An RFA is a civil court document that intends to stop violent, harassing and threatening behavior by preventing the abuser from having contact or communication with the victim. 15 V.S.A. § 1101.
Domestic Assault is a criminal charge that is defined as: “Any person who attempts to cause or willfully or recklessly causes bodily injury to a family or household member or willfully causes a family or household member to fear imminent serious bodily injury.” 13 V.S.A. § 1042.
When Do Relief From Abuse Orders and Domestic Assault Charges Overlap?
If someone is charged criminally with Domestic Assault, “DA,” then the victim in that criminal case, may also file for a Relief From Abuse order, “RFA,” with the court, but they do not have to. Oftentimes there will already be conditions of release in the criminal case preventing the Defendant from having contact with the victim, so an RFA may be unnecessary. However, the criminal conditions are only in effect while the criminal domestic assault case is pending.
Therefore, a victim may want to also obtain an RFA in order to further protect them in case the criminal case resolves. Whatever the case may be, it is important to discuss your options with us so you can get the answers or protection you’re looking for.