No Contact Order A Condition of Prison Sentence? No Way!

On June 3, 2015, the Ohio Supreme Court determined that a no contact order is a community control sanction in its decision on State v. Anderson, Slip Opinion No. 2015-Ohio-2089, ¶ 17. In other words, if a Defendant was sentenced to a prison term for an offense, he or she cannot also receive a no contact order on the same offense.

In Anderson, the Defendant was sentenced on rape and kidnapping offenses and received a prison term for each offense. The trial court also imposed a no-contact order with the victim of the offenses. The Defendant appealed.

On review, the Ohio Supreme Court noted that when a trial court is sentencing a defendant on a felony offense, there are two alternatives: a term of imprisonment or community control sanctions. Id., ¶ 21-23. These alternatives are mutually exclusive, meaning, the trial court must choose either a prison term or community control sanctions. Furthermore, there is no exception to the rule that the court cannot impose a prison term and a community control sanction for the same offense. Id. at ¶ 32.

Does this mean that a no contact order may never be imposed? No. Here’s why – after a Defendant has served the prison term, he or she may be released subject to post-release control. Conditions of post-release control are set by the Adult Parole Authority (“APA”). Post-release controls are the post-conviction version of community control sanctions. Where community control sanctions are imposed in place of a prison term, post-release “controls” are imposed in the place of parole supervision. A no contact order could be issued as part of those controls if the APA makes the determination that there is a present or ongoing threat. The APA rarely fails to impose a no contact condition if they feel the Defendant poses a continuing threat to a victim.

If you have questions about your community control sanctions or post-release control, we can help. If you have questions about your loved-one’s prison term or supervision terms and what can be done to change them, contact us today and speak with one of our experienced attorneys. We will always defend your rights, as we would want ours defended.