This Standard No Contact Order in no way prevents the Court from imposing additional conditions of release on a case-by-case basis.
IN THE THIRTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
As a condition of your pretrial release, this no contact order has been issued in your case. You are prohibited from any contact of any type with the victim, except through pretrial discovery rules.
This order of no contact is effective immediately and enforceable for the duration of your pretrial release or until this order is modified by the court.
The term “no contact” includes the following prohibited acts:
- Communicating orally or in any written form, either in person, telephonically, electronically, or in any other manner, either directly or indirectly through a third person, with the victim or any other person named in the order.
- Having physical or violent contact with the victim or other named person or his or her property.
- Being within 500 feet of the victim’s or other named person’s residence, even if the defendant and the victim or other named person share the residence.
- Being within 500 feet of the victim’s or other named person’s vehicle, place of employment, or a specified place frequented regularly by such person.
If the victim and the defendant have children in common, at the request of the defendant, the court may designate an appropriate third person to contact the victim for the sole purpose of facilitating the defendant’s contact with the children.
Finding an Attorney to Modify Bond Conditions in Tampa, FL
If you are charged with domestic violence, either battery or assault, and need an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you, then contact our office. We are experienced in representing both men and women in domestic violence cases in Tampa and throughout Hillsborough County, FL.
We also represent clients in the surrounding counties including Hernando County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, and Polk County, FL.
Call (813) 250-0500 to discuss your case today.
This article was last updated on Wednesday, August 20, 2019.