Have you been arrested and charged with violation of a no contact order in Rhode Island? Facing a no contact order charge in Rhode Island can be frightening but you do not have to go it alone. The team of Rhode Island criminal defense lawyers at the Marin, Barrett, and Murphy Law Firm can put their nearly 50 years of criminal defense experience to work helping you fight your case. No contact order violation charges should not be taken lightly. In RI you face the prospect of up to 1 year in prison and for a first offense and for a third or greater offense the case can be charged as a felony and carry a mandatory minimum one year in prison. Serious charges require a serious defense. Call us today at 401-228-8271.
Rhode Island No Contact Order Violation Lawyers
Marin, Barrett, and Murphy Law Firm
Call Now to get your Best Defense! 401-228-8271
No Contact Orders are issued automatically at the beginning of every domestic violence case, including cases such as domestic assault and battery, domestic disorderly conduct, domestic vandalism, domestic stalking, and domestic sexual assault. Once a no contact order has been issued by the Court or the Police Department, as a criminal defendant you are in a very serious situation. If you are caught making contact or attempting to make contact with the complaining witness, you will be arrested. You will be charged with a new substantive misdemeanor crime of Violation of a No Contact Order and your bail will be revoked on the original charge. When your bail is revoked pursuant to Rule 46G of the Rhode Island Rules of Criminal Procedure, YOU WILL SPEND AT LEAST TWO WEEKS IN PRISON before you will get the opportunity to explain your actions.
If you are being investigated by the police for a potential violation of a no contact order, it is vital that you contact a skilled Rhode Island No Contact Order Defense Lawyer to speak on your behalf. I understand that you have your own side of the story, and I can help you tell your story to the proper authorities without you risking further incriminating yourself. Do not try to explain your side of the story without speaking with an experienced lawyer first. Anything you say WILL be held against you in court and you WILL spend two weeks in prison before you even get an opportunity to explain yourself. If you are under investigation or have been charged with violating a no contact order you need to contact the experienced Rhode Island Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Matthew Marin immediately so that a proper defense can be prepared and a strategy can be built to avoid spending even one minute in prison. Some defenses that the Defense Attorneys at Marin, Barrett, and Murphy Law Firm will immediately begin investigating include:
• Proper service of process and notice regarding the No Contact Order;
• Expiration of the No Contact Order;
• Initiation of the Contact by the Complaining Witness;
• Lack of Proof / Lying on the Part of the Complaining Witness;
• History of Lying on the Part of the Complaining Witness.
The consequences of a conviction for Violating a No Contact Order vary depending on the facts of each and every case, the history and background of the defendant and victim, and the circumstances leading to the implementation of the no contact order. However, the act of violating a no contact order is a misdemeanor offense in Rhode Island carrying a maximum of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. In addition, the violation of a Domestic No Contact Order carries with it the Domestic Violence Prevention Act Penalties including MANDATORY attendance at a 12 week batterers intervention class. Given the severe penalties and the real risk that you could spend time in prison, even with a clean criminal record, require that you hire a serious and skilled Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer.
What is a Violation of a No Contact Order Charge in Rhode Island?
Violations of a No Contact or prohibited by Rhode Island General Law 12-19-4 as part of the Domestic Violence Prevention Act. Section (a) (3) of this law criminalizes willful violations of No Contact Orders and subjects the violator to criminal arrest. Under 12-29-2, violations of Restraining Orders issued out of the Rhode Island Family Court are also subject to the penalties of 12-29-4(a)(3). Violations of these orders are legally treated the same way as a domestic assault and battery and are taken very seriously.
Is a No Contact Order the same as a Protective Order or a Restraining Order?
They are different in that they are put in place in different ways: No Contact Orders are issued out of either the District or Superior Court, while Restraining Orders are issued out of the Family Court. For the purposes of criminal law, the orders have the same effect: each protect one party from contact or harassment by the other, and willful violations of each subject the violator to arrest and criminal prosecution.
When is a No Contact Order or Protective Order issued?
Domestic No Contact Orders are issued in two instances pursuant to The Domestic Violence Prevention Act. First, whenever an individual is arrested and charged with a domestic violence offense, a No Contact Order is issued by a Justice of the Peace or Judge while the case is pending and the defendant is on bail. No Contact Orders may also issue after a defendant has been convicted of a domestic violence offense either after a trial or the entry of a guilty or nolo contendere plea. Protective Orders are a little different in that they are issued by a Judge of the Family Court after a petition by the protected party. Protective Orders are not associated with a criminal case, but violations of either Order can subject an individual to criminal prosecution.
What are the penalties a Violation of a No Contact Order Charge in Rhode Island?
Under Rhode Island Law 12-29-5, a first offense conviction is punishable as a misdemeanor and carries up to one year in prison. In addition, the defendant will be required to enroll in and complete a batterers intervention program. In addition, a new No Contact Order will be put in place. The defendant will also have to forfeit any firearms that he or she owns. If the defendant has a previous domestic violence conviction then the violation is charged as a second offense, which carries the same penalties, but also requires the defendant to serve a mandatory minimum ten years in prison. For individuals with two or more previous domestic violence convictions, violations are charged as a felony and require a mandatory minimum one year to serve in prison, and up to ten years.
Is Violating a No Contact Order a felony or a misdemeanor?
It depends on the individual's criminal history. If he or she only has one or fewer previous domestic violence convictions then a Violating a No Contact Order is charged as a misdemeanor. However if there are two or more previous convictions for domestic violence than the violation is charged as a felony. The previous convictions need not be for a violation of a no contact order, but rather include any crime of domestic violence listed in Rhode Island General Law 12-29-2. These previous domestic convictions can include simple assault, trespass, vandalism, stalking, and cyberstalking, to name a few.
Can Rhode Island No Contact Orders be dropped or modified?
Potentially, although it is entirely up to the judge. Oftentimes there is a misunderstanding that, if the victim doesn't want it, he or she can have it dropped, which is simply not the case. If the protected party wants a No Contact Order vacated, dropped, or modified, he or she needs to file a motion with the Court seeking a Judge's order. That does not mean that it cannot happen, the Judge will listen to the facts and circumstances of each individual case and request and rule accordingly.
Can a felony Violation of a No Contact Order be reduced to a misdemeanor?
In many instances, yes. Felony Violations of No Contact Orders carry a mandatory year in prison, and oftentimes the State and the Court may be persuaded that a defendant's conduct in a particular case is not worth such a significant punishment. That said, the Court and the State take domestic violence offenses very seriously and are not simply in the business of “giving cases away.” This is where having a skilled and knowledgeable attorney by your side can make a huge difference. If you or a loved one is charged with violating a No Contact or Protective Order, call us today and put us to work fighting for you.
Is violating a No Contact Order a domestic violence offense?
Yes. Violations of No Contact Order or Protective Order are considered domestic violence offenses and are covered under The Domestic Violence Protection Act. As such, these violations are categorized the same way as a trespass, vandalism, or even an assault and battery. This is true notwithstanding the fact that there may be no physical contact or “violence” of any kind.
What if the contact was mutual or if the protected party contacts me?
Unfortunately, the law makes no distinction between mutual contact that the protected party wants and the type of harassing or dangerous contact that the law is meant to protect. The Orders protect all contact unless and until a Judge says otherwise, and any violation is considered to be against the law. This may be true even if the protected party is the one who initiates the contact. No Contact and Protective Orders work unilaterally, which means that while the subject of the protected party may not have contact, the protected party is not legally prohibited from making contact themselves. That said, while mutual contact or response contact may be illegal, it can certainly assist a seasoned attorney in helping to come up with a quality defense.
The protected party is contacting me – is that a violation of a No Contact Order?
Not for them. As discussed, unless there is an order in place protecting you, the protected party is not legally prohibited from attempting contact. That said, it only becomes a criminal violation if the individual responds by having contact.
What are examples of violating a no contact order?
There are many example of violating a No Contact Order or Protective Order, some of which are clearer than others. An obvious example is physical contact. This can include being in the same residence together, being in a car together, going out together, showing up at their work, etc. Some other common examples include telephone, internet, social media, or text contact. Even though it is not physical in nature, a subject of a No Contact Order is prohibited from reaching out to the protected party in any manner. Third party contact is also a common example of a violation; this occurs when contact is made intentionally through someone else. For instance, having a friend or family member make contact on your behalf can be a violation even though there is no direct contact between the two parties. While there are virtually endless examples of illegal contact, it must be willful, so if there is incidental contact it may not be a violation.
Are there defenses to violating a no contact order?
In many instances there are valid defenses or information to mitigate the severity of a charge. For instance, oftentimes a No Contact Order has previously been modified, dropped, or outright expired. If that is the case it is possible that an individual was charged erroneously. In instances of indirect contact (text, phone, social media, etc.) the State may have problems actually proving that the defendant is the one who actually made the contact. This is also potentially true in cases that allege third party contact. But like most areas of the law, every case is unique and the facts and circumstances of each will require a different defense or combination of defenses.
Should I hire a Rhode Island Defense Lawyer for violation of a no contact order charges?
It is probably clear to you by now that criminal violations of No Contact Orders or Protective Orders are significant cases that the State takes very seriously. With the possibility of classes, mandatory jail time, a conviction for domestic violence on your record – even a felony – it is crucial to have an attorney by your side who is able and willing to fight your case to the fullest extent. If you or someone you know has been charged with violating a No Contact Order or Protective Order, call us today and let us get to work fighting your case right away. Contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Marin, Barrett, and Murphy Law Firm today at 401-228-8271.