A stay-away order is a court order issued in a criminal case. They are most frequently issued in domestic violence cases, however they can be issued by the court against anybody accused of any crime against a person, or against property.
Stay-away orders can be issued by the court at any stage of the criminal process. In most domestic violence cases, stay-away orders are issued at the bond hearing.
The stay-away order will be made a condition of the accused's pretrial release. Violating a stay-away order is considered contempt of court, as it is a violation of a judge's order.
A standard stay-away order forbids contact between two parties. That means, the accused must stay 500 feet away from the accuser until the order is modified.
If the accused and the accuser live together, the accused must contact the police department (Miami-Dade Police Department for Miami-Dade cases, Broward Sheriff's Office for Broward cases) within 48 hours of their release from jail. The police will escort the accused to their home where they can gather their belongings. After that, the accused must find another place to stay until the order is modified.
Modifying stay-away orders is also very common, especially in domestic violence cases. Remember, when the cops are called out for a domestic violence matter, somebody is going to jail. That's just the law of the land. Gone are the days of police officers telling feuding spouses just to "work it out."
So after things have cooled down, accused and accuser may want to reconcile and live together again. A stay-away order can be modified provided the alleged victim comes to court and explains to the judge that he or she is not afraid of the defendant and wishes to live with them again. The judge will then modify the stay-away order, permitting the accused to return home, or for accused and accuser to be together again.
In non-domestic cases, stay-away orders can also be issued as condition of bond. For instance, in any violent crime situation, such as a robbery or aggravated battery, the judge will almost always order the accused to stay away from the alleged victim.
In a property crime situation, such as a burglary, the judge may order the accused to stay away from the alleged victim's home or place of business, depending on the charge.
A stay-away order may also be issued as a part of a sentence. Either by plea bargain or by judicial ruling, an accused person who accepts a guilty plea or is found guilty may be ordered to stay-away from the subject matter of the charge. This may include a person (an alleged victim) or a property (home or business allegedly burglarized).
If the accused is offered Pretrial Diversion/Pretrial Intervention, the stay-away order may be a condition of the program. Violating the stay-away order will result in being kicked out of PTD or PTI.
If the accused is placed on probation, the stay-away order will be a condition of probation. Violating it will result in a probation violation.
Stay-away orders usually contain the following language:
"The Defendant is prohibited from having any contact with the following named person(s), hereinafter the victim (NAME OF VICTIM), directly or indirectly, in person, in writing, by telephone, pager, fax, or through third persons. Defendant must stay at least 500 feet away from the victim, the victim's home, place of employment, and/or school at all times."
This means that a stay-away order prohibits direct or indirect contact. Direct contact would obviously mean contacting the person. Indirect contact would be contact through a third-party (sending messages to the alleged victim through another person). Also, electronic contact, such as texting, Facebook messages, or Twitter postings, would constitute a violation.
A violation of a stay-away order can result in the revocation of bond, if a stay-away order is a pretrial release condition. That means, the accused will remain in jail without a bond pending the outcome of their case.
Stay-away orders are serious and can result in jail time if violated. Call me today to discuss your case.