So, something happened, and there is now either a criminal protection order or a civil protection order that mandates you have no contact with the opposing party or alleged victim of a criminal charge. You know you are not allowed to contact him or her. But then you receive that text message. It’s innocent enough. The text asks something like “did you remember to mail the check for the utilities?” Or it says that she’s “really, really sorry, can we just talk about it?” And the temptation begins. You know you are not allowed to contact her—the judge said so. But, she contacted you first. It’s okay to just respond as long as you didn’t initiate the contact, right? Wrong.
The above scenario is one we see often in our practice. The message might seem legitimate, earnestly requesting information that your significant other needs. Or it might seem like an attempt to reconcile. Or it might be some nasty and hurtful comment. Truthfully, it doesn’t matter what it is. You cannot respond. Avoid the urge. Take a cold shower. Leave your phone at home and take a walk around the neighborhood. Wash your car while singing the theme to Scooby Doo. Do anything–but DO NOT respond!
The fact is that it doesn’t matter if the opposing party initiates the communication, there is no order preventing him or her from contacting you. However there IS an order preventing you from contacting the opposing party! They can text you all day long and it is perfectly legal. However, the moment you send a single response—even a response telling them to stop texting you – you are in technical violation of your protection order. Make no mistake, many people are wily and clever enough to use this situation to get their significant other charged with a new offense, thus either getting some sick satisfaction from seeing him or her spending another night in jail, or else to get more of an advantage in the divorce action they’re planning on filing next week. You would be shocked at how often this happens.
As a criminal attorney, it is my job to advise you on how to avoid more trouble. And the advice in this situation is so very simple: No contact means NO CONTACT. Not for any reason. That is the only way to ensure you do not pick up a new case with the grief, expense, and penalties that will go with it. The first step in managing legal trouble is not making the legal trouble worse. So find some way to distract yourself, whatever it takes for you to avoid the temptation to respond!