Articles on South Carolina Law

How to Get a No Contact Order Dropped in a Domestic Violence Case in SC

by | Apr 6, 2016 | Criminal Defense, Domestic Violence

Having a no contact order in a Domestic Violence case poses additional challenges since the victim and defendant most likely live together or have children in common.

What are you supposed to do when you aren’t allowed to communicate with someone who lives with you? What are you supposed to do when you aren’t allowed to live in your own house since the victim lives there? How can you be expected to financially support your child if you can’t have contact with the mother of your child?

Let’s start with some of the basics…

What is a no contact order?

It’s an order issued at the accused’s bond hearing that prohibits any contact between the victim and the accused. The order is to be taken very seriously as it is a court order. The Order is in effect as long as the case is pending unless it is changed by a Judge. The parties cannot on their own decide to not follow the “no contact” order.

Is a no contact order issued in every Domestic Violence case?

Not necessarily. The conditions of a bond are left up to each individual bond judge’s discretion.

What happens if you violate a no contact order?

Violating a no contact order is the same as violating a Judge’s Order. You could face jail time and/or fines in addition to the domestic violence ticket/warrant.

Getting a No Contact Order Dropped in a Domestic Violence Case

Who can try to get the no contact order dropped?

The Defendant:

The defendant’s attorney can file a motion to change the terms of the order. This is the preferred method. The defendant’s attorney can draft some paperwork called a “Motion.” This motion will be filed with the Court. The State (i.e. the Solicitor’s office and/or victim’s advocate, law enforcement, the Court) will notify the victim of the motion hearing date and time. The Judge will determine at the hearing whether the no contact order will be removed.

How the defendant makes this request:

Defendant’s attorney will file a Motion to Modify Defendant’s bond. The paperwork filed will list the reasons why the Defendant should have contact with the victim (assuming the victim is in agreement with this). The motion will ask the court to schedule a hearing in front of a Judge to decide if the no contact order will be lifted.

Does the victim have to be present?

Not necessarily, but the State should notify the victim to be present. If the victim is under subpoena, the victim must appear for the hearing. If the victim wishes to talk to the Judge in court, the victim should be present.

The Victim:

The victim can also request that the no contact order be dropped through directly contacting the Solicitor or Prosecutor who is assigned to the case. They can also contact the law enforcement agent or police who is in charge of prosecuting the case.

Answers to Common Questions About Getting a No Contact Order Dropped in a Domestic Violence Case

  1. If the victim wants the no contact order dropped, will it always happen?
  2. Just as a domestic violence case will not necessarily be dropped if the victim wants it to be, neither will a no contact order. The Judge may be concerned about the victim’s safety, regardless of whether the victim says he/she is afraid of the defendant. Once the police are called, the State/ Courts become part of your private lives/marriage and you must follow all requirements of your bond unless the Judge orders otherwise. Judges can be reluctant to allow contact between the accused and the victim in order to protect the victim, even if the victim wants to drop the charge and even if the victim claims he/she is not in fear of the accused.

    This is true even if the victim is the one calling, contacting, texting, messaging the defendant. The victim is not under the “No Contact” order; the defendant/accused person is. Thus, the defendant will be the one in trouble with the Court even if the victim is contacting the Defendant.

  3. What if the victim and defendant get back together? Then can the no contact order be dropped?
  4. The victim and the Defendant “getting back together” does not lift a “no contact” bond condition. The order remains in place until the case is completely finished in court, or a Judge modifies the terms of the no contact order. No one else can modify the order. No other circumstance can change a court’s order.

  5. Does having a no contact order in my Domestic Violence case mean I can’t live with my spouse anymore?
  6. Yes. Either you have to move out of the house or your spouse does. The two of you cannot live in the house with a no contact order in place, even if you are sleeping in separate bedrooms or living in two different parts of the house.

  7. If the Domestic Violence case involves my spouse as the defendant and I am in the victim, can I talk to my spouse about our kids even though there is a no contact order?
  8. I recommend having the Order modified to allow contact. It is better to be safe than sorry. The accused should avoid any and all possibilities of getting more jail time/fines.

  9. Can the Defendant try to get the no contact order dropped in any type of Domestic Violence case?
  10. Yes. The Defendant’s attorney can ask for the no contact order to be dismissed in any type of Domestic Violence case. It will up to the Judge to determine whether this request will be granted based on the facts presented by the defense attorney and the state at the hearing.

  11. Will the Defendant go to jail if the Defendant violates the no contact order?
  12. It is possible, yes. The Defendant could be held in contempt of court for violating the court’s no contact order and this could mean jail time and/or a fine in the Court’s discretion.

  13. Can I appeal the Judge’s decision to not drop the no contact order?
  14. There is no appellate procedure to this decision. However, after some time passes, the Defendant’s attorney may petition the Court to modify the bond to allow contact with the victim if there is a “substantial change of circumstances” and the Judge sees fit.

  15. How long will it take to get the no contact order dropped?
  16. Typically after the defense attorney files the motion, the Court will schedule the motion hearing on a date that is mutually convenient for the State and the defense and when the court is in its next session.

  17. Do I need an attorney to get a no contact order dropped in a Domestic Violence case as the victim?
  18. You may. A victim who later recants on any prior statements given to the police at the time of the incident could be facing a filing a false police report or perjury (for false testimony) criminal charge. This is a very serious consideration and should not be taken lightly.

    As a defense attorney for domestic violence cases, I do not represent both the victim and the Defendant because I believe there is a conflict of interest. Typically the victim’s interests can be represented by the prosecutor/ solicitor or the victim’s advocate from law enforcement.

  19. Do I need an attorney to get a no contact order dropped in a Domestic Violence case as the defendant?
  20. It could be to your advantage. An attorney who has handled these types of matters can walk you through the process and answer the questions you may have.

What can you do to help your situation?

Facing a “no contact” order in a Domestic Violence case can cause you a lot of stress. This type of situation can be very tense and complicated. Give me a call and we can discuss your options including the possibility of having your “no contact” order lifted. Pursuing this option could make your family life much easier.

If you are facing domestic violence charges in SC and have questions about your case, consider contacting an attorney. Having a defense attorney by your side through this process could make all the difference.

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