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Pretrial Release in DC Domestic Violence Cases

When an individual has been arrested on a domestic violence charge in the District of Columbia and they have had their arraignment hearing, the judge will have the choice of releasing them, or detaining them until the date of their trial. If the individual is considered to be reliable and unlikely to be a flight risk, the judge will generally be more likely to grant the pretrial release. When the individual is represented by a DC domestic violence attorney, their attorney can argue in front of the judge for the granting of a pretrial release.

Arguments for Pretrial Release

DC lawyers may argue a variety of points in an effort to have their client released from jail after their arraignment. For example, an attorney may argue that the client has family ties to the community, employment ties to the community, a lack of past criminal history, and a good record of appearing at court proceedings. These are all reasons which will assure the judge that the client will appear for all related court hearings and the client’s release will not endanger the safety of the community.

No Contact Order

A judge will impose any conditions he or she feels are necessary to ensure the safety of the community. Some common conditions a judge may impose in a domestic violence case include a “no contact” order with the alleged victim, a stay-away order from the alleged victim, an order prohibiting the possession of a firearm or any other dangerous weapon, and an order prohibiting the excessive consumption of alcohol or marijuana.

When a judge orders a person to have no contact with another person, it means that he or she is prohibited from contacting that person in any way. No contact includes in-person, telephone, email, internet, text, or any form of social media.

It also means that he or she cannot contact the other person through a third person. For example, if a person has a no contact order in place, that person cannot give a friend or family member a message to relay to the other person. They cannot have a third party contact the person on their own behalf.

Violating No Contact Order

If someone violates a no contact order in DC , it is possible that they will face criminal contempt charges. A criminal contempt proceeding can be initiated by either the prosecutor or a judge. A criminal contempt hearing will be held and the court will decide whether or not the individual intentionally violated a condition of their release. In this case, it would be a violation of the no contact order.

It is important that the accused individual refrain from contacting the other party involved if a judge has ordered them to have no contact. If they violate a no contact order and are found guilty of criminal contempt for a violation of a condition of their release, it is likely that the judge will impose contempt sanctions. The maximum punishment for a violation of a condition of release is six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.

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