No Contact Orders and Restraining Orders, alike, can be filed and issued in relation to domestic violence cases. However, No Contact Orders and Restraining Orders are filed under different circumstances, have different consequences for violations, and last for a different amount of time.
Domestic violence is defined as the abuse inflicted upon an adult or minor with whom the accused has an intimate relationship (California Penal Code § 13700). Intimate relationships include:
- Family members
- Domestic partners
- Past or present romantic partners
- The parent of the suspect’s child
According to California Family Code § 6203, abuse is:
- Physically harming or attempting to harm someone with intent or recklessly
- Causing someone to fear for their own or someone else's safety (i.e. threats of harm)
- Behavior including stalking, threatening, sexual assault, or harassment
Abuse can be emotional, psychological, or verbal. Physical abuse also extends beyond hitting and can include:
- Hair pulling
- Throwing objects
- Scaring or stalking someone
- Stopping an individual from coming and going
The Differences Between No Contact Orders & Restraining Orders
If you or a loved one has been issued a No Contact or Restraining Order, you must understand their differences. While the two orders are sometimes used interchangeably, they are actually different.
What is a Restraining Order?
Domestic violence restraining orders can be obtained if a person has been abused or threatened. There are three types of restraining orders: emergency protective orders, temporary restraining orders, and permanent restraining orders.
Once a court issues a restraining order, all law enforcement officers have access to it via the statewide computer system, and the order is effective anywhere in the United States. A restraining order can order the accused person to:
- Not contact or go near the alleged victim, their children, or relatives
- Stay away from the alleged victim’s home and work
- Move out of the alleged victim’s home (if it’s shared)
- Forfeit their guns and ammunition
- Pay child and/or spousal support
- Stay away from any family pet(s)
- Pay certain bills
- Not make any changes to insurance policies
- Complete a 52-week batterer intervention program
If anyone violates their restraining order, they can be penalized with jail time, a fine, or both; the penalty increases with each subsequent attempt to violate the order.
Emergency Protective Orders
When a police officer responds to a domestic violence call, the officer can call and ask a judge to issue an emergency protective order. This order is then issued by a judge if they believe there is a danger of domestic violence or that any children present are in imminent danger. Emergency protective orders go into effect immediately and end after only 5 business days or 7 calendar days (whichever is shorter).
Temporary Restraining Orders
After you apply for a restraining order, you will be given a court date and can ask for a temporary restraining order. These orders are issued before court hearings and last until the hearing occurs, which is usually within 2-3 weeks. During the hearing, a judge will decide if a permanent restraining order is needed.
Permanent Restraining Orders
At your court hearing, a judge may issue this order. Permanent restraining orders can last for up to 5 years; if the order doesn’t include an expiration date, then it will end 3 years from the date of issuance. This order can be extended and renewed.
What Is a No Contact Order?
A No Contact Order is an order that restricts the physical and verbal contact between two parties. While Restraining Orders can be used as a preventative measure, No Contact Orders are typically filed after a dispute has taken place; these orders are filed in domestic cases, and in some instances, other criminal offenses involving an alleged victim.
A Restraining Order can be filed and requested by an individual; No Contact Orders are issued in criminal court by a judge. A judge will issue a No Contact Order to protect the alleged abuser from continued violence, threats, and/or harassment. The order will specify what is and isn’t allowed in terms of contact.
How Long Does a No Contact Order Last?
Unless the case is resolved, No Contact Orders can last for up to 3 years. The order can also be renewed or dropped in certain circumstances.
How Serious Is a No Contact Order?
No Contact Orders are very serious. If you violate this order, you will be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor. You may face up to 6 months in jail.
No Contact Orders can be complicated. For instance, if your ex-partner (or whoever has a no contact order against you) reaches out to you, you can violate the order by calling or texting back. Even if the other person initiated the contact or is okay with you violating the order, by engaging, you are violating the order and will be penalized.
If you have been charged with domestic violence, you should seek legal counsel. Domestic violence charges can have serious consequences. Your reputation, relationships, and sense of normalcy can be affected and irrevocably changed. Charges and convictions can also play a large role in divorce and custody cases.Don’t face your charges without the help of an experienced, reliable attorney; with over a decade of experience, we can offer you the legal representation you deserve. For a consultation, contact the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed today at (510) 907-6600 or contact us online.