First Offense Domestic Violence in Connecticut
Most of our clients who have been charged with a domestic violence crime have never been arrested before. People who have been arrested for a minor first offense domestic violence crime may not understand how seriously domestic violence offenses are treated. Domestic violence is a term that covers a wide range of family violence behaviors. While everyone would agree that ongoing physical abuse needs to be addressed severely, many of the domestic violence cases that we handle involve isolated verbal disputes. Of course, we handle more severe cases that escalate into physical confrontations also.
Some of the most common domestic violence charges that we handle include:
- Assault in the third degree - C.G.S. § 53a-61
- Breach of the peace - C.G.S. § 53a-181
- Disorderly conduct - C.G.S. § 53a-182
- Stalking - C.G.S. § 53a-181d
- Strangulation - C.G.S. § 53a-64bb
- Interfering with a 911 call - C.G.S. § 53a-183b
- Unlawful Restraint - C.G.S. § 53a-96
Many of our clients are surprised to discover that the police make arrests even when the victim does not want to press charges. One of the main reasons why so many otherwise law-abiding citizens wind up getting arrested for domestic violence offenses is because of Connecticut's strict mandatory arrest statute.Mandatory Arrest Statutes
Connecticut law requires police to make an arrest in every domestic violence 911 call if they find any probable cause that a crime was committed, even if the victim does not want to press charges. Typically investigating officers will interview all the involved parties and any witnesses. Often, they will take photographs of any identifiable injuries.
The mandatory arrest statute takes all discretion away from police departments and requires them to make arrests in all domestic violence cases. If probable cause exists that a crime was committed, police are required to make an arrest. Probable cause is a low evidentiary standard and is not sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction at trial.
For first-time domestic violence offenders who get caught up in the criminal justice system for what may have seemed like a trivial argument, it can be a shock. It is essential to speak with an experienced Connecticut domestic violence attorney immediately as every domestic violence case requires a next day arraignment in criminal court.Consequences of Domestic Violence Arrests
As society has focused more attention on domestic violence, the consequences of a domestic violence arrest have become increasingly severe. For example, many professional sports leagues require the suspension of players who have been arrested for domestic violence allegations. Also, a quick Google search will show that many business executives and law enforcement offices have been terminated or suspended after being arrested for domestic violence accusations. Notice, in all of these situations, the accused has not been convicted of anything and retains the presumption of innocence, but the perception of being charged with a domestic violence allegation was enough to cause suspension or termination of employment.
I am not sharing these examples to frighten you into thinking that your employment is in jeopardy. Instead, I am writing to highlight the trend in societal attitudes about domestic violence offenders. If someone sees that you were charged with a domestic violence offense, they may think that you are a horrible abuser of women and may not realize that your arrest may have been an attempt to defend yourself or simply a heated verbal argument. In most domestic violence cases that we handle, the victim does not want the accused to be prosecuted and would like to drop the charges. Regrettably, the victim is unable to drop charges in a domestic violence case.
In many cases, local publications such as the Patch and local newspapers publish news articles of police blotter arrests. Depending on which town you live in, your domestic violence arrest may wind up online and show up in Google search results when someone looks up your name. In most cases, we can remove these articles with our internet scrubbing services.Orders of Protection
One of the things that first-time domestic violence offenders find most surprising is the mandatory next day arraignments and the imposition of criminal orders of protection. Criminal orders of protection carry many consequences, some of which may not affect you.
The entry of an order of protection could result in your immediate need to find a new place to live if you reside with the alleged victim. When children are involved, these changes can cause a lot of confusion and anxiety that children have a hard time understanding.
When a criminal order of protection enters, you must surrender all firearms. This can present problems for anyone who needs to carry a firearm as part of their employment, like members of the armed services, law enforcement, and security officers.
For anyone who travels for work, if you have an active order of protection, you will be subject to enhanced screening every time you enter the United States. This can prove to be both convenient and embarrassing for clients who travel for business. You will also be subject to additional scrutiny anytime that you are pulled over for a traffic stop or have any interaction with the police.
Most importantly, having an active order of protection exposes you to the potential liability of being charged with the felony crime of violation of an order of protection. Violation of an order of protection C.G.S. § 53a-223 is a severe felony-level offense. One of the goals of representation, when we defend first-time domestic violence offenders, is to lower the level of protection orders and get the case dismissed as quickly as possible so the order of protection will expire.Most First Offense Domestic Violence Cases Have a Favorable Outcome
While domestic violence cases are treated seriously by state's attorneys, the good news is that most first-offender domestic violence cases have favorable resolutions. There are many options to fight the allegations and resolve domestic violence cases without having to plead guilty and have a criminal record. Often first offenders can participate in anger management or substance abuse treatment programs, which can result in the state dropping the charges. Having an experienced Connecticut domestic violence lawyer to guide you through the process can get your case resolved quickly and help obtain the most favorable result.
Another popular option for first offense domestic violence offenders is the family violence education program. The family violence program or "FVEP" is a diversionary program that can be used by first-time offenders who have no prior record of a conviction for a domestic violence crime. The program consists of an educational component of 9 classes and a requirement to refrain from getting arrested for another domestic violence crime during the program period. Since courts take domestic violence seriously, getting granted entry to the FVEP is not automatic. You should retain a qualified Connecticut domestic violence attorney to make a professional presentation on your behalf.Hostile Victims
In most cases, we handle the victim is supportive of the accused and want to see a favorable outcome. However, there are some situations where the victim is strongly opposed to a favorable resolution and wants to see the accused prosecuted.
When the victim hires their own counsel to advocate against you or starts showing up at every court hearing to voice their strong opinions about your case, it can make it very challenging to obtain a favorable resolution. In many cases, where couples are involved in hotly contested divorces or child custody disputes, tensions run high. Attorney Friedman has over 30 years of experience navigating complex domestic violence cases, and he will fight had to make sure that your rights are defended and that you obtain the best result possible.Contact a Connecticut Domestic Violence Attorney Today!
We provide free initial consultations. We have more than 30 years of experience defending domestic violence allegations throughout the State of Connecticut. Working with an experienced Connecticut domestic violence lawyer can make a difference in the result of your case.
Our rates are reasonable, and we offer payment plans as needed. Call Attorney Friedman at (203) 357-5555 to schedule your free initial consultation. We are available 24/7. Or you can contact us online for a prompt response.