Imposition of No Contact Orders for Persons Charged with Michigan Criminal Offenses; Assault, Stalking, Domestic Violence

A NO CONTACT ORDER can be ordered in virtually any criminal case including retail fraud/shoplifting cases. In Macomb County, courts will invariably enter a NO CONTACT ORDER against an offender as a bond condition or upon conviction of retail fraud/shoplifting at the time of sentencing. In Michigan, courts routinely impose a NO CONTACT ORDER as a condition of being released or bonded for personal criminal offenses such as domestic violence, stalking, sex crimes and assault. For these offenses, the offender is prohibited from contacting the alleged victim.

Contact, for purpose of NO CONTACT ORDERS, is broadly defined to embrace any direct or indirect contact or communications by the offender or by using third parties to contact the victim. Contact also includes the use of all electronic media (phone, fax, cell phone, computer) to make contact. Therefore, contact can occur if the offender sends a text or email, posts something on the internet or uses a friend to make a phone call. A violation of the NO CONTACT ORDER may result in revocation of bond and jail.

An offender may unwittingly be the victim of a NO CONTACT ORDER violation when the offender responds to an email or text message from the victim or someone associated with the victim. It may very well be a violation even though the offender did not initiate the contact. Anyone who is under the jurisdiction of a NO CONTACT ORDER must be vigilant and prudent.

A NO CONTACT ORDER may be lifted under certain circumstances. In many domestic violence and assault cases, the offender and the victim may want to maintain their prior relationship. The offender cannot just start calling the victim or return to the residence without court approval. The single best way to insure that a NO CONTACT ORDER is removed correctly is to have an attorney file a motion and schedule a hearing. Motions are legal written requests made to the court. The motion is scheduled for a hearing before the court and the victim will be notified of the hearing date.

An attorney plays a vital role at a hearing to lift a NO CONTACT ORDER. A criminal defense attorney knows that the court’s priorities will be for the preservation of public peace and the protection of the victim. The attorney may need to obtain proof regarding the offender’s involvement in a substance abuse or anger management program. The victim will also be notified and questioned by the Judge at a hearing to remove the NO CONTACT ORDER. If the court feels that the victim was threatened or has any reservations about the well being of the victim, the NO CONTACT ORDER will remain in force.

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