A domestic violence arrest can turn your entire world upside down in an instant. A hearted argument between loved ones gets out of control, a call to 911, and the next thing you know you can be arrested, thrown out of your home and separated from your family and loved ones. The laws related to domestic violence have recently changed dramatically. The Police are now required to make arrests when they find evidence that a crime has occurred regardless of the victim’s position. Protect your rights by contacting a Stamford criminal attorney today. At the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman we understand that the stakes are high and that you are facing a lot of confusion, frustration and stress.Why Choose the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman?
- Available 24/7 – 365 days a year / emergency response line
- 25 years of experience defending domestic violence allegations
- We fight for your rights and focus on results that work
- Free initial consultation
- Reasonable rates / payment plans
- We will coordinate a bail bond agent to secure your release
The Legislature has declared war on domestic violence also known as “family violence.” Our State is investing a significant amount of resources into special domestic violence courts; treatment programs and family violence intervention units all in an effort to combat domestic violence. The rate of domestic violence arrests in Connecticut are skyrocketing. Courts take domestic violence matters very seriously.
Domestic violence means any crime involving an assault, a threat, violence or stalking behavior between: any family members related by blood or marriage; between people who are living under the same roof or in a dating relationship. It also applies to spouses or former spouses, and people who have a child in common even if they were never married. When a crime is designated as a domestic violence crime not only do you have to deal with the criminal penalties that come along with a conviction of the crime itself but you also have to deal with a wide range of domestic violence related consequences which tag along because it is treated as a domestic violence crime. These include criminal orders of protection and domestic violence conditions of release.
When the Police respond to a domestic violence call, no matter what the position of the parties, the Police are required by law to make an arrest if they find probable cause that a crime has occurred. This is known as our “mandatory arrest” law. Even if the victims have calmed down and now want to “drop the charges” the State will continue to prosecute the case. In most cases the Police will arrest everyone involved in the dispute. The Police are continuing in many local departments to make so called “dual arrests” even though the Legislature recently passed a dominant aggressor statute. Pursuant to the dominant aggressor statute the Police are supposed to conduct a cursory investigation at the scene and arrest only the primary or dominant aggressor and not the victim. As crazy as it sounds, if you are the victim of a domestic violence attack or verbal abuse and you call the police for help in Connecticut it is possible that you will be arrested along with the aggressor. Regardless if you are the victim or the aggressor having a Stamford criminal lawyer fighting to protect your rights can make a huge difference. Time is often of the essence to contact a domestic violence Attorney serving Stamford and all of Fairfield County to protect your rights before the Court imposes restrictive protective orders and possibly removes you from your own home.
Typical domestic violence crimes include:
- Breach of the Peace
- Disorderly Conduct
- Violation of an Order of Protection
- Sexual Assault
After the Police make a domestic violence arrest they will require you to sign temporary conditions of release that will take effect until your arraignment in Court the next business day. Usually, these conditions will require you to stay away from the victim until you can get to court to allow things to cool off. It is important to understand that a violation of these conditions is a separate crime which can be either a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the level of offense with which you were originally charged. Thus, violating the temporary conditions of release would expose you to additional jail time. Also, by violating the temporary conditions of release it is going to draw unwanted attention from the Court and perhaps make an easy case much more complicated to resolve. For these reasons it is very important to obey the temporary conditions of release no matter how unreasonable they may appear at the time. These conditions only last for a short time so just hang in there until you can get to Court and start looking for a Stamford criminal lawyer to come with you for your arraignment.Mandatory Next Day Arraignment in Court
After an arrest for a domestic violence crime the Police will give you a court appearance summons to appear in court for arraignment on the next business day. Time is of the essence to contact a domestic violence defense lawyer to secure legal representation for your arraignment. The next day court appearance is required as part of the very formal and strict domestic violence procedures in place in Connecticut. During this first court appearance the Court will take up some very important decisions which will impact your life during the pendency of the case which could take several months to complete. For this reason it is a good idea to secure the services of a Connecticut domestic violence defense attorney to be there to protect your rights during the arraignment.Interview with Family Relations Officer
The first order of business when you arrive at Court is an interview with a Family Relations Officer who will ask you to discuss details of the incident. It is important to remain cooperative, friendly and appear rational when interacting with the Family Relations Officer. However, keep in mind that just as with a Police officer everything you say can and will be used against you do you do not want to discuss any details of the criminal allegations against you. Remember that you have the right to remain silent. The best course of action is to have a Stamford criminal attorney with you to guide the interview and protect you against making any incriminating statements while maintaining a positive and friendly rapport with the Family Relations Officer. Based on what is written in the Police report, and the interviews with the parties, the Family Relations Officers will then be making recommendations to the Court concerning criminal restraining orders. In some instances where one party is trying to gain leverage in a divorce action it is not uncommon to see a great deal of gamesmanship on behalf of the victim trying to manipulate the system to try and gain exclusive control of the family home.Criminal Orders of Protection
The Court relies extensively upon the input and guidance of the Office of Family Relations about what kind of orders it should enter. If Family Relations has made a recommendation that a protective order should issue then the Court will follow that recommendation in 99% of all cases. The kind of criminal restraining orders that the Court may impose during your arraignment come in three different varieties. The least restrictive is the so called partial order which means do not annoy, harass or assault the victim while the case is pending . The midlevel order is known as a residential stay away order and that means you must obey the conditions of the partial order and in addition stay away from the home of the victim. If you were living with the victim that means you are prevented from returning to your home during the pendency of the case which could take several months. Obviously this could be a huge nightmare, particularly if you have children. The most stringent and strict protective order is the “full no contact” order which prevents you from having any contact of any kind with the victim while the order is in effect. Often the Court may carve out an exception for communication via text to arrange visitation while the case is pending if you have minor children living with the victim.
