Violation of Civil Restraining Orders in Connecticut

Civil restraining orders are very much like criminal protective orders. In fact, as many criminal lawyers would explain, the terms “restraining order” and “protective order” may mistakenly be used interchangeably in Connecticut domestic violence court.

However, the distinction is that a criminal protective order is issued by a criminal court, and arises from an arrest in Connecticut for a domestic violence crime such as Disorderly Conduct, Third Degree Assault, or Strangulation. On the other hand, a civil restraining order is issued after a hearing in a Connecticut family court, and is not triggered by an arrest. .

We frequently see baseless and unjustified arrests for Violations of Civil Restraining Orders, especially when jilted spouses and significant others set someone up or bait them into getting arrested for violating a civil restraining order. Even the most harmless types of communication such as a Facebook or Instagram posting, or an email or text message, can get you arrested for Violation of a Civil Restraining Order under CGS 53a-223b. This is a felony arrest in Connecticut that should be taken seriously.

Types of Civil Restraining Orders

If you are subject to a civil restraining order in Connecticut, then the order will probably fall under one of three types of restraining order categories that vary in the degree of restrictions that they impose upon your contact with a protected person.

The least restrictive of these three civil restraining orders is a “limited” or “partial” restraining order, which allows all types of visitation and contact with the protected person and only forbids you from threatening, intimidating or harassing them. The next type of civil restraining order that can be issued by a family court judge is a “full” or “residential stay-away” restraining order in Connecticut.

This order includes all of the restrictions of a “limited” or “partial” order, but also forbids you from entering the protected person’s place of employment or home, even if that home is yours and you pay the rent or mortgage! Finally, the last category of restraining order is the “full no contact” order which includes all of the conditions of a “partial or limited” order, as well as a “full / residential stay-away” order.

Additionally, a Connecticut full no contact restraining order prohibits any kind of contact or visitation with the protected person, no matter where they reside. If you are issued a “full no contact” order, then you may not have any kind of contact with the protected person, even if they are the mother or father of your children.

In addition to the typical restrictions placed upon you with each of these orders, the court may impose further restrictions on any of these types of civil restraining orders. In fact, the restrictions imposed by these Connecticut restraining orders can be extended to prevent you from having contact or visitation with your own children.

We often see restraining order applicants abuse the restraining order application process as an end-around divorce court custody proceedings. If an applicant can convince the judge that there is a dire safety concern, then they can sometimes get custody orders against you which last for months. That is why it is critical to fight a Connecticut restraining order hearing, especially if there are children involved or there is a contested divorce looming.

Fighting a Violation

Even though a restraining order is issued by a family court instead of a criminal court, do not let this fool you into thinking that it is not important to hire a Connecticut criminal lawyer if you are arrested for Violation of a Civil Restraining Order under CGS 53a-223b. Violating a Civil Restraining Order in Connecticut is considered a domestic violence crime

Violation of a Civil Restraining Order is a Class D Felony and carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. And what is even more complicated is that once you are arrested in, a criminal protective order will likely be ordered against you, in addition to the civil restraining order which you have been arrested for violating. So now you will have two restraining / protective orders ordered against you that you must be vigilant in complying with.

Civil restraining orders can be violated by a single text or e-mail, which can result in an arrest if these forms of communications are prohibited by a Connecticut civil restraining order. Fighting arrests for violations of civil restraining orders under involves a combination of investigation, legal strategy and knowledge of your constitutional rights.

For example, were you entrapped or baited into a technical violation? Have digital, audio and video surveillance recordings and data been ordered preserved by the domestic violence court in aid of your defense? Has a forensic expert been retained or consulted to review cell phone tower data? Has your top Connecticut criminal lawyer reviewed all of the witness statements and police reports for errors, omissions and constitutional search and seizure defects?

Modifying a Civil Restraining Orders

Another avenue your attorney will explore with you is the possibility of having your civil restraining order modified. Usually modifications are attempted when the domestic violence court issues one of the two more onerous civil restraining orders – the “residential stay away order” and the “full no contact” order. Your attorney can start the modification process by submitting a motion to the court. The motion will set forth certain legal and factual bases underlying your request.

At some point you will have to be interviewed by the court’s family relations officer. What follows next is the modification hearing. During this hearing, your attorney and the protected person (or their attorney) will argue their respective positions, as well as present evidence and witnesses in order to achieve their desired results.

Consulting With An Attorney

So if you have been arrested in Connecticut for Violation of a Civil Restraining Order, you should contact an attorney today. Our attorneys appreciate the sensitivities of Connecticut domestic violence cases and will work with you, and the rest of your family if needed, to try and achieve the best result possible for you.

So give us a call today at (203) 276-9443 to speak with one of our Connecticut domestic violence lawyers. We are available 24/7 to take your call.

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