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Defending Against Orders of Protection – CT

Fighting A Restraining Order in a Connecticut Divorce

Westport Divorce Lawyers defend parental rights and visitation for parties wrongfully accused of Domestic Violence in CT Family Court

Under our system of justice, every accused person is entitled to a vigorous defense. If you have been served with a family court restraining order, you have the right to defend your freedom and your reputation. At Needle|Cuda in Westport, our family law attorneys recognize that a petitioner requesting a restraining order may be making untrue allegations, perhaps to gain the upper hand in divorce or child custody litigation. We also understand that during family legal disputes, tensions are high. But that is not a reason to limit an innocent person’s freedom or to permit permanent damage to their reputation, or risk a more serious crime being charged. When you request our help, we act decisively to protect your rights.

What Are My First Steps If I Am Arrested For A Domestic Violence Crime?

As soon as you are arrested for a domestic violence crime, it is essential that you remain silent. You have the right to refuse to answer any questions asked by law enforcement as well as the Office of Family Relations. We have seen cases turn on even the smallest turn of phrases uttered by the accused. Don’t let this happen to you. Even if law enforcement officers try numerous times in numerous ways to get you to answer a question, you can keep refusing to answer the question until your lawyer is present.

The next step is to request to speak with a domestic violence attorney. The lawyers at Needle I Cuda are trained to speak with law enforcement and prosecutors, as well as the Office of Family Relations. Our experienced attorneys have the knowledge to know what to say and how to say it so that every word benefits your case and your interests. Let your attorney do the talking for you. When you request to call your attorney, call us at 203-557-9500, and we will be there for you. Do not speak with law enforcement or the Office of Family Relations without us by your side.

Next, if you are able, you will want to document any injuries you have received or any injuries sustained by the victim. If you need to seek medical attention, please take the time to seek medical attention. This is imperative, and it can be useful in your case later. By seeking medical attention right away, it will help us connect the injuries with the domestic violence occurrence. By documenting any other injuries or damage to property, we may be able to show that it was not your fault or that you did not have a role in the situation. With the technology that we all carry with us in our smartphones, this type of evidence may be easily produced, and it can be invaluable down the road.

Finally, when dealing with law enforcement, it is ideal to remain calm, cool, and collected. Be polite and insist upon exercising your right to remain silent and consult with an attorney. We are here for you if you need us.

What are Restraining Orders and Orders of Protection in Connecticut Divorce

The term “restraining order” refers to any court order that prohibits one person from contacting another. But orders are issued by different courts in different circumstances. The three main types under Connecticut law are:

  • Order of protection — This is a criminal court order, usually following an arrest, that prohibits a criminal defendant from approaching or contacting a complaining citizen. The order lasts as long as the criminal court case takes to conclude.
  • Civil restraining order — This order is issued by the family court when a petitioner fears domestic violence from a current or former family member or someone with whom they have had a cohabiting or dating relationship.
  • Civil order of protection — This family court order is available for victims of sexual assault, sexual abuse and stalking who cannot get a civil restraining order because their relationship to the alleged offender does not qualify.

In our practice, we most often deal with civil restraining orders, often in connection with divorce proceedings or child custody disputes.

What are the effects of a Connecticut Restraining Order?

Having a restraining order issued against you can damage your reputation, curtail your liberty and separate you from those you love. A typical restraining order can prohibit you from:

  • Contacting the petitioner at home, at work or anywhere in public
  • Living at home with your family
  • Seeing your children
  • Possessing firearms

The person obtaining the restraining order can make copies and distribute them to the police, your children’s school or daycare center and local businesses. Your reputation among people receiving the order may be damaged. While under a restraining order, you may have to pay support to your spouse and children. If you violate the order, you are subject to severe penalties, including high fines and prison time.

Fighting a Connecticut Restraining Order in a CT Family Court

An eligible petitioner can obtain a protective order in an ex parte proceeding, where you are not represented. If the court issues a temporary restraining order, you may have to move out of your home and stay away from your children until the court rescinds the order.

However, you are entitled to a hearing before the court issues a long term order. This hearing must take place within seven days if you own firearms or within 14 days of the ex-parte order being granted. At the hearing, you can tell your side of the story and call witnesses in your behalf. Possible outcomes include:

  • The court declines to issue a restraining order
  • The court issues a less restrictive restraining order
  • The court extends the restraining order, which may continue for up to one year or longer

Because you have so much at stake, you should retain capable counsel to protect your rights. We represent our clients assertively at hearings and work out acceptable compromises when we can.

