New Haven Protective Order Attorney

In almost every New Haven domestic violence case, the police department or court will issue an Order of Protection (also commonly called a Protective Order) at your first court appearance. These protective orders limit the amount of contact you can have with a “protected person” while your case is underway. While these orders are common, especially in domestic violence cases, there are still steps a New Haven protective order attorney can take to help.

Classifications of Protective Orders

There are three types of protective orders that vary in terms of the conduct that is prohibited. The first level is a limited protective order and is tied to specific statutory definitions. A limited protective order prevents someone from engaging in threatening, abusive, harassing, assaultive conduct with the protected party.

The second type of protective order is a residential stay away, in which those same conditions apply. However, the individual is usually not allowed to go within 100 yards of the protected party’s home or residence.

One thing worth noting is that a residence is not limited to one address. The residence is only where the person is living. If the party is initially living at 100 Maine Street, and moves to 125 Maine Street, the residence also changes with that party; it moves with the protected person. Additionally, if the parties live together this can have the consequence of immediately evicting the defendant.

The final type of protective order is a full no-contact order that prohibits a person from having any contact whatsoever with the protected party. That includes emails, phone calls, texts, tweets; any method the parties use to communicate. Any communication directed towards the protected party is a violation of the protective order. This is the most restrictive protective order in Connecticut.

The protective order stays in effect through the entire duration of the criminal case. It is possible to modify a protective order, but the protective order without further modification remains in effect until the case is disposed. This means some sort of plea bargain is reached between the prosecution and a New Haven protective order lawyer; the case is dismissed; or there is a trial.

Modifying a Protective Order

In terms of modifying a protective order, each court has its own procedures and requirements to do so. Although they are not written in stone and are not provided for in statute, most of the courts require a hearing on the issue. A person or their protective order attorney in New Haven must submit a motion, bring it to the court’s attention, and meet with family services. Often, one of the few things that is consistent is that every court requires the complainant is made aware of the request.

Before considering a modification, most courts require the person to have engaged in treatment. Rarely do the courts consider a modification unless the complainant is in agreement with the modification. This is usually how protective orders are modified.

Challenging a Protective Order

There are situations where someone can challenge the protective order under a Connecticut case, State v. Fernando A (pdf).

Modification of a protective order can be accomplished through a collaborative approach, which is typically more effective. Or a person can go to a hearing and challenge the validity of the protective order and whether the state can meet its burden to prove that the complainant has sufficient allegations to warrant the protective order.

Impact of a Protective Order

The purpose of a protective order in the eyes of the court is to prevent further issues between the complainant and the defendant. There are three degrees of protective orders in Connecticut.  Protective orders are issued immediately and may have a great impact on the individual’s life as the case moves forward through the court process. If a person violates the protective order; that will put them in a more precarious position because they will be arrested again for another offense: violation of protective order.

This is a Class D felony and carries a maximum five years in jail. Most importantly, the court and the prosecutor view this violation of the court’s order as an indication the person does not follow the court orders. Often, the new charge of violation of a protective order is more serious than the original charge.

Violation of a Protective Order

If you violate any part of the protective order, that is considered a new and distinct crime from the original crime. In fact, it is a Class D Felony carrying a penalty of up to 5 years in jail. Even if you are innocent of the original arrest that led to the protective order being issued, if you violate the protective order, you will have committed a new crime which Connecticut courts take very seriously. Therefore, if you are accused of violating a protective order, it is imperative you contact a New Haven protective order attorney to help protect and assert your rights.