No Contact Orders
A conviction for a No Contact Order violation in Washington State is a gross misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail and a $5000 fine. In Pierce County and King County courts, a No Contact Order is frequently issued by the court after an arrest for domestic violence.
If you are accused of a violation, it is very important that you invoke your right to remain silent and contact a lawyer who is experienced with No Contact Order violations and Domestic Violence.How Long is the No Contact Order in Place?
The order prohibiting contact is normally in place until the domestic violence case is resolved and is often times continued after there is a resolution in the case. However, your criminal defense attorney may be able to make special arrangements with the court to allow full, supervised, or third party contact with the alleged victim.
Even though the alleged victim has no say in the issuance of the order, their opinion and request can sometimes have weight when the court is considering a lifting of the order. Other factors, such as a lack of criminal history or a favorable evaluation by a domestic violence treatment agency, can influence the court’s decision to modify or remove the order prohibiting contact. However, you should consult an attorney before undergoing any evaluations.Causes of Violations
These orders are frequently violated through electronic communication, such as a phone call, text, or email. Each communication can be treated as a separate violation and criminal charge.
An alleged violation of the order will also occur if you are accused of coming within too many feet of a specified location or initiating physical contact. This can become very problematic if you live at the same location, have children together, or work together.What if the Alleged Victim Contacts Me?
Unfortunately, it does not matter who initiated or invited the contact. The alleged victim is not restricted from initiating contact with the defendant. If you reply to electronic communication or do not immediately leave their physical proximity, this is considered a “willful” violation of the order.
Sometimes, contact with the complaining witness is the result of an accident or honest mistake. In these situations, the police will often error on the side of caution and make an arrest when they shouldn’t. If the police question you for any reason, always exercise your right to remain silent and contact a criminal lawyer.Defending Violations of No Contact Orders
Violations of orders preventing contact can sometimes be difficult for prosecutors to prove. A lawyer who is experienced with No Contact Orders can examine the evidence and the circumstances surrounding the arrest. Often times, issues can be found that are crucial to your defense.
Cristine Beckwith is a Tacoma, WA based attorney who defends clients accused of violating No Contact Orders and Domestic Violence. Her independent investigations can often times uncover issues that lead to a case dismissal or significantly reduced charges. Cristine has a proven track record for defending clients in King, Pierce, and Thurston County courts that include Tacoma, Seattle, Puyallup, Federal Way, Olympia, and Lakewood, Washington.