October 1, 2015 was a day for many changes to criminal law in the State of Florida. Florida Governor Rick Scott signed 27 new laws including one that clarifies the “no contact” order that is imposed on a person accused of domestic violence. The updated domestic violence law clarifies that when a judge orders a person convicted of domestic violence to have no contact with the alleged victim as part of his or her pretrial release, the order becomes effective immediately and enforceable during the entire pre-trial release.
“No Contact” Means “No Contact”
The updates of the pretrial release section of Florida’s domestic violence law does not only make the “no contact” effective once the person is allowed on pre-trial release, but it also covers all types of communication except through the person’s attorney. This prohibition includes any type of contact that would take place through the written word or oral communication. More specifically, this includes communication in person, electronic communication, communication through a third-party person, or communication through a telephone or cellphone. If the alleged victim and person subjected to the “no-contact” order have a child or children together then the court will choose a third person to facilitate the children’s contact with the defendant. This is because the defendant cannot come within 500 feet of the alleged victim’s residence.
The legislature maintained other aspects of the previous domestic violence law. This includes that when a person is granted pre-trial release, he or she is also required to refrain from any type of criminal activity.
Penalties for Violating the “No Contact” Provision
Since the purpose of the law is to protect the alleged domestic-violence victim(s), the penalties for violation of the “no contact” order are harsh. Anyone that is found guilty of violating the “no contact” provision will find themselves in a lot of trouble. A person found to be in violation of the “no contact” provision of the pretrial order will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor and shall be held in custody until his or her court appearance. If a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a person has violated a pre-trial order, a police officer is entitled to arrest the person and charge the person with violating the “no contact” order. Even if the victim does not consent to the arrest of the defendant, the policeman still has the power to do so.
Are You Currently Under a “No Contact” Order?
If you think that you have been placed under a “no contact” order or have been charged with a domestic violence offence then you should contact an attorney that has experience with handling domestic violence cases and stays up to date on Florida’s ever-changing laws. Attorneys at Moses and Rooth are here to listen to your side of the story and help you to understand Florida’s domestic violence laws and your pre-trial order. If you have any questions or need help preparing a defense for your domestic violence charges, you should contact our firm today so that we may assist you further and set up a call with one of our Florida domestic violence attorneys.