No-contact orders mean you cannot have any contact with the alleged victim. Contact includes any communication, even through social media, email, text, letter, or through a third party. Additionally, the court will order you to stay a certain distance away from the alleged victim at all times (RCW 10.99.040).
In other words, any communication whatsoever will result in a violation of the no-contact order. If you violate a no-contact order, most cases result in a gross misdemeanor charge (RCW 26.50.110), which can result in a maximum $5,000 fine and up to 364 days in jail (RCW 9A.20.021).
But perhaps you are considering contacting the alleged victim anyway. After all, how would the court find out?
Believe it or not, there are many ways that you can get caught, resulting in very serious consequences.
So, how does the court know if a no-contact order has been violated? Keep reading to learn about some of the scenarios where you could get caught.
How Does the Court Know If a No-Contact Order is Violated? Scenarios to Consider
In any of the following scenarios, you may easily get caught violating a no-contact order. Once caught, the court will immediately be notified that the order has been violated.
You are Caught by an Officer
After a no-contact order is issued, it is entered into the law enforcement computer-based criminal intelligence information system. Usually, the no-contact order will remain in the computer system for one year (RCW 10.99.050).
Every police officer has access to this computer system. If an officer decides to look up your license plate number, driver’s license information, or something else, that officer will see that you have a no-contact order filed against you.
Let’s consider some common scenarios where you might get caught by an officer violating the order.
- If you decide to visit the alleged victim and a police officer visits the home of the alleged victim, you could be caught. Even if it is your home too, or the alleged victim invited you in, you will be prosecuted if you are seen at the home.
- You are in the car with the alleged victim, and you are pulled over. Even if you are not driving and the officer looks up the alleged victim’s license information, the officer will see that a no-contact order is protecting an alleged victim. Since you are in the car too, you will be caught.
- Your car is parked at a hotel where you are meeting the alleged victim. If an officer decides to randomly run license plates in that parking lot, the officer will see that you have a no-contact order filed against you. The officer will also see the alleged victim’s car parked at the hotel and discern that you two are meeting.
Both Parties are Traveling Via Plane
If you decide to travel via plane, the customs agent will see that you are charged with a no-contact order when s/he looks at your passport. If you are traveling with the alleged victim, the customs agent will notify the authorities.
Even if you are not seen together, you may be caught in another way. By looking at the seating arrangement on the plane, the authorities will see that you are sitting next to or near the alleged victim.
Someone Turns You In
A concerned family member or friend may turn you in if they suspect that contact has been made.
Similarly, consider a scenario where the alleged victim asks to see you. The two of you spend time together. However, you end up getting in an argument. As an act of revenge or self-preservation, the alleged victim could turn you in.
You may not be aware of their presence, but security cameras are in most public places. Additionally, they may even be placed outside the alleged victim’s house or apartment.
Even if you are simply seen within a certain distance of the victim or seen attempting to contact him/her, the court will be notified of the violation.
Perhaps you and the alleged victim have a baby together, and the time of conception was when a no-contact order was in place.
If both of your names are on the birth certificate, it is easy to determine that the point of conception was during the time the no-contact order was in effect. That evidence, along with a DNA test, will result in the court being notified of the no-contact order violation.
Do You Have a No-Contact Order Filed Against You? Contact an Attorney
If you have been accused of a crime and/or have a no-contact order filed against you, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Will & Will can help you understand what a no-contact order means for you. More than that, as expert Domestic Violence Attorneys, this husband and wife team guarantees you get the best results for your unique case. Court and Michelle Will are exceptionally qualified, successfully resolving thousands of cases with an individualized, caring approach.
Set up a free, confidential consultation by contacting Will & Will today!