Top Greenwich and Stamford criminal lawyers will tell you that some of the most common domestic violence charges are Assault in the Third Degree and Assault in the Second Degree. Most domestic violence confrontations usually involve some sort of violent, physical contact. And by the time the police arrive to a domestic violence 911 call, the violence has already occurred.
Officers who are trained in responding to Connecticut domestic violence charges are instructed to investigate both sides of the story and to closely observe and inspect each person involved, primarily to figure out which person is telling the truth. If there are accusations of physical contact or violence, then the police will carefully examine an alleged victim’s body for marks, bruises and any signs of abuse or struggle. That’s when police will decide which, if any, domestic violence assault charges are warranted and whether they should arrest one or both parties involved.
Therefore if you are arrested for a domestic violence assault charge in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Westport, Norwalk, Fairfield or anywhere else in Connecticut, you should contact a top Stamford criminal lawyer right away. As discussed below, Connecticut domestic violence assault charges can quickly turn your life upside down, even getting you removed from your home for months at a time. By getting a top Connecticut criminal lawyer involved at the beginning of your case, you will be in the best position to defend yourself against your Connecticut domestic violence charges by being knowledgeable about the process and having a top Connecticut domestic violence attorney by your side.Your Arraignment for a Domestic Violence Assault Charge
A criminal assault charge is treated a bit differently in a domestic violence courtroom than in any other setting. Specifically, if you are accused of assaulting your husband, wife, life partner, child, or any other family member (as opposed to getting in a road rage fight or bar fight with a stranger), you will be arrested and summoned to court on the very next business morning for your domestic violence arraignment. Unless you have hired an experienced Connecticut criminal lawyer to represent you at your domestic violence arraignment, plan on spending most of that day at the courthouse. At this arraignment, you will be asked to speak to family relations workers whose job it is to make recommendations to the Superior Court judge regarding the appropriate level of the restraining order—or criminal protective order—that will be issued against you.The Three Types of Domestic Violence Criminal Protective & Restraining Orders
Domestic violence criminal protective orders come in three forms—(1) full no contact, (2) full, and (3) partial. The “full no contact” protective order will prohibit you from having any contact with the alleged victim whatsoever and will further prevent you from entering this victim’s residence. A “full” protective order, also called a “residential stay-away” order allows you to have contact but prevents you from entering the victim’s home for any reason. Finally, the “partial” protective order—the least restrictive order—simply orders you not the “threaten, harass, or intimidate” the victim, an order which is a component of the other two orders. These orders are spelled out for you on that very first day of court and can last as long as the criminal case itself—possible for many months unless they are properly and aggressively challenged.
We have seen many falsely accused domestic violent defendants wrongly ordered out of their homes for months at a time based on bogus allegations of abuse and assault. Therefore, if a domestic violence court judge has wrongly imposed a criminal protective order on you that has kept you out of your home, then you should contact a top Connecticut domestic violence lawyer to assist you in getting the order modified. Your lawyer will demand an evidentiary hearing to challenge the order and the accused can sometimes be put on the witness stand.
