Modifying the Standard No Contact Order in Hillsborough County, FL

Chief Judge Ronald N. Ficarrotta recently signed Administrative Order S-2015-053 addressing the Standard No-Contact Order on September 29, 2015. The new administrative order is intended to comply with recent amendments to section 903.047 related to the conditions of pretrial release.

If the case has a "victim," the automatic and standard "no contact" provision will be imposed. The prohibition is absolute until modified by the court.

In many of these cases, some types of contact between the accused and the alleged victim is justified. In many of these cases, this new absolute ban on any contact would result in a serious injustice. The injustice often leaves even the alleged victim feeling frustrated and disgruntled with the criminal justice system.

It can also result in a serious financial hardship on people in the system. Bills can't be paid, children can't get to school, doctor appointments are missed, and people can't go to work or back to their home. Many people caught up in the system might be forced to resolve their case just so that life can get back to normal even if the underlying charges are unfounded.

Any violation of the standard no contact condition can resolve in the accused person being held for the duration of the case on "no bond." Additionally, any violation could result in additional charges being filed even if the original case later proves to be unfounded.

Trial judges in Florida should be trusted to impose this condition of release as necessary on a case-by-case basis. Adding it every time will mean that many of these defendants and alleged victims will have to come back to court to seek an emergency modification of the no contact condition.

Florida law already provided for an automatic no contact provision in domestic violence cases, it is hard to imagine a reason for imposing it automatically in every kind of case.

Modifying the No Contact Condition under 903.047(2)

Individuals who cannot afford a private attorney to file the "motion to modify" will be at a particular disadvantage. The order handed out to the accused person does not even discuss the procedure to seek a "motion to modify" the no contact provision as set out in 903.047(2).
 903.047 Conditions of pretrial release. - 
(2) Upon motion by the defendant when bail is set, or upon later motion properly noticed pursuant to law, the court may modify the condition required by paragraph (1)(b) if good cause is shown and the interests of justice so require.

The victim shall be permitted to be heard at any proceeding in which such modification is considered, and the state attorney shall notify the victim of the provisions of this subsection and of the pendency of any such proceeding. 

The New Procedures for the No Contract Provision in Tampa 

Under the other provisions of 903.047, the court must impose a Standard No Contact Order in all criminal cases involving a victim.

The Standard No Contact Order provides defendants with written notice of the meaning of “no contact” and has immediate effect and enforceability.

Under the new administrative order in Hillsborough County, all defendants who are arrested for a criminal offense involving a victim and who are released from custody on pretrial release are hereby subject to the Standard No Contact Order.

In accordance with section 903.047(1)(b), Florida Statutes, each defendant identified in section 1 of this administrative order must receive a copy of the Standard No Contact Order before the defendant is released from custody on pretrial release.

Additionally, the terms of the no contact order do not prohibit an attorney for the defendant, consistent with the rules regulating The Florida Bar, from communicating with any person protected by the no contact order for lawful purpose.

This Standard No Contact Order in no way prevents the Court from imposing additional conditions of release on a case-by-case basis.


Standard No Contact Order

As a condition of your pretrial release, this no contact order has been issued in your case. You are prohibited from any contact of any type with the victim, except through pretrial discovery rules.

This order of no contact is effective immediately and enforceable for the duration of your pretrial release or until this order is modified by the court.

The term “no contact” includes the following prohibited acts:
  1. Communicating orally or in any written form, either in person, telephonically, electronically, or in any other manner, either directly or indirectly through a third person, with the victim or any other person named in the order.
  2. Having physical or violent contact with the victim or other named person or his or her property.
  3. Being within 500 feet of the victim’s or other named person’s residence, even if the defendant and the victim or other named person share the residence.
  4. Being within 500 feet of the victim’s or other named person’s vehicle, place of employment, or a specified place frequented regularly by such person.
If the victim and the defendant have children in common, at the request of the defendant, the court may designate an appropriate third person to contact the victim for the sole purpose of facilitating the defendant’s contact with the children.

Finding an Attorney in Tampa to Modify the No Contact Provision

If you need a criminal defense attorney to modify the no contact provision imposed in your case then contact a criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm.

Call 813-250-500 to discuss the facts of your case and ways to modify this condition so that no violations of pretrial release can be alleged. 

