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No-Contact Restraining Orders

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What Is a Restraining Order?

A restraining order is a type of court order that instructs an individual to abide by certain conditions. It may also direct the individual to refrain from doing certain acts. A restraining order is issued by a judge and is therefore enforceable according to various state laws. Violations of court-issued restraining orders can lead to legal consequences for the violator.

Most restraining orders, or “protection orders”, are issued in relation to incidences of domestic abuse, domestic violence, stalking, harassment, or neighborly disputes. Parents and guardians may often request for a restraining order on behalf of a child or minor.  Restraining orders can come in a variety of forms, such as permanent orders or temporary restraining orders.

What Is a “No-Contact” Restraining Order?

One of the most common requirements of a restraining order is that the individual must not make any contact with another named individual, usually the victim of the domestic violence, stalking, or harassment. In effect, the person being restrained by the order is not allowed to make any physical contact or verbal communication with the victim. Such requirements are known as “no-contact” provisions. 

Some common requirements in connection with no-contact orders may include:

  • Not allowing any physical contact between the person and the victim
  • Not allowing the person to come within a certain distance of the victim (such as 10 feet or 100 yards)
  • Not allowing the offender to communicate with the victim via phone, e-mail, postal mail, text, online chat, or other types of communication
  • Not allowing the offender to enter the victim’s family home or residence
  • Not allowing the offender to possess or purchase a firearm
  • Prohibiting the offender from selling marital property
  • Requiring the children of the offender to be removed from the jurisdiction

Thus, the no-contact provisions provide the victim with a “space” wherein they can be free from contact with the offender. No-contact requirements are especially common if the incident involved some form of violence or sexual aggression. 

Do No-Contact Restraining Orders Contain Any Other Requirements?

Yes- some no-contact restraining orders may contain a variety of other requirements that compel the offender to take certain actions. These may vary according to the nature of the offense as well as the relationship between the parties involved. 

Some other requirements contained in a no-contact order can include:

  • Requiring the offender to take financial actions, such as making loan payments, paying bills, or returning personal belongings to the victim.
  • Requiring the offender to attend mandatory counseling programs
  • Denying the offender of control over jointly-owned property, such as bank accounts, vehicles, or major household appliances

A judge often has much discretion to tailor the restraining order according to the unique needs of the victim. Therefore the judge may order any directives that are reasonable and which they feel are necessary for the victim’s protection. No-contact orders can also be modified or altered over time in response to the offender’s behavior.

What Are the Consequences of Violating a Restraining Order?

No-contact orders are enforced very strictly in order to protect the victim from further harm by the offender. Violations of a court-issued no-contact order can result in the following consequences:

  • Criminal penalties for the person in violation, such as fines, loss of civil rights, and possible jail or prison time
  • Enforcement of a stricter restraining order
  • Placing the violator in contempt of court, which may also carry various criminal or civil penalties

Thus, violating a restraining order is punishable according to the rules of the parties’ jurisdiction.  A person who is further victimized by restraining order violations should report the violations to the proper authorities or to their lawyer.

Do I need a Lawyer for issues with a No-Contact Restraining Order?

No-contact restraining orders can be very useful for providing victims with protections under the law. If you are facing legal issues with regards to a restraining order, you may wish to consult with a lawyer. Whether you are the party seeking legal protection, or are the party being subject to the order, an attorney can assist you according to the laws of your area. No-contact restraining orders can be obtained for a variety of legal issues. 

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 11-29-2017 12:07 AM PST

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