In RI, A “no contact order” is often termed an “NCO” and means that the person accused of a criminal charge may not have contact and / or communication with the victim or the person under the protection of the no contact order. This includes but is not limited to letters, Facebook posts, instant messages, tweets, emails, text messages or messages delivered through a 3rd party. This is a family law and criminal law article by RI divorce attorney David Slepkow.
If an accused defendant in Rhode Island is under a no contact order and inadvertently is in the presence of the victim in public place, he or she must get out of that place as soon as possible and not acknowledge the victims presence. The defendant may not even say “hi” or exchange any sort of pleasantries if they saunter by the purported victim by happenstance on the road, at the mall or anywhere.
A criminal defendant could be pinched under RI criminal law for violating an NCO when the alleged victim initiates the communication and texts, Facebook chats or calls the defendant on his cell phone. A defendant in a criminal cause of action could be arrested and criminally charged with violating an NCO even if invited by his wife to live in the home with the kids.
Dismissing the no contact order
Once the no contact order is issued, the local police department cannot drop a no contact order. Only a judge can drop a no contact order. The purported victim may try to dismiss the no contact order at the criminal arraignment at Providence 6th Division District Court. Before addressing the Providence District Court judge or magistrate at the arraignment hearing, the alleged crime victim must converse with the domestic violence (DV) counselor at Courthouse. Sadly, this is normally a perfunctory conversation because the judge not the advocate decides whether to quash the NCO.
The Justice of the Court could dismiss the NCO during the arraignment hearing. Most judges refuse to do so at the arraignment, but it could happen. If the allegation of domestic abuse is severe or there is an established history of domestic violence then the justice may reject the victim’s pleas to vacate the NCO. The restraining order will not be dropped by the RI judge if the victim declares that she is afraid of the allege perpetrator. It is sometimes easier to get the nco dismissed at the “pretrial “. The Justice of the Court will usually seek to ascertain whether the police department, the prosecutor or the city solicitor have any objections to the no contact order being terminated. Some judges in Rhode Island refuse to drop no contact orders under nearly any circumstances
Can the victim of an alleged crime dismiss the nco subsequent to the arraignment hearing but prior to the pretrial?
In the event that the victim wants to drop the no contact order after the arraignment but before the pretrial the victim can go to the clerk and ask that the file be brought in front of the judge. After conferring with the domestic advocate the judge will rule on whether the no contact order will be dropped.
Can the no contact order be dropped at the pretrial conference?
The person being protected by the no contact order will have another chance to quash the NCO at the criminal pretrial conference hearing. The pretrial conference in Rhode Island is typically scheduled a couple of weeks after the arraignment. At the pretrial conference, the victim can approach the judge and again seek to have the no contact order dropped
More information pertaining to: RI no contact order
Will the judge in the Sixth Division District Court or Kent County District Court determine visitation, child support, paternity or custodial issues or Do I have to litigate in family Court?
No. The Court will not get immersed or involved in any family, divorce or custodial related issues such child support in RI, spousal support, paternity, relocation out of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, equitable division of marital property, visitation, marital expenses and who is responsible for payment of the mortgage / taxes and insurance, credit cards, equitable distribution of assets, etc. Those family law issues are the sole province of the Rhode Island Family Court not the District court!
The Providence District Court, Sixth Division, is where misdemeanor charges are heard and determined on the merits. The District or Superior Court in felonies may order restitution if a person is found guilty or takes a plea. Restitution is damages to the victim of criminal activity to compensate for actual damages such as property loss, medical bills (prescription and medical devices), missing or stolen money etc.
Obtaining personal property, clothes and belongings when there is an NCO.
There are numerous appropriate and legal manners for a criminal accused to obtain his personal belongings when there is an NCO. Personal belongings usually consist of personal property such as clothes, work related equipment, tools, personal papers, sneakers, uniforms and personal property. The criminal accused can notify the local police department and seek appropriate assistance. The local police officer or patrolman may escort the defendant to the home. Often the police will rush the person and only allow them to recapture limited property. In some cases the officer cops a serious negative attitude and enforces a very draconian time limit.
If the accused has a private RI criminal defense attorney or a RI divorce lawyer, he can contact the victims attorney who can contact the victim to make arrangements. This can have its pitfalls because the victim may be hostile or the victim may have no interest in negotiating. The accused can attempt to arrange to get his belongings through a third party. The accused must be careful not to violate the no contact order.