In Iowa, we have both protective orders (civil) and the no-contact orders (criminal). Protective Orders are generally entered after a plaintiff-spouse has requested the court to enter a protective order due to an assault that occurred between the defendant-spouse. Protective Orders are much harder to remove or cancel after they are put in place, even if the Plaintiff-spouse wants the Protective Order canceled. In other words, once you get the court involved things become more complicated. The same goes for the application to initiate contempt in the protective order matters. You can request the county attorney to help, but remember the control of the case is out of your hands at that point and in the hands of the judge and county attorney. I know, it doesn’t sound fair but that is how it is. When dealing with a protective order, it is generally better to hire a private attorney so that you can have a little more say in your matter. . .then the county attorney stays out of the matter.
In regard to no-contact orders, the law states that a no-contact order shall be entered if the defendant was taken into custody and they were charged with domestic assault, harassment, sex crime, stalking or any other public offense for which there is a victim. Additionally for there to be a no-contact order entered, the law states there must be a victim and that the defendant poses a threat to the alleged victim or members of the victim’s family. With that said, in my experience, the judge almost always just enters a no-contact order.
The ramifications of having a no-contact order against you include your inability to go back to your home (assuming you live with your spouse); your inability to see and spend time with your children; your inability to possess guns; your inability to access any personal items at your home; and most importantly is some circumstance, your inability to speak with your wife/husband about your finances and ordinary day-to-day activities. I have seen these ramifications ruin families and end up in divorce. In most of these situations where a no-contact order was entered, the alleged incident that occurred was rather minor. Unfortunately, the no-contact order implementation can, and sometimes will, make your life miserable and tough at times. I’ve handled countless no-contact order and protective order matters over the years and have never personally had an incident where I moved to cancel or modify the no-contact order/protective order and the defendant went back home with the alleged victim and seriously injured or killed him/her. I have heard of this happening but it is rare in practice. With that said, courts are hesitant to cancel no-contact orders because of these rare situations.
If you are an alleged victim or defendant, the fastest way to get the no-contact order modified/canceled is usually to contact a defense attorney. Although with a defense attorney, it generally takes about thirty (30) days before there is an actual hearing on the matter, it is much better than waiting 90 or 120 days for the cancellation to happen. And with the new proposed legislation, it will be the duty of the defendant to cancel the no-contact order otherwise it will stay in place forever. Modifying or canceling the no-contact order sooner, rather than later, can make all of the difference between a relationship staying intact or not staying intact. If you have any questions regarding no-contact orders or protective orders do not hesitate to contact the Feld Law Firm.