Needless to say to be suddenly faced with this kind of overnight dramatic upheaval of your family over what may have seemed like a trivial argument or minor dispute can really be shocking and overwhelming for someone who is going through this for the first time. Many clients who are dealing with domestic violence cases are first time visitors to the criminal justice system and the heavy handed and sudden manner in which these developments occur can be quite devastating.Conditions of Release
In an effort to reduce recidivism rates for domestic violence the State has been investing heavily at the rate of $20,000,000 per year on anger management and substance abuse treatment programs. Studies show that education and treatment for the causes of domestic violence is more effective at preventing domestic violence than giving people criminal records and / or putting them in jail. This is why the focus now is on treatment programs and therapy. These programs typically run 12 weeks and they are provided by third party providers. Most of them meet during day time hours. In local domestic violence cases the Office of Family Relations is more frequently recommending that the Court order either anger management or substance abuse evaluation and treatment or both as part of the conditions of release while the case is pending. This means that you would be required to comply with the program rules and attend any scheduled sessions as a condition of your release while the case is pending. These programs can be a big help in resolving your case in some situations as the assistance offered often deals with the underlying issues which lead to the arrest in the first place. However, for those clients who are employed full time, the burden of attending these programs in the middle of a work day can spell disaster for their occupational future. Ideally, the best solution for those clients is to have your Stamford criminal attorney file a motion to modify your conditions of release to allow you to engage in whatever treatment the Court is seeking with a private therapist so you can arrange a schedule that suits your schedule. Another advantage of private therapy for those who have health insurance or who can afford it is that your attorney can have some control over the reports that get sent to the Court. With the Court ordered program there is no control over what the treatment providers write to the Court.
For all these reasons it is of the utmost importance to immediately contact a Stamford domestic violence lawyer to be there to represent you at the arraignment to work to lessen the severity of any restraining orders that may be issued and any other conditions of release that the Court may order. The Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman employs a 24 hour 365 day a year emergency response phone team to respond to domestic violence arrests.
Ideally everyone would retain a Stamford domestic violence attorney to represent them at the arraignment as a lot of very important and life changing decisions are going to be made which may take weeks and months to undo. In practice most people show up without lawyers, sadly, often because the Police often tell the people they are arresting not to worry they don’t need to hire a lawyer. In the event that you are one of those who are reading this after the day of your arraignment and a protective order has already issued do not worry it is not too late to contact the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman for a free initial case evaluation and not only begin the process to modify the terms of your protective order but also develop a plan to resolve your entire case.Resolution of Domestic Violence Cases
The good news is that the vast majority of domestic violence cases, particularly those involving first time offenders, are resolved favorably though a variety of avenues most of which lead to a complete erasure of all charges and no criminal record. It is important that you select an Attorney with a lot of experience in handling domestic violence cases who is aware of all the different methods of resolving these cases. There are many different methods and tactics to have domestic violence charges dismissed. The main objective is to make sure that you are not left with any criminal record. In cases with minor allegations and no injuries, just the process of going through the Court ordered course of therapy (or private therapy meetings) successfully is often enough to satisfy the State’s Attorney and earn a dismissal of the charges. Where the victim is on board and Family Relations is also in agreement often minor cases are just nolled or dropped by the State’s Attorney.
For those cases involving more serious allegations or a victim who insists upon prosecution, there is a Family Violence Education Program available which is a diversionary program which can lead to the dismissal of your charges. In addition there are enhanced versions of this program available for more serious cases that involve longer periods of treatment. The availability of a variety of diversionary programs is unique to domestic violence cases and is of great benefit because it allows the defense attorney and State’s Attorney to reach an agreement on an appropriate program to match the severity of the alleged crimes. Having an experienced Stamford domestic violence attorney who has worked with and understands all the various diversionary programs can make the difference to getting your charges dismissed.Complex Domestic Cases
Some domestic cases involve clients who have past histories of domestic violence. These clients are not eligible for diversionary programs. Also, we have had many clients who had violated the terms of a criminal protective order which the Courts take very seriously. In addition, we have represented many people who have picked up multiple cases of domestic violence against the same victim pending at the same time. In these situations, it takes a team effort to highlight the positive aspects of the individual and convince the State’s Attorney to work out a resolution that does not involve any jail time. We have had a lot of success working with conditional pleas and educational programs to resolve these kind of complex domestic matters.
The strategy to resolve any particular case depends of the facts of the case itself. With over 25 years of experience in defending domestic violence cases Attorney Allan F. Friedman will leave no stone unturned to defend your rights and obtain the best result possible. Our Stamford domestic violence law firm offers a free no obligation case evaluation so that we can review your legal rights and our defense strategy. To schedule your free consultation contact Allan F. Friedman at the Law offices of Allan F Friedman 24/7 at (203) 357-5555.