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 TampaUnder 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.
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:
- 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.
- Having physical or violent contact with the victim or other named person or his or her property.
- 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.
- 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.
Finding an Attorney in Tampa to Modify the No Contact ProvisionIf 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.