If you have been accused of domestic violence, you probably already know that you are facing some serious penalties if convicted. Before you even get to that point, however, you could find yourself in additional trouble if you violate the protective order or no contact order that was likely issued in your case. To help prevent that from happening, a Nebraska criminal defense lawyer explains how to handle a protective order in a domestic violence case. Of course, if you have specific questions or concerns, be sure to consult directly with an experienced defense attorney.
Nebraska Domestic Violence Law
Section 28-323 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes governs domestic violence, officially referred to as “domestic assault.” According to the statute:
(1) A person commits the offense of domestic assault in the third degree if he or she:
(a) Intentionally and knowingly causes bodily injury to his or her intimate partner;
(b) Threatens an intimate partner with imminent bodily injury; or
(c) Threatens an intimate partner in a menacing manner.
(2) A person commits the offense of domestic assault in the second degree if he or she intentionally and knowingly causes bodily injury to his or her intimate partner with a dangerous instrument.
(3) A person commits the offense of domestic assault in the first degree if he or she intentionally and knowingly causes serious bodily injury to his or her intimate partner.
Domestic assault can be charged as anything from a Class I misdemeanor to a Class II felony, with the severity level depending on which section of the statute is alleged and whether or not you have a previous conviction under the statute.
What Is a Protective Order?
The terms “protective order,” “restraining order,” and “no contact order” are frequently used interchangeably; however, while they accomplish much the same thing, they are not the same thing. In the State of Nebraska, as in most states, an emergency protective order is a civil order issued ex parte, meaning without the opportunity for a full hearing. An emergency protective order is issued on a temporary basis while attempts are made to serve the Respondent. A hearing is then held at which time the protective order may be made permanent or may be dismissed.
A no contact order is an order issued by a criminal court judge as part of an ongoing criminal case. A no contact order may be issued anytime there is a victim involved in a criminal prosecution. When a defendant is charged with domestic assault, it is routine for the judge to issue a no contact order. The order remains in effect until the case is resolved or the judge recalls the order.
Both a protective order and a no contact order effectively accomplish the same thing. They both order the Respondent/Defendant to stay away from an alleged victim. The exact terms of the order are decided by the judge; however, they usually prohibit any kind of contact, including via telephone, email, and third parties.
What Happens If You Violate the Order?
Violation of a protective order in Nebraska is a separate criminal offense, charged as either a Class I misdemeanor or a Class IV felony, depending on whether there has been a previous violation. Violating a no contact order is also a direct violation of the terms of your pre-trial release and could land you back in jail until your case is resolved. Keep in mind that you could be penalized for violating the order even if the alleged victim initiated the contact. You could also be penalized for violating the order even if the alleged victim agrees to the contact and does not complain. A court order remains in effect unless, and until, a judge modifies, recalls, or otherwise alters the order. Therefore, if you want the terms of a protective/no contact order changed, it is crucial that you consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense lawyer.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer at Petersen Law Office
If you have been charged with domestic violence, or domestic assault, in the State of Nebraska, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney right away to discuss possible defenses. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.