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Connecticut Domestic Violence Restraining / Protective Orders

If you are arrested in Stamford, Ridgefield, Westport, or Wilton Connecticut for Disorderly Conduct, Domestic Violence Assault, Violation of a Protective Order, Strangulation or any other domestic violence crime, then you will be required to report to Connecticut domestic violence court on the next business morning for your first court date, which is also known as the “arraignment.” At this court hearing, the arraignment court judge holds a protective / restraining order hearing will determine whether you will be allowed to go back to your home while your Connecticut domestic violence case is pending.

Your First Connecticut Domestic Violence Court Date – The Protective / Restraining Order Hearing

The actual charges against you are not the focus of this first court appearance. Instead, the judge is more concerned about the safety of you and your family if you are allowed to return home. As a result, the judge will listen to the arguments and recommendations of the prosecutor, your top Connecticut criminal lawyer, the bail commissioner, and a court-appointed family relations officer. On behalf of the alleged victim, the restraining order judge will also hear argument from the victim, their attorney, or a court-appointed victim advocate. The judge listens carefully to all of these participants to assess the safety risks of permitting you to have contact with your accuser and return home. As any of the best Connecticut domestic violence criminal lawyers would likely agree, the courts take very conservative approaches to these hearings and will generally tend to err on the side of caution prior to allowing you back into your home, especially if the criminal charges against you are felonies or serious misdemeanors.

So how can you position yourself in the best possible light with the judge during this Connecticut protective / restraining order hearing at your first domestic violence court date? The answer is to first consult with a top Stamford, Greenwich, Westport or Fairfield Connecticut domestic violence criminal lawyer who can guide you through the pre-hearing interviews and then represent you in court at that first court date for your Connecticut domestic violence arrest. You will be asked to interview with a Family Relations Officer who reports back to the judge. You may also be asked to speak at your protective / restraining order hearing. Remember that whatever you say can be used against you so be very careful about what information you offer and what admissions you make to anyone at court.

The 3 Types of Connecticut Domestic Violence Protective Orders

As a matter of course for all Connecticut domestic violence arrests, the Connecticut criminal court judge will usually issue a criminal protective / restraining order that falls into one of three types of categories: Full No Contact, Full, or Partial. As any of the best Stamford or Fairfield criminal lawyers would inform you, a “Full No Contact” protective order is the most serious, forbidding any kind of contact whatsoever with the protected person. Phone calls, emails, text messages, emails, Instagram and Facebook messages, or any other kind of electronic communications are strictly prohibited and could get you arrested in Connecticut for felony Violation of Criminal Protective Order under CGS 53a-223 , even if the victim / protected person emailed or called you first.

The second category of protective orders is called a “Full / Residential Stay-Away” protective order. With these orders, you are permitted to have verbal, physical and electronic contact with the protected persons, but you are not permitted to enter their home or place of employment. This means that even if you are dropping off your kids at your own house, you are not permitted to walk them into the home. While it’s awkward and upsetting to a parent not to be able to enter their own home in front of their children, you need to know that police strictly and technically enforce these protective orders and will arrest you in Stamford, Fairfield, Darien, Wilton or anywhere else in Connecticut for felony Violation of Protective Order under CGS 53a-223.

Finally, the last category of protective / restraining orders in Connecticut is the “Partial” or “Limited” protective order. These orders allow physical, verbal and electronic contact of every kind. The only restriction is that you are not permitted to “threaten, intimidate, assault, harass, or stalk” the protected person. Seems easy enough to follow? Not quite. The top Stamford and Fairfield Connecticut domestic violence criminal lawyers will sometimes see victims and people protected by partial protective orders use them as swords—not protective shields—meaning they may try and bait you into violating these orders by getting you to lose your temper, swear at them, or threaten or intimidate them. Yes, swearing and cursing out a protected person over email or voicemail can be a violation of a criminal protective order. In cases like these, the victims then report your threatening behavior to the police in an attempt to have you arrested in Connecticut for Violation of a Criminal Protective Order under CGS 53a-223. Therefore, be very careful not to swear and not to be verbally abusive to the protected person if you have a Partial / Limited protective order hanging over your head during your Norwalk or Stamford Connecticut domestic violence arrest for Disorderly Conduct, Strangulation, Assault, or any other domestic violence crime.

Can I Modify My Connecticut Domestic Violence Protective Order?

Yes, but not without making a motion to the court, appearing at a modification hearing, and having the court order its modification. Just because the victim / accuser says you can come back home does not mean you are permitted to – you must get permission from the judge. Otherwise you can find yourself arrested again in Connecticut for felony Violation of Protective Order under CGS 53a-223. The steps for modifying a Connecticut domestic violence protective order can be cumbersome and confusing. While you can click here for a detailed discussion of how to modify your protective order, we will briefly try to cover the process for you in broad strokes. First, a motion must be filed with the court that outlines the legal and factual grounds for your modification motion. Next, your top Connecticut criminal lawyer attorney will advise you to meet with the court’s family relations officer. This is someone who you likely already met with at the beginning of your case and has been monitoring your case on behalf of the judge. Be sure to prepare with your attorney prior to your interview with the family relations officer, because anything you say during this meeting can be used against you. Based on your interview, the family relations officer will make a recommendation to the judge regarding your modification motion. During this time, your attorney will act as a liaison among you, the family relations officer, the prosecutor, and even the victim’s attorney, because all of them will have an opportunity to be heard by the judge at your Connecticut protective order modification hearing. Finally, at the hearing, your attorney will make legal and factual arguments, present witnesses, and prepare documentary evidence for the court’s consideration. The judge will then make a decision regarding the order. If a modification is granted, it will take effect the same day, and an updated protective / restraining order will be immediately provided to your local police department.

Contact a Stamford, Danbury, Norwalk or Bridgeport Domestic Violence Criminal Lawyer Today

So if you have been arrested for a domestic violence crime and are required to appear in Bridgeport, Danbury, Norwalk or Stamford criminal court, then get in touch with an experienced domestic violence lawyer at Mark Sherman Law today. As you can see, your first court date is too critical to go it alone. Our attorneys have appeared in hundreds of restraining order hearings and will aggressively argue for the least restrictive protective / restraining order. Call us today at (203) 358-4700. We are available 24/7 to take your call.

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