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Facebook Friend Request Is Considered “Contact” in Domestic Violence Case

In just about all domestic battery cases in the counties in and around Jacksonville, Florida, the judge will place a no contact order on the defendant when he/she is released on bond while the case is pending. Even when the domestic battery case is very weak and looks like it may eventually be dropped, in the early stages of the case the judge does not know much about the case and will put a no contact condition in a defendant’s bond out of an abundance of caution. This means that the defendant cannot have any contact with the victim until the case is resolved or the no contact order is specifically lifted by the judge. This can be difficult in many domestic violence cases where the defendant and alleged victim are married, share children and/or live together. Sometimes, the defendant will have contact with the alleged victim because the alleged victim initiates or requests the contact. However, if things go badly and the police become involved, the police officer likely will not care that the alleged victim initiated the contact and arrest the defendant for violating the no contact provision of the bond. The same is true where one person gets a restraining order against another that prohibits any kind of contact.

In a recent case south of Jacksonville, Florida, the defendant was arrested for domestic battery, and the judge ordered that he have no contact with the victim when he bonded out on the charge. The defendant never called the victim or saw the victim, but he did send a Facebook friend request to her. The victim contacted the state about the friend request, and the state filed a motion to revoke the defendant’s bond based on a violation of the no contact provision of the bond. The judge agreed, and the defendant’s bond was revoked and he had to stay in jail while his domestic battery case was pending.

When a judge orders no contact with the victim, whether part of a bond, probation or a restraining order, that typically means no direct or indirect contact of any kind. This will likely include any messages sent by phone or over the internet. A simple message like this one can result in an arrest and a lot of unnecessary time in jail.