Until recently, you could only get a restraining order in Connecticut if you were a family member, intimate partner, or roommate of a person who was threatening or stalking you in Connecticut. This has stymied the top Greenwich and Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers who have tried to get court protection for victims of cyber-stalkers and sex assaults. Now, thanks to the hard work of Connecticut lawmakers and victim advocates, if you are a victim of stalking, rape or sexual assault / abuse in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien or anywhere in Connecticut, you and your top Stamford and Greenwich Connecticut restraining order lawyer can apply for a restraining order, regardless of whether you ever had any familial or intimate relationship with the person stalking or abusing you.
So how can you apply for a stalking restraining order in Stamford, Darien, Greenwich or New Canaan Connecticut? Here’s how…
What Do I Do if I Am Being Stalked or Cyber-Stalked?
If you believe that you are the victim of Stalking or Cyber-Stalking in Stamford, Greenwich or Darien Connecticut, or if you are the parent of a Stalking or cyber-stalking victim, it is important to carefully consider what your next steps should be. As a parent of a victim, it is natural to be unsure of what action to take, as this is a delicate and often scary process for both parent and child. That’s why we recommend sitting with an experienced and top Connecticut stalking criminal lawyer to lay out your options and the costs and benefits of each of these options.
The Definition of Stalking Under Connecticut Criminal Law
The best Danbury and Ridgefield Connecticut criminal lawyers would advise that any person who has been the victim of sexual abuse, sexual assault or stalking has the opportunity to apply to the court for this new kind of restraining order and relief from abuse. Relief can be granted for up to one year. This is welcome news for Connecticut rape and stalking victims, or parents of teenage victims, who have been victimized of this type of terrifying behavior, however this can sometimes be a confusing process. What the court considers as “stalking” or “sexual abuse” is not always clear and sometimes needs to aggressively and carefully spelled out for the Connecticut restraining order judge.
Top Stamford, Greenwich, and New Canaan restraining order lawyers face similar issues when determining what constitutes stalking. According to Connecticut civil law, “stalking” is any act in which a person follows (by foot or automobile), waits for, monitors, observes, surveils (in person or electronically), threatens, harasses, communicates with or sends unwanted gifts to, a person. Stalking might also include interfering with a person’s property.
Is One Incident of Stalking Enough to Apply for a Connecticut Stalking Restraining Order?
Yes. One incident of Stalking—whether it is cyber-stalking, a private investigator following you, or a peeping tom is enough to qualify for a civil restraining order. However, it usually is NOT enough for the police to arrest your stalker. The Connecticut criminal stalking law—CGS 53a-181—requires that criminal stalking involves a “course of conduct,” meaning two or more incidents. Specifically, for a person to be arrested for the crime of stalking, the person must have knowingly engaged in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their physical safety or the safety of a third person. Some people might be surprised that the law also encompasses behavior that might put a victim’s employment or career at risk. This type of behavior could include telephoning a victim’s job, or trying to initiate communication with the victim’s employment, after the actor was warned to stop contacting them. Parents should also know that when the Connecticut stalking victim is under sixteen years of age, stalking becomes a Class D felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Applying for a 46b-16a Restraining / Protective Order
Today, under Connecticut General Statutes 46b-16a, any person who has been the victim of stalking, sexual abuse, or rape has the right to apply for a protective restraining order against the person harassing them. This gives victims, and parents of minor child victims, the option of asking the civil court (as opposed to the family court) for a protective order against their harasser. As the best Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers and best Greenwich Connecticut criminal defense attorneys have observed, the need for these protective restraining orders has increased in recent years as stalking and cyber-stalking incidents has escalated, due in great part to online dating sites, chat rooms and sexual encounter websites which have become a breeding ground for perverts and freaks. What is even more alarming is that teenaged children are often the victims of this stalking, especially as children have become more reachable in recent years via social media and smartphone applications.
The protections and safety measures afforded by this statute is welcomed by victims, and parents of victims. Yet the Stamford restraining order application process can still be difficult to handle alone. That’s why we encourage you to consult a top Connecticut restraining order lawyer attorney to discuss the quickest and most cost-effective methods to get relief from stalking or abuse.
Your Stalking Restraining Order Hearing
If you and your top Stamford Connecticut restraining order attorney decide that it is in your best interest to seek a restraining order, then the court will require an application for relief accompanied by an affidavit, which is a sworn statement to the court. Your top Ridgefield or Westport Connecticut restraining order attorney can help you draft these documents, essentially providing the court with the specific facts of your situation that have caused your concern and need for a protective order. An experienced restraining order lawyer will know exactly what facts a Connecticut restraining order judge will want to see in the affidavit.
The court will then schedule a hearing date when it receives these documents. At that hearing you and your top Connecticut restraining order attorney lawyer will present evidence and documents to the court. You will have the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses and present closing arguments to the judge. Your Stalking restraining order will be granted if the court finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the respondent has committed acts that constitute grounds for granting your application for a Connecticut Stalking restraining order.
Contact a Connecticut Restraining Order Lawyer Today
The team of Connecticut restraining order lawyers at Mark Sherman Law are among many Stamford Connecticut lawyers ready and willing to assist you in obtaining or defending against a 46b-16a stalking restraining order application. Click here for more information on the restraining order application process. Since 2002, we have successfully won restraining order hearing for both applicants and respondents. Call us today at (203) 358-4700 to schedule a consultation.