Contact our Westport, CT family law attorneys to defend you against a Connecticut Restraining Order and protect your parental and visitation rights

Needle|Cuda in Fairfield County defends clients against family violence restraining orders throughout Connecticut. We provide highly responsive service and effective representation focused on positive results. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 203-557-9500 or contact our Westport office online.


Frequently Asked Questions and Answers If Arrested for Domestic Violence

In Connecticut, there are a few crimes that are commonly associated with domestic violence. These crimes vary in complexity and are handled very differently depending on the context of the offense in question. Crimes that are frequently charged as domestic violence offenses include:

    1. Disorderly conduct
    2. Breach of the peace
    3. Assault
    4. Sexual assault
    5. Threatening
    6. Unlawful restraint
    7. Strangulation
    8. Risk of injury to a minor
    9. Unlawful restraint
    10. Violation of an Order of Protection
    11. Coercive Control (non-physical abuse) **

** A new statutory definition in Connecticut as of 2021 added through Jennifers' Law.

The penalties for domestic violence greatly depend on the crime charged and the complexity of the situation involved. A domestic violence crime could be classified either as a misdemeanor or a felony. In either instance, it is likely that any serious domestic violence conviction will go on a criminal record, and it will be searchable by employers and other people interested in viewing such records.

There may also be fines, jail or prison time, and other consequences, such as probation or long-term monitoring handed down as elements of a DV-related sentence. In cases that involve sex crimes, the accused may also have to register with the state as a sex offender on a database that is searchable by the public. In many cases, registration on the list is an ongoing event and must be confirmed by the offender on a quarterly or yearly basis.

If you have been charged with a domestic violence offense, you may be wondering whether you will be required to serve jail time. Again, the court will look to all of the surrounding circumstances and the specific facts of the case at hand, but it is up to the court to determine the punishment of the defendant. In many cases we have handled, there is a very high chance that your case will be resolved without the imposition of a jail sentence.

However, just because you do not face a jail sentence doesn’t mean that a domestic violence conviction will not go on your criminal record and have other effects on your life, both personally and professionally. In addition to a criminal record, a criminal conviction can have adverse effects on your employment prospects, educational goals, housing options, and immigration status.

You may also face other penalties besides jail time. These may include a lengthened protective order or probation time, as well as fines and other punishments. If you are looking to avoid jail time, your best chance of achieving this goal will be engaging an experienced attorney to aggressively advocate on behalf of your rights and interests.

The legislature and court system in Connecticut have created a program that may prevent a defendant from going to trial in certain instances. This program is called the Family Violence Educational Program, or FVEP for short. This program, which is available to eligible defendants, provides education about family violence in lieu of sending certain offenders to trial. If you are interested in learning about whether you qualify for this program, speaking with an experienced attorney is a great place to start.

In order to determine whether you qualify for this program, you must first submit an application to the court. The court will weigh all of the relevant circumstances to see if you qualify based on the nature of the offenses committed. If the request is granted, you will then have to attend nine ninety-minute sessions, which all are focused on reducing family violence.

Upon completion of the program, as well as any other requirements the court has deemed necessary during the time period prescribed by the court, the court will likely dismiss the charges against you. These classes will likely be located near where you live, as they are offered by licensed community providers.

After the initial complaint and the charges have been filed against the defendant, you may wonder if the victim can have the charges dropped by the prosecutor. The answer is no. The victim cannot request to have the charges dropped against the defendant. This arrangement exists for the safety of all victims. Studies have shown that it is very common for a victim to request to have charges dropped against the defendant, only to have the defendant abuse them again. Even though they may want to reconcile, the courts will not allow this to happen.

It is important to remember that the state of Connecticut is prosecuting the defendant on behalf of the people of the state of Connecticut, so they want the public to be kept protected and safe from the defendant. The Courts have concern not only for the safety of the victim but for the safety of the victims that the defendant may also encounter if they are not properly punished for their first act of domestic violence.

If you are a victim of a case of domestic violence, it is important to have a Connecticut domestic violence lawyer on your side to help you navigate what the next steps should be and how you should handle them. The domestic violence lawyers at Needle I Cuda understand that it can be a very overwhelming time for you, and we can help you get the care you deserve. Contact our team of attorneys by calling 203-557-9500 or visiting us online.


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