If you’ve been charged criminally with a domestic allegation, police or a Justice of the Peace will routinely implement conditions prohibiting contact with the alleged victim (“the complainant”). There will also be a prohibition restricting the accused from gaining access to the residence where the allegation took place. This is especially difficult as domestic allegations involved prohibited contact with a spouse or family member. If such is the case for you, it’s imperative that you speak with an experienced Calgary defence lawyer in order to delete these conditions.
At Batting, Wyman, we house a team of experienced criminal lawyers who can help you with this restrictive impediment. However, it’s always useful to learn as much as you can prior to taking action on such matters.
For this reason, keep reading to learn more about how we can help remove your ‘no contact’ condition.
‘No Contact’ Order: How It’s Used
When a relative has allegedly committed a crime against another relative, a “no-contact” stipulation is almost always employed. As such, these orders typically restrict the accused from having any form of contact or communication, either directly or indirectly, with the particular relative who has allegedly been abused.
Moreover, an additional stipulation will often be administered that prohibits the alleged attacker from returning to their family home. Usually, the accused is only allowed back on the grounds of gathering their possessions – and only while being escorted by a police officer.
A “no-contact” order often restricts both proximity in person (e.g. meeting publicly) and contact through other mediums such as social media, phone, email, texting, etc. Additionally, these stipulations will usually restrict roundabout contact, which includes involving a third party to relay messages to the victim.
Consequences of Breaking the ‘No Contact’ Order
It is a criminal offence for someone to breach the conditions set forth by a “no-contact” order. If the police are made aware that such an act has taken or is taking place, they will locate the accused and charge him/her with breaching their release order. Where this occurs, the accused will be taken in front of a Justice of the Peace in order to deal with the issue of release. Depending on the circumstances, the accused could be released on more stringent conditions or even have their previous release canceled with the individual remaining in custody before a bail hearing can occur. Should this occur, the onus will then fall to the accused in order to justify on a balance of probabilities why they should be released. If they fail to persuade the Judge or Justice, this may mean that the accused must remain in custody until the courts deal with these matters. In some cases, this means that the accused individual could remain in custody for months.
Clearly, a “no-contact” order is really disruptive and can throw someone’s whole life off-kilter. Even seemingly innocuous charges can have troublesome outcomes, resulting in them having to cut contact with relatives and search for a new home or a hotel to reside in.
For this reason, a good question that accused persons and relatives may ask is whether a ‘no-contact’ order can be revoked or changed.
Can You Change a ‘No Contact’ Order?
In short, yes. The easiest way to accomplish this is if the Crown Prosecutor consents to the variation. Depending upon the nature of the originating charges, the wishes of the complainant and the nature of the alleged breach, the Crown may be opposed. In such cases, the accused must make an application in Superior Court to have the condition varied. However, it typically takes some time for such applications to be heard. This can be weeks or even months depending upon the severity of the charge.
However, before altering a ‘no-contact’ condition, the prosecutor in addition to the court will look over issues such as:
- The nature of the allegations: The more severe the claims, the more reserved the court will become about returning contact privileges.
Does the relative want to have contact restored?: If the relative in question doesn’t feel safe having the ‘no contact’ order lifted, it will most likely remain in place.
- Does the individual possess a track record of assault?: Regardless of whether it’s physical or verbal assault, if a track record is identified, lifting the ‘no contact’ order could prove to be very difficult.
- Has the individual violated court orders or ‘no-contact’ conditions in the past?: If a recurring pattern of this type of breach is recognized, no privileges will be awarded.
- Has the individual tried to address alcohol, drug, or mental health issues?: The courts want to see the accused trying to make improvements. If such is not the case, the ‘no contact’ order will most likely remain.
- Does/can the accused obtain access to weapons or firearms? And have they ever threatened someone with them?: Such an individual is dangerous and for this reason, a ‘no contact’ order should remain in place.
- Does the relative know their lawful rights and responsibilities? And have they received guidance regarding them?: It’s important for people involved in such circumstances to understand what their rights and responsibilities are so they can exercise them accordingly.
While a ‘no contact’ order can most certainly be revoked or changed, some stipulations must be met first. And by understanding what these particular conditions are, you are more likely to obtain your desired result. However, even when fully understanding the complicated regulations associated with this topic – things can still be tedious and difficult.
For this reason, having a competent and experienced criminal lawyer help guide you through the process can be invaluable. At Batting, Wyman, our team of Calgary defence lawyers have the knowledge and expertise to guide you through the process and ensure your outcome.
If you’re interested in learning more, contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation.