Domestic Violence No Contact Order in South Carolina
A domestic violence no contact order following your arrest in South Carolina is no to be taken lightly. If you lived with the alleged victim or have a child with them then a no contact order is going to severely impact that. Today we’re talking about what you can do if you’re in this situation and more importantly the right way to modify that order.
Hi, my name is Dale Savage and I’m a criminal defense attorney here in Charleston, SC. Today we’re talking about no contact orders following your domestic violence arrest in South Carolina.
What is a No-Contact Order?
A no contact order is set by the judge from your initial bond hearing after your arrest. The terms of that order typically state that you cannot have any contact with the alleged victim either directly or through a third party. The order is in place for the whole time the case is pending or until a court modifies that requirement.
That means if you live together then you will have to find another place to live, no social media contact of any kind, no text messages of any kind, no contact through a friend or family member. Because the order was issued by a judge, any alleged violations will be heard in court where the state will present evidence of the violation and you will be required to assert a defense, if any. If the judge finds there is a violation then you run the risk of having your bond revoked and put back in jail, even if it is just one violation.
I recently saw such a hearing where the judge found there was a violation and told the defendant that “no contact means you’re not in control. You don’t get to define the terms.” The message is, judges don’t play around at these hearings, nor should they.
What if the Victim Wants the No-Contact Order Dropped?
Bu, what happens if the victim wants the no-contact order lifted? Does that mean you can communicate with them or move back in with them? In one word, no. Even when the victim tells you they want to see you, you should not make any attempt to contact them until a judge says you can. This is critical for two reasons.
First the no-contact is a one-way street, it only applies to you contacting the alleged victim, there is no violation if the victim tries to contact you. Remember you aren’t in control of the terms. If this happens, don’t respond and contact your attorney.
Secondly, only a judge can change the terms of a no-contact order, that is not a decision the alleged victim can make on their own. Remember any violation will have to be addressed by the court so you better get court approval before you don’t get to define the terms.
How does a No-Contact Order Get Modified?
So how do you change the terms of a no-contact order? Only a judge can set the new terms by signing a new order that modifies the original court order defining the new terms. This will require a new court hearing where you be required to argue to the court why the no-contact order should be modified and the terms you are requesting. You cannot enter into an agreement with the alleged victim outside of the court under any circumstances. This is important because if the alleged victim claims you violated the no-contact order, arguing an out of court agreement without judicial approval is going to hurt you.
So, if you have a domestic violence charge in South Carolina and want to discuss your case, please call me at (843) 530-7813, I hope this video was helpful and thanks for watching.