Domestic Violence Charges in Connecticut
Connecticut imposes strict penalties for domestic violence. As such, if you have been charged with domestic violence in the state, you owe it to yourself to become knowledgeable as to the consequences of a conviction. Jail time, fines, and damage to your personal reputation are among the adverse outcomes. With so much on the line, experienced legal representation in matters of criminal defense is essential.
Domestic Violence Is Termed “Family Violence” in Connecticut
In Connecticut, domestic violence is categorized as “family violence.” Under state law, family violence is an event that occurs between family or household members that either causes physical injury or produces fear the physical injury is imminent. Family or household members include:
- People who are related;
- People who are or were married;
- People who live together;
- People who have a child together;
- People who are or were recently in a dating relationship.
When conflict occurs between family or household members, the distinction between verbal and physical conduct is an important one. While physical violence or abuse between adults family or household members quite clearly constitutes family violence, additional scrutiny is applied to verbal conflict or abuse and parent-child physical conduct in determining whether or not events have risen to the level of family violence.
With regard to argumentation or verbal abuse, such spoken acts only rise to the level of family violence unless accompanied by present danger and the likelihood that physical violence will ensue. Thus, while verbal threats of physical violence in conjunction with a history of physical violence support a finding of family violence, non-threat-based antagonistic verbal statements may not.
Similar parsing is required in the analysis of a parent’s disciplining of a minor child. While spanking as a form of parent-child discipline remains controversial, Connecticut law does not regard parents’ or guardians’ physical disciplinary acts as family violence unless the conduct rises to the level of abuse.
Penalties for Domestic Violence in Connecticut
Importantly, Connecticut does not charge people with family violence crimes separately from non-family violence crimes. While family violence crimes very much bear on matters of child custody and protective orders related to proximity limits between adults with a history of family violence, the crime of assault, for example, is charged and prosecuted the same irrespective of the family or household relation between the defendant and the alleged victim.
As with other crimes, a felony conviction will result in prison time and stiff fines. If you have been charged with a family violence crime in Connecticut, rely on an experienced Norwalk criminal defense attorney.