Domestic Violence
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CT defense lawyerThere are many different situations in which a person may face domestic violence charges. For example, an argument between spouses or other family members may spiral out of control, and law enforcement may be called after receiving a report from a neighbor or someone else who was involved. While reports of domestic violence may be made for legitimate reasons, they can also be based on false accusations, such as when a parent is attempting to gain an advantage in a child custody dispute. Those who have been accused of committing domestic violence will need to understand the specific charges they may face and the potential consequences of a criminal conviction.

Connecticut Family Violence Charges

Under Connecticut’s laws, domestic violence is referred to as “family violence,” and it involves any incidents in which a family or household member suffers bodily injury or physical harm or faces the threat of violence. “Family or household members” may include spouses, former spouses, parents and children, other family members who are related by blood or marriage, people who are in a dating relationship or who have formerly dated each other, unmarried couples who are cohabitating or who have lived together in the past, and people who share a child, regardless of whether they are currently living together or have ever lived together.

Following reports of family violence, police officers may investigate the situation, and depending on their determinations, a person may be arrested and charged with a crime. Potential criminal charges in family violence cases may include:

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Fairfield County domestic violence defense lawyerBeing blamed for something you did not do can be infuriating, especially if the act you are accused of involves violence against a family or household member. If you have been accused of domestic violence, you may be unsure of how to handle the situation. Should you confront the abuser and try to defend yourself, or stay silent? Should you comply with a restraining order that was founded on lies, or fight it? If you have been accused of stalking, harassment, assault, or another crime related to domestic abuse, you could be facing significant criminal penalties. Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer for help as soon as possible.

Never Confront the Person Who Accused You

When someone says something about you that is not true, it is only natural to want to set the record straight. However, if you have been accused of domestic violence, confronting the accuser may make your situation much worse. He or she may use even a nonviolent confrontation as an excuse to make further allegations of violence or threats. Do not call, text, visit, or otherwise communicate with the person who has accused you. Instead, reach out to a defense attorney with experience handling false claims of domestic violence to receive personalized guidance.

Comply With Any Restraining Orders or Protective Orders

A criminal order of protection is a court order that is issued against someone who has been arrested for family violence. Civil restraining orders, on the other hand, may be issued even if the subject has not been arrested or charged with a crime. In Connecticut, an individual can request a civil restraining order via an “ex parte” hearing. This is a hearing in which the petitioner, or person requesting protection, explains his or her reasons for requesting the restraining order, but the subject of the order is not present to defend himself or herself. Protection orders and restraining orders may prohibit you from communicating with the alleged victim or coming within a certain distance of him or her. They may also order you to move out of your own home, stay away from your children, or surrender your firearms.

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CT defense lawyerDomestic violence is a serious crime with serious consequences, and those who engage in it often find themselves with ruined reputations and derailed lives. However, it is not impossible for those who are innocent to be faced with the same consequences, even though they are not guilty. Mistakes happen in investigations, or in rare cases, a malicious spouse may try to smear the other - no matter what the cause if you have been charged with domestic violence in Connecticut, you need an attorney who will act fast to get at the truth.

Not a Separate Crime

Connecticut does not classify ‘domestic violence’ as a separate crime; instead, ‘domestic’ or ‘family’ violence is charged as whatever specific crime occurred (such as battery or sexual assault), just against a family member - there are differences in the prosecution of such a case, but the end sentence if convicted is generally similar. In addition, the definition of ‘family member’ in Connecticut is very wide, covering not only blood family but also spouses, former spouses, co-parents, roommates, and many other classifications.

Domestic violence-related crimes are handled by the Family Relations Division of the Superior Court of Connecticut, and are often dealt with very quickly because in many cases, time is of the essence - a violent spouse or ex-spouse may have the intent to harm the other, and bringing the case before a judge as quickly as possible means that a protective order or a restraining order can be issued just as quickly.

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CT defense lawyerDomestic violence is a crime that justifiably carries quite a lot of social stigma, in addition to the potentially serious criminal penalties. However, it is very easy for a disagreement to spiral out of control, or for a word or gesture to be misunderstood. If you have been charged with domestic violence, it is critical that your side of the story be told. Enlisting an experienced Connecticut domestic violence attorney can ensure your rights are protected.

Connecticut Definition Is Expansive

Historically domestic violence or family violence was a charge confined to violence between spouses or involving a parent and child. However, Connecticut law explicitly includes multiple categories of relationships as falling under this law, including spouses and former spouses, “persons related by blood or marriage,” roommates, co-parents (whether or not they live together or have been married), and people in dating relationships. The intent is simply to protect as many people as possible.

The law does specifically exclude acts by parents intended to discipline minor children unless those acts constitute abuse. Also, verbal abuse does not count as domestic violence unless there is “present danger” and the “likelihood” that physical violence will occur. This can be a very difficult thing to interpret, and because domestic violence is such a serious crime, very often peace officers may err on the side of caution and arrest a person to hedge their bets, so to speak, or because they feel they have to arrest someone.

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CT defense lawyerDomestic violence charges are always serious, no matter how they originate, and very often, making them stick can be critical for your safety. However, if you are unjustly accused, this same seriousness means that the accusation will follow you, even if it is disproven later on. Either way, it is imperative to enlist a dedicated Fairfield County domestic violence lawyer to ensure that your interests are represented.

Penalties Are Harsh

Connecticut defines domestic violence (DV) or family violence as an “incident resulting in physical harm, bodily injury, or assault,” or an “act of threatened violence” that would encompass any of these categories. It is important, however, to keep in mind that state law explicitly does not include verbal abuse unless it encompasses “present danger” or likelihood that physical violence will occur, which is markedly different than DV laws in other states. The law also clearly states who is meant to be covered by these laws - not only spouses, but former spouses, parents, other blood relatives or those related by marriage who live in the same household, people in a dating relationship, or people who have a child together (regardless of whether or not they live in the same house).

Connecticut does not charge people with family violence, per se; rather, they will charge the person with the underlying offense, such as rape, stalking, or assault with a deadly weapon. Then, if the person is convicted, a notation is entered before sentencing that the crime involved family violence. This can affect sentence length, parole recommendations, and several other factors. While this means that no one in Connecticut is convicted ‘of domestic violence’ per se, it does not mean that the notation is not visible to those who might investigate or do background checks later in life.

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