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Washington Court Discusses Objections to a Domestic Violence No-Contact Order

On Behalf of | Dec 18, 2020 | Assault

People convicted of crimes of domestic violence are often prohibited from interacting with their victims via domestic violence no-contact orders. Thus, if a person subject to a no-contact order subsequently contacts the victim, it may result in additional criminal charges. While a no-contact order must be valid to be enforceable, there are specific parameters for objecting to an order as improper. The failure to comply with the correct procedural process can result in the waiver of rights, as demonstrated in a recent Washington ruling. If you are accused of violating a no-contact order or committing another crime of domestic violence, it is advisable to meet with a Washington domestic violence defense attorney to assess your options.

The Defendant’s Alleged Violation

Allegedly, the defendant was convicted of fourth-degree assault, which was a crime of domestic violence in October 2017. The court issued a five-year domestic violence no-contact order, barring the defendant from interacting with the victim either indirectly or directly or being within 500 feet of her. The defendant continued to contact the victim regardless, however.

It is reported that in January 2018 and March 2018, incidents occurred in which the defendant assaulted the victim. During the second incident, he took her purse as well. He was subsequently charged with two felony violations of the domestic violence no-contact order and robbery. Following a trial, the jury convicted the defendant, and he was sentenced to five years in prison. He then appealed, arguing in part that the no-contact order was invalid.

Objecting to a No-Contact Order

The defendant argued that the subject no-contact order stemmed from an invalid assault conviction and therefore should have been excluded at trial. Specifically, he stated that he pleaded guilty to the charges in the underlying matter without the assistance of counsel or evidence of a valid waiver of counsel. Thus, he stated his conviction and the domestic violence no-contact order were both improper.

The court noted that the defendant did not argue that the court that issued the no-contact order lacked the power or jurisdiction to do so or that the order did not apply to him. Rather, he argued that the no-contact order was invalid because his underlying conviction was unconstitutional. The court explained, however, that the defendant’s challenge to the no-contact order was prohibited by the collateral-bar rule. Specifically, the rule precludes a party from challenging the validity of an order in a hearing held on the issue of whether the order was violated. Based on the foregoing, the court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Meet with a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney in Washington

A conviction for a  domestic violence crime will often result in the issuance of a no-contact order, but a defendant may be able to object to an improper order. If you are charged with a crime of domestic violence, it is critical to meet with a lawyer to evaluate your potential defenses. The skilled Washington domestic violence defense attorneys of The Law Offices of Smith & White are well-versed in what it takes to obtain favorable results, and we will fight vigorously on your behalf. You can reach us through our form online or at 253-363-8662 to set up a meeting.