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  • Writer's pictureAttorney Joseph Soler

What does “no harmful contact” mean in the context of a domestic violence case in Sarasota?

First, let’s briefly discuss what a “no contact” order means

A no contact order is exactly what it sounds like, the defendant is ordered by the judge to have absolutely no contact, either directly or indirectly, with the victim in the case. For instance, when a defendant is first arrested and charged with a domestic battery, the judge will initially order the defendant to have no contact with the victim.

If the defendant contacts the victim, either directly (such as by calling or texting the victim) or indirectly (for instance, by sending messages through a friend or through a family member) the defendant can face additional criminal charges for violating the terms and conditions of the judge’s pretrial release order. This will usually result in the defendant going back to jail.

What is a “no harmful contact” order?

A no harmful contact order essentially acts as a warning to the defendant; it is the court allowing the defendant to have contact with the victim with the caveat that if there is contact that is deemed to be “harmful,” the defendant may be punished.

What is “harmful contact”?

Harmful contact is basically any form of contact that would normally constitute illegal conduct (such as an unwanted touching, a touch or strike battery, etc.)

What happens if the Defendant violates the “no harmful contact order”?

If the case is still in the pretrial stage, the defendant’s bond can be revoked and the defendant put back in jail. It is also possible that the defendant can face additional criminal charges for violating the judge's pretrial order. If the case has already been resolved and the defendant is on probation, then the defendant's probation can be violated.

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