What Is the Difference Between a Protective Order and a No Contact Order?

During a dispute with another party, you may have found yourself facing a protective or no-contact order issued by the court. Worse, that party may have accused you of violating that order, leading to potential charges against you. However, these orders are handled in different ways.

If you violate either type of order, you may have grounds for a powerful criminal defense. However, if you are not already familiar with your case type and the defense you may have at your disposal, you may take the wrong steps. Knowing what to expect from these different types of orders can give you a better sense of how to navigate your legal case.

No-Contact vs. Protective Orders: What Is the Difference?

When navigating accusations of breaking a no-contact or protective order, know that these orders cover different areas of the law. Specifically, no-contact orders are a criminal matter. No-contact orders are typically issued for victims of violence, including domestic violence, battery, and stalking.

In contrast, protective orders are issued for civil cases. For example, if you are pursuing damages through a civil lawsuit for abuse, stalking under Indiana Code 35-45-10, or harassment, a protective order can help prevent contact with that person. Specifically, protective orders do not require criminal charges to be pursued.

Why Does the Difference Matter?

The big difference between protective and no-contact orders comes from how those orders are handled when a violation occurs. Specifically, if you are accused of violating a no-contact order, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you violated the order. Protective orders do not require the same level of evidence.

The penalties for breaking a no-contact order may be more serious as well. Because no-contact orders involve violence or criminal cases, you may face harsher penalties for a violation. However, violating either type of order can land you with jail time.

What Happens If I Am Found in Violation of These Orders?

If you are found in violation of either type of order, you may find yourself in legal trouble. If you are already facing a civil lawsuit or criminal case, you may have had these orders imposed on you, and now they are causing trouble.

Keep in mind that you may face more serious penalties if you are accused of violating a no-contact order. This can be another criminal charge following any charges that led to the no-contact order, such as domestic violence charges. Further charges complicate your efforts to keep your case clear.

For protective orders, if you are found in violation, you may still be subjected to criminal charges. However, the judge can also impose fines and other penalties instead. The specifics of the violation may determine how your case is handled.

Opportunities to Fight Protective and No-Contact Orders

When accused of breaking a protective or no-contact order, your first step is to defend your case. We can pursue a strong defense during a hearing discussing the violation of this order. Proving you did not commit this violation can help you avoid potential jail time and other penalties.

You may also have grounds to request changes or dismissals of the order. Only a judge may change or dismiss both order types. If you have grounds for modification or removal, the judge can issue a new ruling.