How Do I Know if I Have a Restraining Order Against Me?
Typically, a judge will request that you appear in court if a protective or restraining order has been issued against you. But sometimes a court fails to serve you and you are unaware of a restraining order against you.
Even if you weren’t formally notified that you have a restraining order against you, you might have a feeling that your partner, spouse, or other person will seek an order from the court.
If so, avoid anyone who might have filed an order against you and seek legal counsel to learn about your rights and responsibilities under that order. A criminal defense lawyer will also know where to look for any orders against you.
Below, we have listed the types of requirements that a protection or restraining order can include, followed by the potential consequences for violating an order.
Possible Terms of a Protection Order or a Restraining Order
If a Connecticut judge has issued a temporary or permanent restraining order or civil protection order against you, you might have to adhere to the following restrictions. In fact, until you have consulted with a defense attorney about the order(s), you should assume the worst and follow the strictest possible application of the order, so you don’t end up getting arrested for violating the order. A temporary ex parte restraining order, a standing restraining order, or an order of protection may:
- Order you not to threaten, harass, or in any way touch the person who filed the order against you;
- Order you not to restrain your accuser in any way;
- Order you not to enter your home if you share the home with your accuser;
- Order you to have no contact or only supervised visitation with your children;
- Order you not to threaten or injure your accuser’s loved ones or animals;
- Order you not to contact your accuser via phone, email, by visiting their home, by visiting their workplace, or through any other method of contact; and/or
- Order you to remain at least 100 yards away from your accuser at all times.
- Order you to temporarily turn over all firearms in your possession to a public safety official or licensed firearms dealer
If you are married to your accuser or if you cohabitate and are co-parents of a child, a Connecticut judge might also prohibit you from taking any of the following actions:
- Doing anything that might cut off necessary utilities to the family home;
- Cancelling, changing coverage, or changing beneficiaries for health insurance, auto insurance, or homeowners insurance if the changes would harm the accuser or a child; and/or
- Transferring, hiding, or discarding any property your accuser owns or leases.
Keep in mind that judges can order anything they see fit to protect your accuser, your children, or other affected parties.
If you have a standing restraining order issued against you, a judge can include the following if you are married or share a child with your accuser:
- Make mortgage payments or rent payments for the family home;
- Maintain utilities, including making any necessary payments, related to the family home;
- Maintain all insurance coverage, including health insurance, auto insurance, and homeowners insurance;
- Provide child support for up to 120 days.
Penalties for Violating Restraining Orders in Connecticut
Once a Connecticut judge issues a restraining order or protective order against you, it’s illegal for you to violate the terms of the order. Some violations might result in contempt of court charges, but most violations are crimes with harsh penalties. If you are arrested for violating a restraining order, it’s you were likely charged with:
- Criminal violation of a protective order. A protective order is put in place prohibiting contact with an alleged victim after you have been arrested for a violent offense. Violating a protective order is a Class D felony and carries up to a five-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine. If, however, the accused has restrained, threatened, harassed, assaulted, molested, sexually assaulted, or attacked a person in violation of the order, they may face conviction for a Class C felony. In Connecticut, Class C felonies are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- Criminal violation of a standing criminal protective order. Violating a standing or permanent criminal protective order carries the same penalties as violating a civil protective order. Those convicted will have a Class D felony on their record, and face up to a $5,000 fine and five years in jail. In the event the violation includes restraint, threatening, harassment, assault, etc., the accused will be charged with a Class C felony and face up to a $10,000 fine and 10 years in prison.
- Criminal violation of a restraining order. Violating a restraining order carries the same penalties as above. Depending on the situation, the accused might be charged with a Class D or Class C felony and face the previously listed associated penalties.
Connecticut courts take the violation of restraining orders and protective orders seriously. If convicted, you will have a felony on your record. In addition to the social stigma surrounding a felony conviction, you might also lose your job or struggle to find a new job, or face additional collateral consequences in your life. Speaking with an experienced criminal defense lawyer can show you your options.
Contact Duffy Law to Find out if You Have a Restraining Order Against You
Restraining orders are serious court orders not to be taken lightly. If you are unsure whether or not you have an order against you, it’s in your best interest to find out immediately.
Unintentionally violating an order can result in disastrous consequences including jail time and a hefty fine. Contact the experienced defense attorneys at Duffy Law today, online or at (203) 946-2000, to avoid potentially violating a restraining order or protective order. In addition to researching whether you have any restraining orders against you, we can also discuss the circumstances surrounding any orders and any potential defenses.