Using a Expert in a Medical Marijuana Necessity Defense Case in Florida

I recently had the privilege of talking with Dr. Stephen Blythe, D.O., a Board-Certified Family Physician about the Maine Medical Marijuana Program (MMMP). His experience with patients in a state where medical marijuana has been approved will help educate judges and juries throughout Florida.

For criminal defense attorneys in Florida interested in having Dr. Blythe review your case you can contact him at His fax number is 877-220-0488. His training and experience make him particularly suited to help criminal defense attorneys who have clients that possessed or cultivated marijuana because of a medical necessity.

In most cases, the medical necessity defense is a defense asserted at trial. Therefore, having an expert testify about the medical necessity of the marijuana use, cultivation or possession is critical. Read more about Florida's necessity defense as it related to the possession, use, or cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes

Dr. Stephen Blythe recently moved back to Melbourne, Florida, after practicing in rural Washington County, Maine, for five years. He is anxious to share his experiences and what he has learned about medical marijuana with his patients and colleagues in Florida.

He would be willing to testify on behalf of any Floridian arrested for what is clearly medical use of marijuana. He looks forward to the legalization of medical marijuana in 2016, but knows that the approval of the referendum will be just the beginning of a long struggle for acceptance of medical marijuana as part of a treatment regimen.

Dr. Blythe is a Board-Certified Family Physician. He graduated from MIT with a BS in Biology in 1974. He has worked in a broad range of health care settings: rural medicine (where he delivered babies and made house calls), refugee medicine, academic medicine (teaching medical students and resident physicians), and emergency medicine.

Prior to going to medical school he worked as a dialysis technician. He discovered that a number of his patients regularly used illegal marijuana prior to their dialysis sessions to lessen the nausea and vomiting associated with that procedure.

He has studied plant medicines for decades – since he experienced first-hand their usefulness: high in the Andes suffering debilitating headaches from the altitude an old Quechua Indian showed him that the leaves of the minty muño plant could be crushed and the vapor inhaled to make the headache go away. It was very effective, but like with many plant medicines, it has never been studied for its potential as a medicine – in this case for migraine headaches.

Dr. Blythe has made several trips to the rainforests of the Americas with Dr. James Duke (author of “The Green Pharmacy”) to study medicinal plants in the rainforest and how they are used by rainforest inhabitants. He is very enthusiastic about medical marijuana; he has seen first-hand how very useful it is in the treatment of a number of conditions such as PTSD, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), Chrohn's disease, and chronic pain.

He has also written a book for his patients: “Medical Marijuana: A Patient Guidebook” (available on Amazon).

Seal and Expunge an Arrest Record in Tampa, FL

If you are considering sealing or expunging your criminal record in Tampa or Hillsborough County, FL, then consider some of the main reasons why the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) might fail to process the application.

After the FDLE receives your application for a Certification of Eligibility in accordance with Florida Statute 943.0585 and 943.059, it might fail to process the application for any of the following reasons:
  • (  ) A written certified statement from the appropriate state attorney or statewide prosecutor as shown on the enclosed application, Section B, must be provided. 
  • (  ) A $75 processing fee must be submitted to FDLE, by a cashier's check, certified check, money order or personal check.
  • (  ) A certified copy of the final disposition of the charges to which the application pertains must be provided.
  • (  ) The enclosed fingerprint card must be submitted as part of the application. The fingerprint card must be completed by a law enforcement agency.
  • (  ) Section A of the Application for Certification of Eligibility must be completed in its entirety. 
The FDLE might also need additional information including a certified disposition for any charge that it finds during its investigation. If no information is available then the FDLE will instruct you to please provide certified documentation from the Clerk of Courts, the State Attorney, and the arresting agency Stating: "No information is available."

The completed application must then be returned to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Criminal Justice Information Services Expunge Section.

 Many people hire us after attempting to seal or expunge the record without an attorney only to find that some small mistake caused the application to be returned unprocessed. Those small mistakes can cause big delays because it normally takes 6 - 10 months to seal or expunge the record.

Additionally, we also contact the private data mining companies (like mugshot .com or arrests .com) to demand that they take down your mug shot and web page without charge. Sometimes hiring an attorney to help you with the process to expunge or seal and record can save you time, money and frustration.

For more information on sealing or expunging a criminal arrest record in Tampa or Hillsborough County, then visit our main website.