A no contact order is an order from a judge that prohibits someone from making contact with another person. This can include physical, phone, and Internet contact. The order may also set out a set distance the subject is required to observe when in physical proximity to the person whom the order is supposed to be protecting. The purpose of a no contact order is to secure someone's safety.
A number of different terms are used to describe court orders that are used to limit contact for safety reasons, including protection order, restraining order, and no contact order. In some courts, these words mean different things, while in others, they can be used interchangeably. To obtain such an order, the person with safety concerns must file for a temporary order, which can be granted right away, and then go through a hearing for a permanent order. “Permanent” is a bit of a misnomer because protective orders usually expire at a certain point.
One obvious reason to request a no contact order is in connection with a domestic violence situation. A victim of domestic violence can request a no contact order for safety and can also ask that the order cover children who may be victims of violence as well. Likewise, no contact orders can be requested by people who are being stalked or harassed. Sexual assault victims may request no contact orders as well, on the grounds that they do not want to have contact with their attackers.
Courthouses provide the basic paperwork necessary to file for a no contact order and people can sometimes fill out the order alone or with the assistance of an advocate. However, having a lawyer can be very helpful. The lawyer can ensure that the paperwork is filed properly and assist the victim with presenting a persuasive case in court. It is important to note that judges can also make additional orders, such as giving people the right to access a jointly held car, home, or bank account exclusively. A lawyer can help a victim with deciding what to ask for and how to request it.
A no contact order will expire according to guidelines set out by the judge. The order may last for the duration of a legal case or have a time limit. Once it expires, the subject of the order can contact the person who requested it again without fear of legal reprisals. People who want to renew a no contact order must show compelling information to demonstrate that their safety is still at risk. It is also possible to lift a no contact order by request.