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    Ridgefield Protective Order Hearings

    Your first interaction with the court system following an arrest for alleged family violence will likely be your arraignment, where the court will likely impose a protective order against you for the duration of your case. Working with a skilled defense attorney to understand what to expect from Ridgefield protective order hearings is vital to effectively protecting your best interests.

    Basic Steps in the Protective Order Process

    One of the main differences between criminal cases for family violence crimes and those based on other charges is how quickly preliminary court proceedings begin. With few exceptions, someone arrested on suspicion of family violence must appear in court for arraignment on the next business day. The judge will decide whether to impose a protective order during this initial hearing.

    On the day of the arraignment, the defendant must first check in with an officer from the court’s Family Relations Office. Family Relations’ role is to assess whether a defendant qualifies to work with their office to help resolve a defendant’s case, and to determine what level of protective order to recommend to the judge at arraignment. The officer will ask questions about what happened and incorporate the defendant’s answer into a report they send to the judge before the hearing. This interview is not confidential, which is what makes having qualified legal counsel present at the interview so important. While this interview is technically optional, refusing to participate may impact the judge’s decision.

    During the arraignment, the judge will hear from the defendant and their legal counsel, the Family Relations Office, and a representative from the Office of the Victim Advocate. They may also hear statements from other parties involved in the alleged dispute and law enforcement authorities such as the Bail Commissioner. Based on the judge’s interpretation of available evidence and testimony, they will decide whether a protective order is necessary and, if so, what terms that order should have for the defendant.

    Preparing for a Protective Order Hearing

    When the defendant is a first-time offender accused of a relatively minor misdemeanor or expresses a willingness to correct their behavior in the future with or without support from the person they allegedly threatened or harmed, the court may choose not to impose any protective order at all. It is more likely, however, that they establish an order that simply forbids the defendant from engaging in further family violence. Alternatively, the court also has the authority to impose much more stringent restrictions during protective order hearings in Ridgefield, including barring the defendant from being in the same residence or workplace as the protected party or from having any form of contact with them whatsoever.

    In addition to preparing an argument in advance and retaining legal counsel to accompany them through pre-hearing interviews and the hearing itself, it is also crucial for defendants to know what rights they have to appeal a protective order. A defendant can appeal an order by requesting a “Fernando A.” hearing. However, there are strict rules for doing so that can be difficult to accomplish without a seasoned legal professional’s guidance.

    Talk To a Ridgefield Attorney About Protective Order Hearings

    Protective order hearings can be intimidating, especially if this is your first time being the subject of a criminal proceeding. However, it is possible to prepare effectively for your case and achieve a favorable outcome with help from a qualified attorney. Call the Law Offices of Mark Sherman today to discuss your options leading up to a Ridgefield protective order hearing, and click here to read our past clients’ experiences working with us.