Hartford Protective Order Violations Defense Attorneys
Representing clients charged with restraining order offenses in Hartford & Manchester, CT
Accusations and allegations of domestic violence can be shocking and devastating. In some situations, domestic violence charges and protective order violations can be an overreaction to an argument that spiraled out of control. Unfortunately, once the police get involved, you can find yourself facing an arrest, charges, and your life turned upside down.
It’s important to note that restraining orders are handled in civil courts, but violating an order is a criminal offense. Something as simple as you sending a text message or making a quick phone call can result in criminal charges and even jail time. If you’ve had a restraining order issued against you, or have been arrested for violating a protective order, you need experienced legal guidance. The Hartford domestic violence defense attorneys at Barry, Barall & Spinella, LLC can help. Contact our offices today.
What to do if a protective order is filed against you
If someone files a protective order against you, the most important thing you can do is comply with the terms of the order immediately and completely. Your next step should be contacting a criminal defense attorney experienced in restraining order law. An attorney provides valuable legal knowledge to help reduce the risk of violating the order, as well as advise you on the possibilities of modifying the order to make it less restrictive.
What are the different types of restraining orders in Hartford?
Restraining orders and orders of protection are court orders that require a person to stop engaging in certain types of behavior – typically most forms of contact with the alleged victim. Most restraining and protective orders arise from domestic disputes between family members or those involved in relationships.
A restraining order typically stops you from having contact with specific people, usually because you’ve been charged with a crime, or that person filed a claim with the court, claiming you harmed them in some way. The court can stop you from contacting another person two ways – through a criminal protective order and through a civil restraining order.
Criminal protective orders
Criminal protective orders are formal court orders, decided and entered by criminal court judges. These orders protect victims of alleged crimes from contact with the defendant. These types of orders accompany criminal charges. In domestic violence cases, the protected person is typically a spouse, family member, partner, or household member.
Once a criminal protective order is filed with the court, it stays active until the end of the criminal case or until it’s modified by a judge. Depending on the restrictions, protective orders greatly restrict or completely prohibit contact with the protected party. Typical orders include (from most restrictive to least restrictive):
- Full no contact
- Residential stay-away
- No threatening or harassing
A protective order means you can’t have direct or indirect contact with the other party – including having someone else contact the protected party on your behalf. Additionally, only a judge can modify or remove a criminal protective order. Even if the protected party gives you permission to resume contact, you can still be charged with violation of a restraining order if you do so.
Violation of a protective order is a Class D felony under CGS § 53a-223, with possible jail time of one to five years with fines and probation. Aggravating factors like violence or harassment can upgrade these charges to a Class C felony, with jail time of one to 10 years.
Civil restraining orders
Civil restraining orders are also formal court orders, decided and entered by civil court judges. These orders prohibit you from having contact with a specific person or people. However, unlike a criminal protective order, which is automatically imposed after a crime or domestic violence issue, the party that wants the restraining order must submit a formal request with a civil judge, by filing forms with the Hartford civil clerk.
Then there is the civil restraining order, which is a formal court order entered by a civil court judge. Its purpose is to restrain you from having contact with a certain designated person or persons. Unlike a criminal protective order, which is imposed automatically by the criminal court judge in domestic violence cases, the party that wants the civil restraining order needs to submit a formal written request to a civil judge. This happens by filing an application for a civil protection order with the civil clerk.
Civil restraining orders are generally limited to situations between family and household members, or in situations where the filing party states he or she is the victim of assault, sexual abuse, or stalking. After reviewing an application, a judge can either:
- Issue an immediate restraining order, which remains in effect for two weeks, followed by a hearing
- Not issue an immediate restraining order, but schedule a hearing within two weeks
At either hearing, the judge can dismiss the restraining order application, or impose the restraining order for up to a year. After the order expires, the filing party can apply to have the order extended.
Like a criminal order of protection, violation of a restraining order is a Class D felony with penalties of jail time of one to five years, along with fines and probation.
How do I know if I violated a restraining order?
If you have a protective or restraining order in place against you, any form of contact with that person – whether he or she is your partner, spouse, ex, or anyone close to you – can be considered a violation and end up in your arrest. Depending on the details of the judge’s order, you may be prohibited from:
- Returning back to your home or apartment
- Seeing your partner/spouse for any reason
- Sending e-mails
- Spending time with your children
- Texting, messaging, or calling
- Possessing firearms
Remember, the only person who may alter the terms of a protective order is a judge. Even if you and the other individual agree to mutually contact each other, a restraining order remains in place until a judge removes it.
Because restraining orders and protective orders go into effect almost immediately, if you receive one, it’s vital you get legal assistance as soon as possible. Our defense attorneys can explain the process, answer your questions, and help protect your rights.
Strategic Hartford restraining order violations defense lawyers
If you’ve had a protective order filed against you, it’s important to reach out for legal help immediately. The domestic violence defense attorneys at Barry, Barall & Spinella, LLC can help ensure you don’t violate the terms of the order, and work with you to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. Talk to our legal team today. We’re located on W. Center Street in Manchester. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys in Hartford or Manchester, please call 860-649-4400 or fill out our contact form.