No Contact Order Violations in Indiana
In today’s world, no contact orders are a common element of criminal proceedings. They place hard restrictions on a person’s behavior and location; and noncompliance could result in the subject of the order being charged with a no contact order violation in Indiana. Given this, it’s important to understand the limits and restrictions of this type of Indiana protective order and the seriousness of being found in violation of its conditions.
If you have been charged with a no contact order violation, or worry that your actions may lead to an investigation, do not hesitate to call an Indiana protective order attorney from Keffer Hirschauer LLP. Our criminal defense attorneys know the laws regarding Indiana protective orders inside and out, and can ably defend you against any criminal charges. To speak with an Indiana criminal defense attorney today, call 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
The Basics of No Contact Orders in Indiana
No contact orders in Indiana are a type of protective order aimed at protecting alleged victims of violence. They are similar in nature to an Indiana restraining order, but are instead issued by a judge, as a condition of bail, bond, a sentence or probation, in a criminal case. In order to remain compliant and not commit a no contact order violation in Indiana, the subject of the order shall refrain from making direct or indirect contact, or be within sight of, a protected person, their residence, place of employment or school.
Some no contact orders are issued automatically. For example, as prescribed in Indiana Code 35-33-8-3.6, a person charged with committing a violent crime resulting in bodily injury to a person may only be released on bail if the court issues a no contact order as a condition of bail. In this specific situation, the duration of the order is set at 10 days following the defendant’s release or until the initial hearing, whichever occurs first. However, in general, no contact orders typically remain in effect until the criminal case is disposed of or the subject of the order has completed their sentence.
Lifting a No Contact Order in Indiana
In general, there are handful of ways to lift a no contact order in Indiana. First, the order may be lifted if the case against the defendant (and subject of the order) is dismissed. Second, if the no contact order is a condition of an offender’s sentence, the order may be lifted once the sentence is completed. Third, a no contact order may be lifted if the protected person (i.e. the victim) has testified, under oath, that they would like the order to be lifted and the judge is in agreement. This last option is often the most difficult avenue to pursue when attempting to have a no contact order lifted, and typically requires the assistance of a skilled attorney with experience defending against a protective order in Indiana.
Violations of No Contact Orders in Indiana
Per Indiana Code 35-46-1-15.1, a person may be found to have committed a no contact order violation in Indiana if they make direct or indirect contact with a protected person, their residence, place of employment or school. They may also be found in violation if they are simply in the line of sight of that person, their residence, place of employment or school.
When a person is alleged to be in violation of a no contact in Indiana, they may be charged with invasion of privacy. At its lowest level, invasion of privacy is considered to be a Class A Misdemeanor. Per the Indiana sentencing guidelines, a conviction of this level is punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and a year in prison. It’s important to note, however, that if the defendant has a previous, but unrelated conviction for invasion of privacy, they could be charged with a Level 6 felony. If convicted, they could face up to 2.5 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
Direct and Indirect Contact
Direct contact is generally accepted as being within the view of the protected person, as well as calling, texting, emailing, writing, or sending the person messages via a digital platform, such as a social media website or app. Indirect contact, on the other hand, refers to having a third party, at the direction of the defendant, relay a message to the protected person.
It’s important to note that in today’s digital landscape, courts have taken a broader view on what direct actions constitute a no contact order violation in Indiana. For instance, in a recent ruling, the Indiana court of appeals upheld a conviction involving social media and a no contact order violation in Indiana. In the case at hand, the defendant (who was subject to a no contact order) viewed a Protected Person’s Instagram story, which notified the protected person of the action. The protected person notified authorities, and the defendant was charged and convicted of violating the no contact order.
Upon appeal, the defendant acknowledged that he was prohibited from direct or indirect contact with the Protected Person but argued that simply viewing a public post on social media does not constitute contact, and therefore, the State failed to allege facts constituting an offense. Well, the Court of Appeals did not agree, and explained that, “the State does not allege that [the defendant] simply viewed the Protected Person’s social media posts. Rather, the State alleges that [the defendant] knowingly or intentionally contacted the Protected Person by viewing her posts on the Instagram social media platform in such a manner that [the defendant] caused a notice to be created that informed the Protected Person that he was viewing her posts.”
Charged with a No Contact Order Violation in Indiana?
Regardless of whether you have already been charged with a no contact order violation in Indiana or are simply concerned that your actions could result in an eventual investigation, it’s vital that you contact an experienced protective order attorney in Indiana as soon as possible. Courts take charges of invasion of privacy very seriously, and without a sound defense, you could face serious criminal penalties, including incarceration.
The Indiana criminal defense lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are well suited to assist you in all criminal matters related to orders of protection. Our firm is led by two former deputy prosecutors, Bradley Keffer and Tom Hirschauer III, who have both prosecuted and defended against allegations of invasion of privacy in the past. They understand how courts approach these types of cases and the best defense strategies to deploy, given the specific circumstances of the case at hand. Ultimately, our firm will work tirelessly on your behalf with the stated goal of securing the best possible outcome in the case against you – whether that be a reduction or a dismissal of the charges altogether.