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Things you must know if you are arrested for a domestic violence crime in Connecticut

1. A domestic violence offense can involve anyone with whom you share a domestic relationship. It can be a spouse, former spouse, significant other, or family member. You do not have to be living in the same household for the court to consider that you share a domestic relationship.

2. A crime of violence is considered any act of violence, or any offense where there is a likelihood that violence will result. Domestic violence offenses include:

· Assault

· Strangulation

· Stalking

· Threatening

· Breach of Peace

3. At your first court appearance, the Court will receive input from the Family Services office regarding any safety concerns the complainant has and/or any concerns Family Services has related to the situation. The Court may issue a Full Protective Order or Partial Protective Order:

· A Full Protective Order is an order of the Court that you may not have any contact with the named party/parties in any way. That may mean that you are required to move out of your residence, that you cannot visit, call, email, text, or communicate, directly or through third parties, the protected party/parties.

· A Partial Protective Order is an order of the Court that you must not assault, threaten, abuse, harass, follow, interfere with or stalk the protected person. It may also include a residential stay away, meaning you must stay away from wherever the protected person resides, even if that is also your residence.

· A violation of a Protective Order is a separate crime, a D felony, and you face up to five years in jail if you are convicted of this offense. It is imperative that you abide by the conditions of any Protective Order, and if the protected person tries to contact you in any way, or if you accidentally come into contact with that person, that you walk away or terminate the interaction and contact your attorney immediately.

· You will be required to relinquish any firearms you might have in the house, and must do so within 24 hours.

4. The Court may impose non-financial conditions of your release that the Court deems necessary to protect the public or ensure the complainant's safety. Some Courts impose conditions of location monitoring, pretrial supervision by a probation officer, and/or require participation in programs such as alcohol and/or drug counseling or anger management.

5. If you want to contest or modify any Protective Order or condition of release, your attorney can file a motion to modify the Protective Order or condition of release. You are legally entitled to a hearing on this motion, and to present evidence related to the necessity of a Protective Order and cross examine any witnesses. The Court will seek input from your attorney, the prosecutor, the bail commissioner, and a victim's advocate or other representative from Family Services regarding the modification. The Court can modify the Protective Order to allow you to visit or share custody of your children, or change the full Protective Order to a Partial Protective Order, meaning you can have contact with the protected party but are prohibited from threatening, harassing or otherwise harming the named individual. If you are required to participate in any treatment and/or meet with probation as a condition of your release, you must continue to do so until your attorney files a motion to modify or until the Court otherwise changes the conditions.

6. Family Services/the victim's advocate will actively participate in the criminal proceedings. You will be expected to meet with a representative from Family Services following your arrest. Before you do this, you should contact your attorney immediately. You should not discuss the facts of your case, or anything related to your pending matter without your attorney present. Your attorney should accompany you when you meet with any representative from Family Services. Any information you provide, anything you say, can be held against you, and you must protect your right not to incriminate yourself.

7. If you are charged with a domestic violence offense, you may be ineligible to participate in certain diversionary programs, such as Accelerated Rehabilitation. You may, however, be eligible for the Family Violence Education Program (FVEP). If the Court grants your application, and you successfully complete the FVEP program, the charges against you will be dismissed.

8. The Court may require you to participate in a Court-approved domestic violence program, such as Evolve or Explore. Participation in one of these programs may be a condition of probation. The court may also enter a Standing Criminal Restraining Order (SCRO) as part of your sentence. If the complainant and/or a representative from Family Services request a SCRO, the Court will consider input regarding the need for the order, and what length of time is necessary to ensure the complainant's safety. There is no limit to how long a SCRO can last. You can contact an attorney to modify or to terminate the order if circumstances change.

9. Know your rights and contact an attorney immediately if you get arrested for a domestic violence crime. Every stage in the process is critical. It is important to preserve any evidence that may support your position or assist your attorney in preparing your case. If you have pictures, text messages, emails, or any other documentation that would be useful, take steps to save that information and provide it to your attorney.

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