Protective Order Hearings

Protective order hearings are often incredibly complex processes. Between initial interviews, contacting a lawyer, and building a defense, an individual can often be incredibly overwhelmed. If you are seeking representation for a domestic violence charge, it is pertinent that you contact an experienced attorney immediately. The right lawyer will be able to properly advise you on how to best handle your case against the prosecution.

Speaking with the Office of Family Relations

When an individual gets to court in Stamford, they will report to the Office of Family Relations where one of the family relations workers will be interviewing the individual. It is important for an individual to discuss with their attorney whether or not to speak with the family relations officer. These Family Relations Officers are often attorneys. They confront an individual with a very intense set of questions that focus on their domestic violence and mental health history, as well as their personal and professional background. They will question an individual about what happened during the events that led to the arrest.

Everything an individual says to the family relations officers the morning after the arrest can be used against them. These Stamford family relations officers are an arm of the judiciary. Further, they are the judge’s representatives and the judge’s agents. They make recommendations to the judge as to the parameters of the protective order. In other words, they tell the judge whether a full no-contact, full residential stay-away, or partial limited protective order should be put in place. They have a great deal of influence with the judge, however, the judge makes the ultimate decision.

What an individual says to Family Relations and how they are perceived by them is critical. This is why an attorney takes a lot of time preparing their clients for that interview. In the most serious cases, the lawyers do most of the talking to protect someone from making statements that could ultimately hurt their case.

During the Hearing

During this protective order hearing, the individual accused can often feel outnumbered.  There is the prosecutor or a state’s attorney, a bail commissioner, the Family Relations Officer, the alleged victim and their attorney, and the domestic violence victim advocate all against the individual accused at the arraignment. They explain to the judge their respective legal and factual arguments as to why a protective order should be issued against the individual, and why additional conditions of the release should be imposed upon the individual as well.

The conditions of the release are often severe. They can include anger management counseling, alcohol and drug screening, alcohol and drug counseling, random urine testing, curfew, and the Intensive Probation Supervision in Global Positioning System, a GPS monitoring through an ankle bracelet.

Court-ordered IPS/GPS is often used with family domestic violence charges like strangulation, unlawful restraint, second-degree assault, strangulation and any other felonies and violations of protective orders. These bracelets are often humiliating when someone has to wear an ankle bracelet when they go to work. Further, when they are traveling for work around the country, the monitor can go off during the airport screening.

Importance of an Attorney

It is critical for a person charged with a domestic violence crime to contact a lawyer immediately, because the person is required to be in court on the next business morning for a domestic violence crime. During that morning, there are a series of meetings with social workers in a very intense, short, and overwhelming protective order hearing. That hearing must take place the next business morning.

For that first day of court, there is the family relations interview, arraignment hearing, and protective order hearing. You need an attorney who can push back against onerous, overly burdensome, seemingly unnecessary protective order parameters as well as unnecessary and overly burdensome conditions of release. Once these matters are addressed, the case is designated for a court date on the Stamford Connecticut domestic violence court docket.

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