With the severity of these protective orders looming over a domestic violent defendant during their criminal cases, we always warn our domestic violence clients that victims can sometimes be tempted to use these restraining / protective orders as a sword rather than a shield. What do we mean by this? That it’s very easy to violate these protective orders and a victim involved in a contentious divorce proceeding may try to bait or lure you into violating a protective order, either by antagonizing you, goading you, texting you, or even inviting you over to “reconcile” when they know you are not permitted in the home and then will have the police waiting at the door to arrest you. Any violation of these protective orders—even a harmless text to a person protected by a full no contact order—can lead to a felony charge of Criminal Violation of a Protective Order under C.G.S. § 53a-223—all the more reason to have a top Stamford criminal lawyer by your side at your domestic violence restraining order hearing.The Different Degrees of Domestic Violence Assault Charges & Their Penalties
Assault in the Third Degree under C.G.S. § 53a-61 is the most common domestic violence assault charge (for the full text of the statute, click here). In general, to be charged with Third Degree Assault in Connecticut, you must intentionally cause physical injury to another person, or recklessly cause serious physical injury (i.e. a broken bone) to the other person. It is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, probation and a $2000 fine. Assault in the Second Degree, per C.G.S. § 53a-60, is a Class D Felony, punishable by up to 5 years in jail, a $5000 fine and probation. This charge accuses you of causing “serious physical injury” (i.e. a broken bone or fracture) to another person. Finally, the most serious Assault Charge, First Degree Assault under C.G.S. § 53a-59, involves causing serious physical injury to another person while using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. This scenario is punishable by up to 20 years in jail, 5 of which are mandatory and cannot be suspended by the Court.Fighting Domestic Violence Assault Charges in Connecticut
As top Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers acknowledge, one of the major distinctions between an assault charge in domestic violence court and any other assault charge prosecuted in the regular docket are the defense strategies that can result in the charges being dismissed. In domestic violence court, there are nuanced and technical defense tactics that can convince a judge or prosecutor to suspend the prosecution of your assault charges. Diversionary programs such as the Family Violence Education Program (FVEP), the Evolve Program, and the Explorer Program are several options you may avail yourself of to earn a dismissal. And in the event your criminal lawyer cannot agree on a disposition or diversionary program with the state prosecutor, some of the best Stamford domestic violence criminal lawyers will request numerous pre-trial conferences with the presiding domestic violence judge to see whether your criminal lawyer can persuade a judge to dismiss a case based on treatment, rehabilitation, and weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
The experienced domestic violence criminal lawyers at Mark Sherman Law will work with you to craft an appropriate and effective defense strategy. We will aggressively investigate the accuser in your case. If necessary, we will track down their cell phone records, social media activity, work with our private investigator to gather all the necessary witness statements, and carefully review your police reports for errors, omissions and constitutional defects. Our “two-attorney” review process helps ensure that more than one attorney from our firm reviews your case carefully.If You Are the Victim of a Domestic Violence Assault Charge
Finally, we are often called to represent victims of domestic violence assault charges in this process. Victims, like defendants, need to have their voices heard in domestic violence court. And as long as we are not already representing the person accused of assaulting you, then we are permitted to represent you in the domestic violence court process. Many domestic violence victims hire our firm to assist them in making sure the protective and restraining orders in place are not modified or terminated early by the Court or the accused. These restraining orders provide them with comfort and safety they need during the entire duration of the underlying criminal case. In this role, we often work hand in hand the Office of the Victim Advocates who facilitate counseling and safety plans for our victim clients that will help them get through a difficult and emotional domestic violence case.
The Mark Sherman Law team is pleased to offer the services of our own in-house victim advocate, Christine Bartlett, who served as a Connecticut Superior Court domestic violence victim advocate for nearly a decade. Her experience of counseling and advocating for hundreds of victims in felony and misdemeanor domestic violence cases during her tenure at the courthouse separates our victim representation practice from our competitors. Christine, along with the Firm’s lawyers, regularly assist our victim clients in securing a civil restraining order as additional protection. For information on our Stamford domestic violence victim representation practice, give Christine or any of our attorneys a call today.Contact a Domestic Violence Assault Lawyer at Mark Sherman Law
There’s no question that the domestic violence court process moves swiftly, severely, and is composed of many moving parts. Don’t go it alone. If you have been charged with C.G.S. §§ 53a-61, 53a-60 or 53a-59 Domestic Violence Assault in Stamford, Darien, Greenwich, Norwalk, New Canaan, Fairfield, Trumbull, Westport or any other Connecticut courthouse, you should call one of the experienced Assault lawyers at Mark Sherman Law today. We will respond quickly to your call and case by accompanying you to your domestic violence restraining order hearing. And if you are the victim of a domestic violence assault case, then we will work with you, your family, and the Office of the Victim Advocate to keep the protective orders in place and ensure your voice is heard by all parties throughout the case.
As you can see, time is of the essence in the domestic violence court process, so let us help you get in front or your case as quickly as possible. Call us today at (203) 358-4700. Our rates are reasonable, and we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your call.Related Links: