Ridgefield Protective Order Violation Hearings
When you are accused of breaching the terms of a protective order issued in response to a family violence allegation, you may face far harsher consequences than those associated with your underlying criminal charge. Fortunately, you have help available during Ridgefield protective order violation hearings from our experienced defense attorneys, who know how to prepare effectively for these proceedings.
What Counts as a Protective Order Violation in Connecticut?
It is important to emphasize that, unlike many other criminal offenses, you do not necessarily need to knowingly and intentionally violate a protective order to face criminal charges for that violation. Breaching the terms of such an order by accident can be prosecuted just as harshly as breaching them on purpose—and on top of that, the law in Connecticut expressly prohibits courts from prosecuting protected parties for playing any role in requesting, facilitating, or even compelling a protective order violation.
Under Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) § 53a-223, violating a protective order is always considered a felony offense. More specifically, violations involving the defendant harassing, threatening, assaulting, or molesting a protected party are Class C felonies punishable by between one and ten years in prison plus a maximum of $10,000 in fines. All other violations are Class D felonies punishable by up to five years imprisonment and $5,000 in fines upon conviction. Ridgefield protective order violation hearings have incredibly high stakes, and going into one without representation from seasoned legal counsel is often a mistake.
What To Expect From the Hearing Process
The opening stages of a protective order violation hearing in Ridgefield may vary depending on the terms the original protective order included and the type of violation the defendant allegedly committed. For instance, if compliance with a protective order was a condition of a defendant’s release from pre-trial incarceration on bail, they may have their bail revoked and have to stay in jail until their hearing takes place.
Since protective order violations are felony offenses, the judge may not be as lenient with a release on bond as they might be with a misdemeanor offense. They may not offer bond at all if they believe the defendant is likely to re-offend, flee the state, or pose a further threat to protected parties when released from custody. Conversely, a skilled attorney may be able to negotiate a more favorable bail arrangement by emphasizing factors like the defendant’s lack of criminal history, their role in the community, and their lack of intent to violate their protective order.
Regardless, the hearing will usually progress like a typical criminal trial, with the defendant and the prosecution presenting evidence to contest or confirm the assertion that the defendant violated the law. Relevant evidence may include interviews with involved parties, testimony from arresting officers, subpoenaed message logs, and surveillance camera footage.
Seek Help with Protective Order Violation Hearings from a Ridgefield Attorney
Any criminal proceeding centered around felony charges should be taken seriously, and hearings over alleged protective order violations are no exception. When you are facing this kind of accusation, contacting a skilled attorney to discuss the best approach for your unique Ridgefield protective order violation hearing should be your top priority. Call the Law Offices of Mark Sherman today to get started, and click here to visit our Avvo profile with over 300 certified reviews from past clients.