RESTRAINING ORDER PROCESS
- A restraining order is an important way to protect yourself from your abuser. You can request a temporary restraining order (TRO) at any time, whether or not she/he has been arrested. A restraining order can be written according to your needs. For example, a restraining order can order the abuser not to contact you, can also require the abuser to vacate shared household, grant temporary custody of your children to you, limit the contact she/he may have with your children, and order temporary child support.
- A court officer will give a copy of the restraining order to your abuser and the court date that she/he must attend. The restraining order will be good for 21 days.
- After 21 days you will attend a hearing. If you want your court ordered protection to last longer than 21 days, you must attend this second hearing. Your abuser may also be there, so you may not want to be alone. If you do not attend this hearing, the court ordered protection will be vacated. If your abuser comes to the second hearing with an attorney, we recommend that you request a continuance so that you may attain an attorney as well.
- If you need a restraining order over the weekend, call your local police department for an emergency temporary restraining order. To have it extended past the weekend, you must contact our office and speak to the court advocate. If your abuser violates the restraining order, call the police and she/he will be arrested.
- After a domestic violence arrest, a no-contact order will be issued automatically. The order states that the defendant cannot have any contact with you -she/he may not see you, call you, write you, or have anyone else contact you for them. If the defendant does any of these things she/he can be arrested; contact your local police department immediately.
- To vacate a no-contact order, you must contact your Court Advocate so that she/he can assist you in appearing in front of a Judge to ask that the order be vacated. Call 401-846-5263 for more information.
COURT ADVOCATES & INFORMATION
- Court Advocates provide support and education to domestic violence victims who are navigating all aspects of the court system. This person will support you through the legal process. She/he will explain your rights as a victim of a crime, the court process and what to expect in court. The Court Advocate can also convey your wishes to the prosecutors and will be present at the arraignment, pretrial, and trial. You can speak to her/him about the case and ask questions. She/he can speak to the Judge on your behalf.
- The Law Enforcement Advocate (LEA) is trained in issues of domestic violence and sexual assault. The LEA provides immediate crisis intervention and assistance to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in conjunction with your police department and court advocacy program. This advocate can also accompany victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to hospital, if wanted for medical treatment of injuries related to crime.
- District Court handles all misdemeanor cases, while the Superior Court handles all felony cases. This means that your case can go to Superior Court if it is a more serious offense – for example it is not the defendant’s first offense or if a weapon was used. The defendant or her/his attorney can also request that her/his case be transferred with good cause to Superior Court for a trial.