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No Contact Order or Protective Order? What are the differences?

There are two (2) major types of Orders that a court could issue which would prevent contact of some kind with another person. It is important to know the differences to understand your rights, and relief available if the Order is violated, or the punishments/implications for violating an Order.

Protective Orders, or POs, are a civil lawsuit used to protect a victim against a harasser or stalker. POs are civil lawsuits, which require an individual person to petition (ask) the court for relief. POs are in the nature of injunctive relief, which stops or seeks to prevent future behavior from occurring (as opposed to punishing for behavior that has already occurred). A PO serves to prohibit certain behavior by the harasser or stalker, towards the victim. The Indiana Civil Protection Order Act (ICPOA) is the controlling body of law.1

A PO is NOT a No Contact Order. Popular portrayal in movies and TV shows often indicate that a Protective Order requires someone to stay at least so many feet or yards away from the victim. However, in Indiana, this is not true. Protective Orders can be tailored to the facts and circumstances of the parties involved, but generally, a PO prohibits further contact that is harassing, threatening, or stalking in nature.

A No Contact Order however is something different. The first main difference is the procedural origin. A No Contact Order arises out of a criminal case, and the prosecutor requests the judge to order same, not the victim. A No Contact Order is often issued by a judge in domestic abuse criminal cases, and goes hand in hand with conditions by the alleged perpetrator being released from jail on bond or otherwise awaiting his or her criminal hearing. The No Contact Order prohibits contact between the defendant and the victim.

Whether there is a Civil Protective Order (PO) or a criminal No Contact order, the penalties for violating the Order can be harsh, including criminal, jail time, revoking of the terms of release awaiting a trial, etc.

Because both a Civil Protective Order, and a Criminal No Contact Order often arise out of domestic (family) disputes, it can be easy to confuse these two different types of Orders. Both seek to protect victims of domestic violence.

We hope that you have found this information to be helpful in understanding the differences between a Civil Protective Order and a No Contact Order in Indiana. This is not intended to be legal advice. If you have questions or concerns about your specific case, Dixon & Moseley, P.C. can help evaluate your specific case. This blog post was written by Attorney, Lori B. Schmeltzer.

  1. ICPOA

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Dixon & Moseley, P.C., is a law firm located in Indianapolis, Indiana. We serve clients in six core practice areas: family lawappellate practicefirearms lawgeneral practicepersonal injury and criminal law.

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