Some social media platforms, such as Facebook, let you tag people in posts. Although this feature allows you to show who's in a picture or alert someone of a story they might be interested in, instances exist in which such action could be considered criminal conduct and result in a charge. One such case is when you are subject to a no-contact order.
What's a No-Contact Order?
In some criminal cases, a judge may issue a no-contact order to restrict the alleged offender from directly or indirectly communicating with the alleged victim, anyone they live with, or their immediate family members.
Typically, no-contact orders are issued in the following types of matters:
- Domestic abuse assault
- First-, second-, or third-degree sexual abuse
A judge will issue the no-contact order if they:
- Find probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed; and
- Believe that issuing the order will protect the alleged victim and/or their family from harm
What's important to note about a no-contact order is that you may be subject to it even before your criminal case concludes. Usually, it issued after you are taken into custody and have attended your initial appearance. This means for the duration of the order, you cannot have any contact with the alleged victim even though you have not been found guilty of an offense.
For the most part, a no-contact order will expire after your case concludes. However, it can be modified and extended for up to 5 years. Thus, your life can be severely restricted, as who you may be able to see or talk to will be limited.
Why Is Posting on Facebook a Chargeable Offense?
When you tag someone on Facebook, the person gets a notification and then can read/view whatever post you've tagged them in. This constitutes contact, which violates a no-contact order. If you're accused of violating the conditions of your order, a police officer is required to arrest you.
The punishments you could face for violating a no-contact order depend on the underlying offense you were charged with. In some cases, a violation is considered contempt, and being found guilty or held in contempt is punishable by a minimum jail sentence of 7 days. This term of incarceration cannot be deferred or suspended.
If the no-contact order was issued as a result of an alleged domestic abuse assault, a violation is considered a simple misdemeanor. A conviction is punishable by a fine of up to $625 and/or a jail term of up to 30 days.