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Hartford domestic violence defense attorneySince late March, the state of Connecticut, much like the rest of the country, has been in lockdown. The state’s stay-at-home order has prevented certain non-essential businesses from conducting in-person operations, and people may only leave their homes to perform essential tasks. For some families, this order has kept them safe. However, for families where domestic violence is a concern, this order may not have had the same effect. Connecticut domestic violence activists are concerned that victims are unable to receive the services they need, and those who are seeking protection or who need to defend against accusations of domestic violence may face difficulties in having their cases heard in court.

Has the Pandemic Increased Domestic Violence Calls?

According to the president and CEO of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV), calls to police regarding domestic violence increased by around 52 percent in early April of this year when compared to a similar period of time in early March. However, some law enforcement reports show that family violence calls decreased in the first two weeks of April 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019. Municipal and state police reported that there were 495 family violence calls placed in the first half of April, compared to 519 calls placed during the same period in 2019.

The pandemic has also affected the services available for victims. The state of Connecticut only has 227 licensed emergency beds for domestic violence victims, and these are now almost completely full. Thanks to a $15,000 grant from an anonymous donor, hotel rooms have been provided for an additional 29 victims.

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East Hartford family violence defense attorneyDomestic 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:

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Connecticut restraining order, Hartford CT criminal lawyerMany people appreciate the fact that they can get a restraining order against another person in case they are victims of abusive conduct or harassment. However, what people often overlook is that there are three different types of restraining orders available under Connecticut law, each with their own unique effects. First, there are Protective Orders, which judges in a criminal case can hand down after a domestic violence case. Second, there are Reliefs from Abuse, which are available in family court. Finally, there are Civil Restraining Orders, a new form of relief available in civil court outside of the family context. Importantly, regardless of the type of order issued, a violation of any of them is a Class D felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

Protective Order

Protective Orders are available from criminal courts in two circumstances. First, if a person has been the victim of stalking by a family member, as defined under Connecticut law, then they may be able to receive a criminal Protective Order. Second, if a person has been a victim of family violence that resulted in the arrest of the other family member, then they may also be eligible for a Protective Order. However, people should be aware that a mere argument or physical abuse does not qualify as family violence, unless there was a likelihood of immediate physical violence. Protective orders, which usually last until the resolution of a criminal case, can forbid a variety of behaviors, including restraining the person's freedom, threatening or assaulting the person, or entering the victim's home. There is also an alternate version of the Protective Order, known as a Standing Criminal Restraining Order, which can stay in effect after the end of the case, usually for life.

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