For the average person, being arrested and charged with a crime for the first time is a fairly frightening event. Along with worrying about the ultimate outcome of your case, you must also try to navigate the criminal justice system, something that can be extremely challenging for the uninitiated. Hiring an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney to represent you and protect your rights is the most important step you can take and should be your initial focus. Learning some of the most important dos and don’ts of being a defendant is also a good idea. For example, do you know what it means if the judge issues a no contact order in your case? To make sure that you do understand, a Nebraska criminal defense attorney explains what a no contact order is and what could happen if you violate the order.
Your Initial Appearance
In a criminal prosecution, the defendant’s first appearance in court is typically referred to as an arraignment, or an initial hearing. If you are still in custody, meaning you have not been able to post a bond yet, your initial hearing will occur within a day or two of your arrest in most cases. If you posted a bond, and are out of custody, your initial hearing might be a week or later after your arrest, depending on the court’s calendar. At your initial hearing, the judge will make sure you understand the charges against you as well as explain your rights to you. You will enter a preliminary plea of not guilty, unless you have already agreed to a guilty plea agreement with the State. The court will also ask you about your plans to retain an attorney if you do not already have one. In certain types of cases, the judge may also issue a no contact order at this time. It is imperative that you understand what this means if one is issued in your case.
What Is a No Contact Order?
Some criminal offenses involve a victim, such as domestic violence, burglary, or sexual assault. When a victim is involved, the court wants to make sure that the defendant does not have any contact with the alleged victim while the case is pending to prevent further crimes from occurring and/or to prevent the defendant from intimidating or threatening the victim. To decrease the likelihood that a defendant will contact an alleged victim, the court can issue a “no contact” order. As the term implies, a no contact order is simply a court order prohibiting the defendant from having any type of contact with the individual named on the order by the judge. Typically, a no contact order includes physical contact as well as via telephone, in writing, over electronic mediums, or even through a third party. The court’s order is also usually made part of the conditions of the defendant’s release. What this means is that if you violate a no contact order, the court can – and usually will – revoke your bail and order you to be held without bail until your case is resolved. For this reason, it is crucial that you abide by the no contact order if one is issued in your case.
Protective Order vs. No Contact Order
Orders that prohibit contact go by several different names, including a protective order, a no contact order, or a restraining order. The primary difference between them is that one is a civil order and the other stems from a criminal prosecution. The victim of domestic violence, for example, can petition a civil court judge to issue a protective order prohibiting the abuser from contacting him/her. If issued, this order is a civil order. That same victim may decide to file a formal complaint against the abuser with the prosecutor’s office and that could trigger criminal charges against the abuser; however, the original protective order is not criminal in nature.
Contact a Nebraska Criminal Defense Attorney at Petersen Law Office
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Nebraska, consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense lawyer at Petersen Law Office as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case.
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