Page 19 - 2011 Guide to Family Violence Laws

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14
What will happen in court?
At the first court date (the
arraignment), five basic things will
happen. First, the case is sent to a
part of the court called Family
Services- for an investigation and
review. Second, in cases where your
partner is still in jail, the judge will
determine if there was probable
cause for the arrest. Third, the
judge will decide whether to raise or
lower the bond set by the police or
bail commissioner. Remember,
anytime the person who was
arrested has the money to make bail
he will be released. Fourth, the
judge will decide whether a
protective order should be made.
Finally, the judge will set the next
court date. (Occasionally this is the
only thing that happens at the first
court date, if there is a reason to
postpone the case.) There may be a
number of court dates before the
case is over.
Do I need to be in court?
If your partner has been arrested
and you have not, you are not
legally required to be in court. If
you need a protective order (see
page 17), then you should go to
court or call a Family Violence
Victim Advocate to request one. If
you want to have a say in what
happens to your partner, it is
important that you go to court
and/or call either the Family
Violence Victim Advocate or a
Family Relations Counselor.
Who should I talk to in court?
The first person you should look for
is the Family Violence Victim
Advocate. Ask a marshal or
someone in the clerk’s office how to
find her. This person’s job is to help
people in your situation get through
the court system. The advocate can
give you information, will listen to
your concerns, will help you ask the
court for protection if you want her
to, and will help you to understand
all your options. The Family
Violence Victim Advocate can also
put you in touch with other agencies
that might help you including the
local domestic violence agency. The
local domestic violence agency can
offer shelter for you and your
children as well as support groups
and other services. If the Family
Violence Victim Advocate is not
there, you can talk to the Family
Services Counselor.
Your conversations with a Family
Violence Victim Advocate are
confidential. This means the
advocate will not tell anyone else
what you told her unless you give
her permission to do so or the law
requires it. Conversations with
other people who work in the court
may not be confidential.
Note:
The official name for Family Services
is “Court Support Services Division Family”,
or “CSSD Family” for short. Previously they
were called “Family Relations.” You may
still hear them referred to in court as “Intake
Assessment and Referral (IAR)”, “Family
Relations” or “Family.”