In nearly all Assault cases, a No Contact Order will be put in place at your Arraignment. This can pose a serious challenge where the defendant and victim live together. Once you are Arraigned, you will not be allowed to return to a residence that you share with the victim or have any contact with the victim. If you have children together, this creates additional challenges. Regardless of what you feel is “critical” to communicate about, ANY communication will be considered a violation of your No Contact Order. Violations are charged as gross misdemeanors and each and every communication is charged as an individual charge, punishable by 364 days in jail.
What Is Considered A Communication?
Any form of communication that makes its way to the victim is a “contact.” If you text, call, write, or drive by the victim, you are clearly making “contact” with this person. However, if you happen to mention to a friend, “sure would be nice if she knew that I’m thinking of her” and your friend conveys this, that is also a contact. You may not relay messages through other people, including your lawyer. Do not try it. You will receive a new criminal charge and make it nearly impossible to negotiate an alternative resolution on your underlying Assault charge.
What If I Have Not Been Arraigned Yet?
If you haven’t been arraigned, the No Contact Order may not be in place. However, it is important to research whether a temporary or permanent Protection Order has been filed and in effect. It is also possible that, if you were arrested and bailed out, the jail may have initiated a temporary No Contact Order that would carry over to the date of your Arraignment. Violation of any of these Orders can also result in additional criminal charges. When in doubt, contact a lawyer immediately to determine what has been filed against you.
If you and the alleged victim live together and you have received a Summons for an Assault charge, there may be steps you can take that might reduce your chance of a No Contact Order being put in place at your Arraignment. It is very challenging and time is of the essence. You will need an experienced criminal defense attorney to advise you.