“No Contact” Means Zero Contact
The judge couldn’t couldn’t have been clearer. Violating an order of protection is forbidden:
“Stay away from Jane Doe wherever she may be. Stay away from her home, her school, her place of business. Don’t communicate with Ms. Doe. Don’t contact her by telephone, text, email, carrier pigeon, smoke signal, ESP, through third parties, or by any other means.”
I was standing right next to you. I heard you tell the judge you understood the no-contact restraining order.
Even though you didn’t seem confused, I explained it to you again, in the hallway outside the courtroom: you can’t have any contact with Jane – none, zero, zilch.
It’s the Law, Not a Suggestion
You’re tempted to treat the order of protection (“restraining order”) as a suggestion, rather than a command that has the force of law behind it – even though the Court also gave you this command orally and in writing.
I referred you to a guide to orders of protection. I wrote it to make sure you understood how orders of protection work.
When the judge orders you to obey an order of protection, that’s the law – a law the judge has written just for you. It’s not a suggestion.
When you violate the order, you break the law: you could go to jail.
It’s Her Order, Right? Wrong.
The order is for Jane’s benefit, after all. She must have authority to permit you to violate it. Seems to make sense, right?
The order of protection is an order of the Court. It’s not an order of Jane.
Until no order exists, Jane has no authority to permit you to have contact with her.
Setting You Up for a Bigger Fall
Jane’s doing everything she can to persuade you she’s on your side.
She’s also urging you to violate the order of protection:
- Jane waited for you on the sidewalk outside the courthouse when the judge released you.
- She’s texting 24/7: “Baby, I luv u! I miss u! Come home! No one will ever know …”
- Jane told your mom that she only called the police because she wanted them to calm things down. She’s horrified that they arrested you. She pleaded with them not to. She’ll never cooperate with the DA – not in a million years.
So tempting to get back together.
How could the Court even know you’re violating the order of protection? There are so many ways.
Ten Ways to Get Caught
Never violate a court order!
If you won’t heed this advice out of respect for the law, follow it because the DA has so many opportunities to prove you violated the order.
If you’re caught violating an order of protection, you’ll be arrested all over again. You’ll be charged with “criminal contempt”. If convicted, you could go to jail for up to a year. Longer, if you’re convicted of a felony.
Here are 10 ways to get caught violating a no-contact order of protection:
One: Answering the Door
You answer the door when “domestic violence officers” from the local precinct make a follow-up visit to the home where Jane and you lived when police arrested you.
Because the no-contact order specifically directs you to stay away from Jane’s home, you’re violating the order even though Jane’s home was also your home.
You’re violating the order even if your name is on the lease and Jane’s isn’t!
You’re violating the order even if Jane lives there rent-free while you remain financially responsible under the lease.
Jane is seated in the front passenger seat when police pull you over for a traffic infraction.
The order of protection and Jane’s name both pop up when the officer runs your driver’s license.
You’re seated in the front passenger seat when police pull Jane over for a traffic infraction.
The restraining order pops up when the officer runs Jane’s driver’s license. So does your name and your physical description.
Four: On a Plane
Running your name through a database as you re-enter the US, a Customs inspector observes a reference to the order of protection against you.
The inspector determines that you are traveling with Jane because: a) you and Jane are walking together, side by side; b) you and/or Jane admit that you’re traveling together; and c) the flight manifest lists you and Jane occupying adjacent seats on the same flight.
Don’t Violate an Order of Protection
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Five: Conceiving a Child
You and Jane are the parents named on the birth certificate of your child, who only could have been conceived while the order of protection was in effect.
The birth certificate and a DNA test will prove you violated the order.
Six: Security Cameras
Security cameras at the entrance to Jane’s apartment building record you entering and exiting Jane’s building on numerous occasions while the order was in effect.
Seven: Inmate Phone Calls
Rikers Island records all inmate telephone calls, including your calls to Jane. The DA reviews these recordings in domestic violence cases.
On one recording, the DA hears you speaking with Jane in violation of the order – telling Jane that the judge will dismiss your case if she doesn’t come to court.
The DA hears every other recordings of you speaking with Jane. Each conversation is a separate violation of the order of protection.
Eight: Family Members
Jane’s sister Beth knows about the order. She calls the police to tell them that you’re at Beth’s house right now, violating it.
Beth does this because she’s mad at Jane, she hates you, or both.
Nine: Your Next Argument with Jane
You and Jane have a disagreement.
Jane wins the argument by calling 911: Jane reports she has a restraining order against you, and you’re at her house right now, violating the order.
Jane suspects you’ve been cheating on her.
Jane retaliates by showing police all the texts and emails you’ve been sending her since the judge issued the order of protection.
When police arrest you, you show them the texts and emails on your phone, to prove that Jane initiated communication with you – she begged you to get back together.
Unfortunately, your responses to Jane’s texts is additional proof you violated the order.
Tip of the Iceberg
These are typical ways a person might get caught violating an order of protection – not the only ways. There are many, many more.
No plan to violate an order of protection is foolproof, which is a good reason not to violate.
Or email Bruce a brief description of your situation: