Difference Between a No Contact Order and a Protective Order

Protective orders and no contact orders in Indiana serve similar purposes. Violating either can result in significant penalties. It is essential that you understand what type of order applies to your case and the instructions in the order so you can avoid accidentally violating it. 

Purpose of the Order

Protective orders are issued in cases in which a victim of abuse, harassment, or stalking asks the court to instruct the respondent from having contact with them, often to prevent further abuse. 

No contact orders are imposed in criminal cases to prevent the defendant from contacting an alleged victim in the case. While abuse may be a concern, no contact orders could also be put in place to prevent a defendant from intimidating a witness in their case. If this is the case for you, contact our Indianapolis domestic violent defense lawyer.

The Court That Issues the Order

Judges issue no contact orders in criminal cases as a condition of bail, a sentence, or probation. No contact orders are automatic in some cases. In others, the prosecutor specifically requests one. They are mandatory before releasing a defendant who is charged with committing a violent crime that resulted in bodily injury to another. No contact orders generally stay in place until the criminal case is resolved. 

In contrast, alleged victims file a petition to receive a protective order. The petitioner files the request for an order of protection with the clerk’s office, which must provide sufficient information to show that an immediate order should be put in place to prevent injury to the victim. No criminal charges have to be filed for the petitioner to receive a protective order.   

The respondent is notified of a hearing and has an opportunity to challenge it. The judge holds a hearing. The burden of proof in this situation is by a preponderance of the evidence, which is much lower than the criminal burden of proof of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. This civil matter is treated completely separately from the criminal case. However, if you are served with notice of this type of case, you should seek immediate legal assistance to determine how you should navigate these cases to protect your rights. 

The purpose of the hearsay rule is not to introduce unreliable evidence into a case. Hearsay involves repeating something that someone else said. However, repeating things can often wind up like a game of telephone in which the original statement varies dramatically from the final statement after several people have repeated it. 

Instructions in the Order

The order will state what types of activities the defendant or respondent must refrain from, such as:

  • Abusing the alleged victim
  • Going to the alleged victim’s home, workplace, or other known locations
  • Contacting the alleged victim via phone, email, social media, or third parties
  • Having firearms in their possession

Read over the terms of any protective or no contact order lodged against you to avoid penalties for violating the order. 

Possible Consequences of Violating the Order 

Violating a no contact order can result in serious consequences, including being charged with a Class A misdemeanor to Level 6 felony offense. Your bond can be revoked, and you can be required to remain incarcerated until your trial concludes. 

Violating a protective order is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in county jail, a fine of up to $5,000, and probation. 

Contact The Criminal Defense Team for a Free, No-Obligation Consultation 

At The Criminal Defense Team, we understand the complexities surrounding protective orders and no contact orders. Our experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys can evaluate your case and explain your legal rights and responsibilities. Reach out to us to schedule a free consultation by calling (317) 678-9853