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What Happens After a Domestic Violence Arrest?

It’s easy for tempers to flare among family members. Too often, police are called in the heat of the moment. Arrests are made, and you find yourself faced with navigating the gauntlet of the domestic violence criminal court process. So what will happen to you next?

Connecticut takes domestic violence charges seriously. An arrest for a domestic violence misdemeanor can still leave you open to months of jail time. It is important to contact a lawyer as quickly as you can to start your defense. You will be ordered to appear in Connecticut domestic violence court the very next business morning.

In court, you will be questioned by Family Relations Officers, and you must appear for a Connecticut Protective Order hearing. The Protective Order hearing may require you to leave your home and limit—if not completely restrict—physical or verbal contact with your loved ones. With the emotional and financial costs this can cause, connecting with a criminal defense lawyer before the first court date is strongly advised.

Family Relations Officers

Throughout your case, you will be supervised by a team of Family Relations Officers. It is their job to monitor the progress of your case, keep in contact with both you and the complainants in your case, and report their findings and recommendations to the district attorney, or prosecutor, and the judge. They are highly trained in domestic violence protocols, and their recommendations can greatly influence the outcome of your case.

You should prepare for your interview with your lawyer, since Family Relations Officers can ask tough questions that may leave you unsure how to answer. When interviewing, it is important to keep your emotions in check; be timely for your appointments, and always be ready with your answers. The officers have the ability to make your case go from “bad” to “worse,” but your lawyer can coach you about what to say, and more importantly, what not to say. Remember, you have the right to remain silent in any interview or interrogation, so exercise your rights and protect yourself.

Protective Order Hearing

After your arrest, you will be ordered to attend a hearing on the next business morning. Courts often err on the side of caution when allowing family members to reunite. Permitting them to return to the home immediately after arrest has been shown to increase the chances of another fight. For this reason, domestic violence courts will typically administer a protective order.

Protective orders fall into three categories: Full no contact, residential stay-away, and limited/partial. The most restrictive is “full no contact,” which forbids the defendant from having any contact, physical or verbal, with the complainant with no exceptions. A “residential stay-away” permits contact, but forbids the defendant from entering the complainant’s residence. The least restrictive is a “limited” or “partial” order, which allows for non-threatening contact between the defendant and the complainant. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you understand the limits of each type of protective order in more detail.

Your Next Steps

After an arrest for domestic violence, your first step is to contact a criminal defense lawyer with a deep understanding of domestic violence cases. They will help you navigate the process of protecting yourself and your reputation throughout the case.

It is also advised that you gather information for yourself on the legal proceedings of domestic violence arrests and what you can expect to occur throughout the case. A little preparation can go a long way in getting you through this painstaking process.

Tomeo Sills, LLC are experienced Connecticut criminal defense attorneys. If you’re facing a domestic violence arrest, contact us to find out how we can help.