No Contact Orders v. Protective Orders

It can be really confusing, keeping up with the differences between a protective order and a no contact order. They’re similar but they have different requirements to acquire them, and do different things. It is important to know the difference, and if you have trouble understanding the use of an order assigned to you, you can talk to a protective orders lawyer such as the ones available at May Law LLP

Who May Receive or Apply For These Orders?

When it comes to a protective order, you may apply for this order if you are a family or household member if you currently live with one another or have lived with one another in the last year. You may also apply for this order if you are divorced or separated, have a child who is a minor together, or are partners that have been in intimate relationship with one another in the past year, and have contact with each other in the past year after an assault. 

For a no contact order, you may only apply for this order if you are the victim of a criminal offense for domestic violence, being stalked, being harassed, or being the victim of a sexual assault. Sometimes within limitation, witnesses or victims of other crimes may be given a no contact order as well. 

Who Issues These Orders and Starts the Process?

Both orders are issued by different parts of the legal system. For a protective order you must have a district court judge make the order, while a no contact order can be issued by an associate district and magistrate judge. 

To start the process of a protective order, the plaintiff or victim must go to the district court clerk and request the order. This specific order can set forth child custody and visitation, and even child support while this order is active. The protective order can also keep the defendant from a specific home or location, can also distribute property—but not land. The county attorney may be involved or able to help but this is usually in limited circumstances. It is a crime to violate a protective order, and you can get in trouble as this is punishable as contempt. This is typically a civil proceeding, and the defendant does not have the right to appoint an attorney. 

A no contact order is issued by an associate district or magistrate judge and law enforcement must start the process by filing for charges. The forms are found with the magistrate’s clerk, the order cannot set child custody, child visitation, or child support, nor can it keep the defendant from a specific home or location. The order does not have the power to distribute any property at all, and the county attorney is available and involved in this process. It is a crime to violate this order, punishable as contempt, and is considered a criminal proceeding. You will need an attorney in most cases when going to court over a no contact order. 

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