I always get the call from clients regarding violations of protective orders and no-contact orders and asking for my advice on how to handle them. Clients tend to use the terms "protective orders" and "no-contact orders" interchangeably. I ask them whether it is a no-contact order or protective order, and I usually get the response why does that matter? First off there is a difference; a no-contact order is criminal and and protective order is civil. You are probably thinking to yourself why does that matter. It matters because of the burdens on the other party to prove you violated the order. For criminal matters, to prove you violated a no-contact order the court must find beyond a reasonable doubt that you violated to the no-contact order. For civil matters, the court must find that more likely than not you violated the protective order. As you can imagine, it is harder to prove violation of a no-contact order than a protective order because of the burdens.
In order to have a no-contact order put in place, there usually has to be charges brought against one of the parties in the case. In other words an assault, domestic assault, harassment, or other charge needs to be brought by the State against a defendant. In order to have a protective order put in place, a party needs to go to the courthouse and file an application to have a protective order put in place against a certain person. Generally, the party asking for there to be a protective order will tell the court that they are being abused in some manner. The court will then place a temporary protective order in place and within 15 days a hearing will be held to determine whether a permanent protective order will go into effect. The permanent protective order lasts one year while the no-contact order generally lasts five years. There is, of course, the possibility of extensions for each of these but application needs to be made to the court. There are also possibilities to have them either cancelled or modified after they have went into effect.
If you are found in violation of either a protective order or no-contact order, you are facing a minimum of 7 days in jail, with a maximum of 180 days in jail for each violation. The Courts take violations of these types of orders very seriously. Since you are facing jail time in a matter like these, it is best to seek legal advice in the matter.
If you have any questions regarding no-contact orders or protective orders, feel free to contact the Feld Law Firm at 515-802-7676. A defense attorney would be happy to point you in the right direction. The Feld Law Firm is located at 1200 Valley West Drive, Ste. 208 in West Des Moines, Iowa.