What is the Penalty for Violating a No Contact Order in Michigan?

undefinedWhat is the Penalty for Violating a No Contact Order in Michigan? Criminal Defense Attorney Advises...

If you are reading this particular article, chances are that you, or a loved one have been arrested for Domestic Violence and are found asking the question, What is the Penalty for Violating a No Contact Order in Michigan? Why assume this? Because these are typically the cases where a Judge has ordered 'No Contact' as part of your Bond and you and/or your accuser are seriously considering or have already risked contact with one another, for a variety of reasons:
  • You have a home together,
  • You have children together,
  • You share a vehicle,
  • You have financial matters to discuss...
... and the list goes on! All legitimate reasons... but NOT legal reasons to violate a Court Order of No Contact - whether your accuser agrees to it, or not! When the Court orders a No Contact, it means exactly that, ABSOLUTELY NO CONTACT - not in person, not by phone, or text, or email, or Facebook or other social media, nor by a THIRD PARTY (you cannot have another do for you what you are legally restricted from doing yourself). The District Court's will set a "Bond" at the Arraignment, whereby you may be required to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars to the Court in order to secure your initial release from jail, further secured by your promise not to violate of any of the conditions imposed. Luckily, there ARE things that can be done about this No Contact scenario. Right now you are, by Constitutional Law, 100% innocent! You have not been convicted of anything and therefore the Constitution does not allow for you to be punished. However, this is not the intention of a Bond. Bond simply means that conditions have been imposed on a person for a couple of reasons:
  1. To reasonably ensure the safety of the public, and
  2. To reasonably ensure that you will return to Court when required
Under Michigan Court Rule 6.106, unless you have a history of violent crimes, you are absolutely entitled to be released on nothing more than, for all practical purposes, your promise to return to Court, with NO conditions. However, the law makes an exception when it comes to a person who is being accused of Domestic Violence. In reality, having no contact with your accuser is one of the best things you can do to defend yourself against your Domestic Violence charge. BUT, even though you are considered innocent, unfortunately the courts can use the terms and conditions of Bond to treat you as though you are already on Probation. Not only does this run contrary to your rights as an innocent accused, but it can do psychological damage to your perception in the presumption of your own innocence. Here is why its important for you to retain knowledgeable Legal Counsel before your Arraignment and before making the choice to violate a No Contact Order - although you may be ordered NO CONTACT with the alleged victim, your attorney will be able to work with the Prosecutor and/or Police Officer in charge of your case, who will be able to legally contact the accuser and find out exactly what their feelings are about having contact with you while the case is pending. Each time you are scheduled to appear in court, including your Arraignment, your attorney will have an opportunity to inform the Judge if an agreement has been reached with the alleged victim. Even if you are not allowed to have physical contact with the person, the Court may approve an agreement to have telephone or third-party contact to facilitate the transfer of your children. Oftentimes, an accused person who would otherwise, by necessity, be required to leave the home - can remain in the home - it may surprise you to know how many alleged victims will willingly leave the home to stay with a parent or other relative. These things are possible - but not generally offered - they take skilled advocacy! If the Court is not in agreement with an oral argument on the matter, your attorney may decide the matter is best served by a written Motion to Modify/Amend/Reduce the terms and conditions of your Bond, and schedule a Hearing on the matter - particularly where exigent circumstances exist (i.e. if the alleged victim is not a proper caretaker for the children, etc.). Michigan Court Rule 6.106 specifies that a Judge look at a non-exhaustive, enumerated list of factors, and a well-written Motion to Modify will allow the Judge to review these factors thoughtfully without the immediate, spoken objection of the Prosecution. In both setting the terms of your Bond, and determining the penalties of a violation of your Bond, a Michigan District Court Judge has a great deal of discretion. IF YOU DO (OR HAVE) VIOLATED A MICHIGAN NO CONTACT ORDER here are some of the repercussions you could face: First Offense:
  1. You can be held, on Contempt of Court, arrested and incarcerated in jail without bond, or face a "Bond Violation" Hearing; or
  2. Your Bond may be modified, and you could be ordered to do electronic monitoring (tethering)at your expense ($140-$175 setup fee + $14-$17.50 p/day - paid in a 10 day pre-pay format). If you go off the tether - you go to jail;
  3. Penalties WILL escalate for any subsequent violations.
Keep in mind that a willful violation can be treated as a Criminal Contempt OR a Bond Violation. For all these reasons, as well as others, you need the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney. An Attorney like Brian J. Prain of PRAIN LAW, PLLC. Call our law office (248) 731-4543 for your free consultation. All consultations and conversations are privileged and confidential.
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