Modifying a Protective Order in Fairfield
Violating the terms of a protective order in any way can carry extremely harsh criminal consequences. With this in mind, if you have an unreasonably restrictive order imposed against you, it may be beneficial to understand your options for appealing it and seeking a formal modification. If you are considering modifying a protective order in Fairfield, guidance from a skilled protective order attorney is essential.
How Do I Request a Protective Order Modification?
Once a court has put a protective order in place, a defendant who wants to request a modification of that order’s terms can do so by filing a “Motion for a Fernando A. Hearing.” This proceeding is named after a case heard by the Connecticut Supreme Court in which the defendant successfully appealed a judge’s previous denial of their request for a hearing to contest the terms of a criminal protective order imposed against them.
Importantly, court precedent holds that it is only possible to request a Fernando A. hearing when a protective order initially goes into effect—in other words, at the initial arraignment hearing after a family violence arrest. If a defendant files the appropriate motion, the court must hold the hearing for them within two or three weeks of the protective order’s initial start date. The order will remain in effect with its originally imposed terms until that hearing.
In the period between this initial motion and the actual hearing, it is important to get in contact with multiple parties who will play a role in the proceeding to come. This includes officers from the Office of Family Relations, state prosecutors, investigators from the Department of Children and Families (“DCF”), and potentially advocates for individuals targeted by domestic violence. Representation from seasoned legal counsel is vital to handling these early stages of modifying a protective order in Fairfield in the most proactive way possible.
What Can I Expect from a Fernando A. Hearing?
During a Fernando A. hearing, the judge will consider reports and testimony on whether it would be appropriate and safe to modify the protective order in question. These reports will be compiled by various parties the petitioner met with beforehand. Both sides may also present witnesses, which could include psychologists and therapists, family members not directly involved with the underlying family violence offenses, DCF representatives, and law enforcement authorities.
If the State cannot prove through the available evidence that the previously imposed protective order should be continued without any changes, the judge may issue a new order with less restrictive terms or nullify the outdated order. Once again, a capable defense attorney’s support is crucial to building a solid case and effectively presenting it during the pursuit of a protective order modification in Fairfield.
Speak with a Fairfield Attorney About Modifying a Protective Order
Protective orders have no exceptions once courts formally impose them, and breaching any term included in such an order without going through the necessary procedures to modify it can have dire repercussions. If you need help modifying a protective order in Fairfield, contacting an attorney from Mark Sherman Law should be your top priority. Call us today for a consultation, and click here to read what our past clients have to say about working with us.