In the aftermath of a domestic assault charge, it’s common for a ‘No-Contact’ order to be issued against the defendant, designed to safeguard the victim from any potential harm. These orders play a critical role in ensuring the safety of victims in domestic violence cases.
However, there might be circumstances where the parties involved wish to have the ‘No-Contact’ order removed or modified. Batting, Wyman Barristers, domestic assault lawyers in Calgary, is here to delve into the legal complexities surrounding removing a ‘No-Contact’ order in Canada from a domestic assault.
‘No Contact’ Order: About
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 that prohibits the alleged attacker from returning to their family home will often be administered. 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 proximity in person (e.g. meeting publicly) and contact through other mediums such as:
- Social media
- Texting etc.
Additionally, these stipulations will usually restrict roundabout contact, which includes involving a third party to relay messages to the victim.
Can You Remove a ‘No-Contact’ Order?
In short, yes, but it is a complex process and necessitates legal intervention. A way to accomplish this is if the Crown Prosecutor consents to the variation. Depending upon the nature of the originating charges, the complainant’s wishes and the nature of the alleged breach, the Crown may be opposed. In such cases, the accused must apply to have the condition varied in Superior Court.
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.
Furthermore, 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 feels unsafe 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 improve. The ‘no contact’ order will most likely remain if such is not the case.
- Does/can the accused obtain access to weapons or firearms, and have they ever threatened someone with them? A ‘no contact’ order will likely remain in place if such an individual is proven dangerous.
- 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 their rights and responsibilities so they can exercise them accordingly.
Understanding ‘No-Contact’ Order vs. Restraining Order
To understand whether a ‘No-Contact’ order is identical to a restraining order in Canada, we need to delineate the definitions and implications of each term.
‘No-Contact’ order – Is typically issued by a court in criminal proceedings such as domestic assault cases. It prohibits the defendant from communicating with the victim or attending certain places. This order is often in effect while charges are pending, and it may continue as part of the defendant’s probation terms after a conviction.
Restraining order – A court order that mandates an individual to abstain from specified actions or conduct. Restraining orders are typically used when there has been previous domestic violence and there’s a genuine fear that it will continue. Restraining orders can provide a wide range of protections, including setting a minimum distance the restrained individual must maintain from the protected person or a specific location.
While both orders share the common goal of protecting individuals from further harm, they differ in their purpose, application, and legal proceedings in which they are issued. A ‘No-Contact’ order is typically issued in a criminal proceeding context, while a restraining order is more commonly associated with family law matters.
How Domestic Assualt Lawyers Can Help
Removing or modifying a ‘No-Contact’ order in a domestic assault case is a complex process that requires a solid legal basis and careful navigation of the justice system. Additionally, while a ‘No-Contact’ order and a restraining order may seem similar in nature, they are used in different legal contexts and have distinct implications.
For this reason, having an experienced domestic assault lawyer in Calgary that can help guide you through the process can be invaluable. At Batting, Wyman, our team of domestic assault lawyers has the knowledge and expertise to guide you through the legal process.
If you want to learn more, contact us today for a free 30-minute consultation.