Restraining Orders in Connecticut
Having a restraining order issued against you might not seem like that big of a deal, but it is nothing to scoff at. Regardless of whether you believe you deserved the restraining order, it can stay with you for many years because of the humiliation and social stigma that can accompany being served with this kind of legal order. Additionally, being served with a restraining order can negatively affect your professional reputation, interfere with employment background checks, and lead to further legal and personal damage if a court later finds that you violated the order.
If you have been served with a restraining order, it’s in your best interest to fight it with the help of an experienced domestic violence attorney who knows how to navigate Connecticut’s court system. A defense attorney can uncover the facts of your case to get a better understanding of why the order was issued and any potential defenses you have against the order. Contact Koffsky & Felsen, LLC at (203) 327-1500 to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team who can help you determine the best course of action for your individual circumstances.
Types of Restraining Orders Issued in Connecticut
Restraining order refers to a broad category of different types of restraining and protective orders that courts can issue under Connecticut Law. The following descriptions from Connecticut’s Judicial Branch can give you a better idea of the difference between the types of orders:
Family Violence Protective Orders
These orders emerge during criminal court cases to protect victims who have been stalked or assaulted by a family member. Courts issue this type of order at the time of arraignment, and they are typically the result of recommendations by the family relations or state’s attorney’s offices. Family violence protective orders are in effect from their date of issue until the completion of the associated criminal proceedings.
Protective Orders generally have three levels of severity:
- You might be issued a strict order to engage in no contact with the person named on the order.
- You may be able to have some contact with the person, but the order may forbid you from going to the person’s workplace or home.
- You might be issued a partial order that only permits non-threatening contact between you and the other person.
Civil Protection Orders
Connecticut law allows judges to issue civil protection orders for those who survived sexual abuse, sexual assault, or stalking. The alleged offender does not have to be a family member and does not have to have been arrested. Although a court might issue a different type of order extending protection later on, the alleged victim can seek an initial civil protection order through an application process including an affidavit and hearing, and the order cannot last for more than one year.
Standing Criminal Restraining Order
If you have been convicted of a family violence crime, at the conclusion of the case, a judge may issue a standing criminal restraining order. These orders are most often issued in severe cases and they are in effect until the court decides otherwise. In many cases, standing criminal restraining orders prohibit all contact between the parties, and last for the rest of the parties’ lives.
Ex Parte Restraining Order
A family court issues an ex parte restraining order when a member of the alleged offender’s family or household has filled out a restraining order application seeking immediate relief from abuse. A judge reviews the application and accompanying affidavit and may issue a temporary order, after which the court schedules a hearing. Ex parte restraining orders typically last for 14 days or until the date of the hearing, whichever is longer, but they can last for up to a year. Similarly to protective orders, ex parte relief from abuse orders might allow some contact, but may prohibit the alleged offender from threatening behavior or showing up at the victim’s home or workplace.
Potential Defenses to Restraining Orders
Unfortunately, some who apply for restraining orders against a spouse or partner do so as a way to embarrass or hurt them, even if they aren’t really fearful of contact with the alleged offender. This devalues the usefulness of restraining orders for victims who really need them and is unfair to those who don’t deserve to be served. Some potential defenses to restraining orders include:
- Old evidence. When a person applies for a restraining order against their spouse or partner they must provide recent evidence of abuse.
- Victim initiates contact. If your spouse or partner applied for a restraining order, yet continue to socialize with you, engage in sexual relations with you, and/or contact you for a wide variety of reasons, your attorney can argue that your spouse or partner does not really believe you are a threat to their personal safety.
- Invalid nature of the threat. Connecticut law requires a person to receive credible physical threats before a judge can issue a protective order or a restraining order. If you were served with an order because you threatened to sue, bankrupt, or otherwise financially ruin your partner or spouse, this type of threat does not justify an order; threats must be of a physical nature.
- Prove dishonesty. In some cases, those who apply for a restraining order simply lie. Defending against the order involves finding proof that the applicant lied on their application to have the order issued. Your attorney might use emails, texts, voicemails, phone records, emergency calls, police reports, and any other relevant evidence or facts to poke holes in the applicant’s story.
Get the Legal Help You Need Today from Koffsky & Felsen, LLC
If you have been served with a restraining order, it is in your best interest to seek an attorney’s advice. If you have children, a restraining order might prevent you from having contact with them. Also, once a restraining order is in place, authorities will enter your name in a national database that allows law enforcement to detain you longer during a traffic stop or border crossing. A restraining order can seriously affect your life. Contact the experienced defense attorneys at Koffsky & Felsen, LLC online or at (203) 327-1500 today to discuss your case.