What can I do if the abuser violates the order?
Violating a restraining order can be against the law and there are two ways to report the violation.
Through the Police or Sheriff
If the defendant violates the restraining order, you can call 911 or otherwise report it to law enforcement. In some cases, the defendant can be arrested right away. Tell the officer you have a restraining order and the defendant is violating it. If the defendant is arrested, the case will go to the district attorney for possible prosecution. The respondent can be charged with a criminal violation of a restraining order, which can be a class D or class C felony, depending on the circumstances. Depending on the crime that the abuser is convicted of, the respondent can face imprisonment of up to five years or up to ten years, a fine of up to five thousand dollars or up to ten thousand dollars, or both a fine and imprisonment.1
Through the Civil Court System
You may also file a motion for civil contempt for a violation of the order. Then, there will be a hearing held within five court days of when the motion is served on the abuser (as long as the service is made not less than 24 hours before the hearing). The abuser can be “held in civil contempt” if s/he does anything that your restraining order tells him/her not to do and the judge can order whatever punishment that the judge believes is appropriate.2 To file for civil contempt, go to the clerk’s office and ask for the forms to file for civil contempt.
For more information about contempt, including the difference between criminal contempt and civil contempt, go to our general Domestic Violence Restraining Orders page.
1 See C.G.S. §§ 46b-15(f); 53a-223; 53a-35a(7), (8)
2 C.G.S. § 46b-15(j)