Domestic violence is a serious social issue that has received increased attention in recent years. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, more than 10 million people become victims of some form of domestic violence each year in the United States. Because of these harrowing statistics, an increased focus has been placed on prosecuting domestic violence offenders. While this is a valiant effort by lawmakers and law enforcement officials, those who face accusations of domestic violence can have a difficult time proving their innocence and dealing with the effects that these charges can have on their relationships, family life, and reputation. If you have been accused of domestic violence, there are a few things you should do to help your situation.
Connecticut Domestic Violence Laws
In Connecticut, domestic violence is referred to as “family violence.” Connecticut statutes define family violence as any act between family or household members that results in physical injury or creates reasonable fear that physical injury will occur. Family and household members can include:
- People who are related by blood
- People who are married or used to be married
- Roommates or former roommates
- People who are currently dating or used to date
- People who have a child in common
The state of Connecticut does not charge domestic violence as an offense separate from other criminal charges. Rather, a violent crime that is perpetrated against a family or household member can be denoted as a family violence offense. An alleged offender will be subject to the sentencing guidelines for the specific crime they are charged with, such as:
- Sexual assault
Those accused of family violence should also be aware that a protective order or restraining order may be filed against them. This type of order may prohibit an alleged offender from committing any further acts of family violence, and it may impose requirements or restrictions, such as staying away from the family home or paying child support or spousal support. A person who violates a civil restraining order may be held in contempt of court, and violation of a criminal protective order is a Class D felony, which may result in a prison sentence of one to five years. A person accused of family violence will also be required to surrender any firearms they own, and they may be required to attend a family violence education program.
Being Proactive About Accusations of Family Violence
If you have been accused of domestic violence, your response should be immediate and swift. Charges of violent crimes such as assault or battery could result in serious consequences, including large fines and a prison sentence. Even if you are not convicted, an accusation of family violence could lead to an investigation by the Department of Children and Families, which may affect your child custody rights. These charges could also affect your reputation in the community, your interpersonal relationships, and your ability to work in certain careers. To ensure that your rights are protected, you will want to work with an attorney to determine your best options for defense, including gathering evidence and obtaining witness testimonies to demonstrate your innocence.
A Hartford, CT Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Can Help
Being accused of domestic violence is a very serious situation. Not only do you face criminal charges, but every other area of your life can be affected for years to come. If you have been charged with family violence, or if allegations of domestic violence have resulted in a restraining order being taken out against you, the best thing you can do is to immediately contact a Connecticut criminal defense attorney. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we know how important it is to be proactive about domestic violence charges, and we will work with you to protect your rights, your freedom, and your reputation. Call our office today at 860-290-8690 to schedule a free consultation.