Civil Restraining Orders and Civil Orders of Protection in Connecticut
If you are a victim of violence, threats of violence, a pattern of harassment or stalking, you can apply to the Court for a Civil Restraining or Civil Protection Order. Civil Restraining Orders and Protection Orders are Orders from the Court that prohibit a person from contacting you in any way, and you can request orders that are specific to your concern.
Who can apply for a Restraining Order?
If you are a victim and you are or were in a domestic relationship with the person from whom you are seeking protection, you can apply to the Court for a Civil Restraining Order. A Civil Restraining Order is a Court order that can provide relief from physical abuse, stalking, or a pattern of threatening from a family or household member. Family or household members include spouses, former spouses, partners, former partners, people who share a child in common, parents or their children, individuals related by blood or marriage, and individuals who live or who have lived together (CGS §§ 46b-38a, 46b-15).
Who can apply for a Civil Order of Protection?
If you are a victim and you are not or were not in a domestic relationship with the person from whom you are seeking protection, you can apply to the Court for a Civil Order of Protection. An individual can apply to the Court for a Civil Order of Protection even if he or she is not a family or household member of the respondent. If he or she has been a victim of sexual abuse, sexual assault, or stalking, and there is no other Order of Protection in place, he or she can apply for a Civil Protective Order.
How long will a Restraining Order or a Civil Order of Protection be in effect?
Restraining Orders and Civil Orders of Protection are in effect for up to one year. Parties can file a motion to modify the Order, and a hearing will be set to determine whether that motion should be granted. Upon expiration of the Order, an applicant can move to extend the Restraining Order or Civil Order of Protection and a hearing will be set as to whether that application should be granted. As with the original hearing, the parties can present any relevant evidence that the Court should consider when ruling on the application.
What are the consequences for violating a Restraining Order or Civil Order of Protection?
Restraining Orders and Orders of Protection are civil in nature; however, a violation of a Court’s order is a felony offense and will be prosecuted in the criminal court.
Civil Restraining Orders must provide notice as to what constitutes a violation of 1st degree criminal trespass and criminal violation of a Restraining Order and the penalties. Violation of a Civil Restraining Order or a Civil Protection Order is a class D felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both. If the violation involves restraining, threatening, harassing, assaulting, sexually assaulting, molesting, or attacking the individual, such a violation is a class C felony, punishable by up to ten years in prison.
If a person enters or remains in or on the premises in violation of a Civil Restraining Order, he or she can be charged with Criminal Trespass in the 1st Degree. Criminal Trespass in the 1st Degree is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison. Violation of a Civil Protection Order is a class D felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
How do I apply for a Restraining Order or Civil Order of Protection?
To apply for a Restraining Order or Civil Order of Protection, you must file an application with the Court.
An application for a Restraining Order can be obtained here: https://www.jud.ct.gov/forms/grouped/family/restraining_order.htm
An application for a Civil Protection Order can be obtained here: https://jud.ct.gov/forms/grouped/civil/civil_protect_order.htm
When applying for either a Restraining Order or Civil Order of Protection, the applicant must fill out an affidavit stating what relief is requested and the basis for the Court to enter the Order. If you have a concern that the person from whom you are seeking the Restraining Order or Civil Order of Protection has weapons or can access a firearm, you should indicate those concerns on the application.
The Court will schedule a hearing for the application to be heard. Notice must be provided to the other party and the hearing must be scheduled within 14 days of the respondent receiving notice of the application. If there is an immediate and present threat to the applicant, the Court can issue an ex parte Order prior to the date of the hearing. Ex parte orders are most commonly orders granted in cases of emergency and can act as temporary restraining or protective orders that are issued without the other party being present.
Can a Restraining Order and Order of Protection be extended to protect other individuals other than the applicant?
Yes, you can include your children, and even pets, on the application.
What can the Court do to protect the applicant?
The Court can order that the party stay away from you and that he or she not contact you in any way, either directly or through a third party. If you have children in common, this Order may extend to your children, but it may provide for visitation, with or without supervisions. Other conditions the Court may impose include but are not limited to:
- Order that the respondent not restrain the applicant;
- Order that the respondent not threaten, harass or assault (sexually or otherwise) the applicant; and/or
- Order that the respondent not enter the applicant’s home (even if the individual lived in the home at the time the application was filed).
The Court will ensure that the applicant is protected financially; a victim should not be discouraged from coming forward and taking steps to protect him or herself due to financial concerns. The Court can enter the following orders to prevent the respondent from imposing financial harm on the applicant, including the following:
- Prohibiting the respondent from engaging in conduct that could affect an applicant’s access to necessary services related to the family’s or the applicant’s home;
- Prohibiting the respondent from engaging in conduct that could affect the applicant’s or applicant’s children’s health, automobile, health or homeowners’ insurance coverage;
- Prohibiting the respondent from transferring, encumbering, concealing, or disposing of specified property the applicant owns or leases; and/or
- Requiring the respondent to provide the applicant with necessary personal effects so that he or she has access to necessities such as a car, checkbook, health documents, car or homeowners insurance, forms of identity, keys, or other necessary personal effects. The Court may also order the respondent to stay current with rent or mortgage payments and/or utilities or other necessary services and financially support minor children (CGS § 46b-115(c)).
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