Getting arrested in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, or Danbury Connecticut for a domestic violence crime like Disorderly Conduct, Assault Third Degree, Breach of Peace, or Threatening can shake up any family. As the person arrested, your first inclination is to do whatever it takes to get the charges dismissed. So when most people arrested for the first time in Connecticut for a domestic violence crime arrive in court, they are immediately ordered to speak with a Family Relations Officer. As the best Stamford and Greenwich Connecticut criminal lawyers know, these are court officers whose task is to conduct a quick safety assessment to not only determine the terms and conditions of a possible domestic violence restraining order, but to also provide some guidance to you about the criminal court process. As it’s your first day of your first arrest in Connecticut, you are understandably nervous and are likely to ask Connecticut Family Relations officers questions about how to get your case dismissed, as they are often your first point of contact in the Stamford, Norwalk or Danbury Connecticut criminal courthouses.
But here’s the problem—what these Family Relations Officers don’t tell you is that many of them are under a mandate to refer you to the Family Violence Education Program (also called the “FVEP”)—a Connecticut first time offenders anger management program that will result in the automatic dismissal of your Connecticut domestic violence arrest. It’s also no coincidence that the State of Connecticut makes a sweet profit on every Family Violence Education program application and enrollee. Moreover, these Family Relations Officers are not lawyers and should not be advising you about anything related to the resolution of your criminal charges. So before you rush in and apply for the Connecticut Family Violence Education Program, here are 5 reasons not to do it…
Perhaps the most compelling reason to try to get your Connecticut domestic violence arrest dismissed without using the FVEP is that the criminal protective order that was issued against you on your first day of court remains in place for the entire duration of your Family Violence Education Program. The length of the program is determined by the judge at your FVEP hearing and can be extended for 2 years, which gives the alleged victim in your case that length of time to try and figure out how to get you arrested in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien or New Canaan Connecticut for Criminal Violation of a Protective Order, a felony arrest in Connecticut that carries a maximum 5 year prison sentence. You and your top Danbury or Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyer attorney should craft a defense that avoids using the FVEP so you can get your protective order terminated as soon as possible.
With the help of the best Stamford, Norwalk and New Canaan Connecticut criminal law firms, an alternative to the Family Violence Education Program can be negotiated in certain Connecticut arrests for Disorderly Conduct, Assault, Threatening and Harassment. Alternatives such as private therapy, anger management, community service, and charitable contributions to victim agencies are just some of the options available to be discussed behind closed doors with the domestic violence judge and state’s attorney / prosecutor. The priority in Connecticut domestic violence court is keeping families safe—so work with your top Norwalk and Danbury Connecticut criminal lawyer attorney to control the narrative and resolve your case without using the Family Violence Education Program.
While you are enrolled in the Family Violence Education Program, your Connecticut domestic violence arrest charges remain pending on your permanent record and are available to the public. This means that they will come up in any background check by your employer, during a job search, mortgage application or life insurance application. Obviously this can slow down or sink job prospects or your professional reputation on many levels. So lean on your top Norwalk and Stamford Connecticut domestic violence criminal lawyer to explore alternative possibilities to the Family Violence Education Program.
If you are arrested for a domestic violence crime in Connecticut and are simultaneously involved in a nasty divorce action, then you can count on the fact that the lawyer for your husband or wife will use your admission into the Connecticut Family Violence Education Program against you in your divorce case. While applying for the FVEP is NOT an admission of guilt, they will try to manipulate and spin your FVEP application into some kind of implicit admission. (A critical note of caution: while this article discourages the use of the FVEP, understand that many of the best Connecticut criminal lawyers would agree that in some cases, using the FVEP program would be an ideal and perhaps very desirable resolution of your case, especially when you are arrested in the Stamford, Norwalk, Danbury and Bridgeport courts for additional charges that are not classified as “domestic violence crimes” such as Interfering with a 911 call, Violation of a Protective Order, Risk of Injury and Violating Conditions of Release. In those cases, the best Connecticut criminal lawyers will likely tell you to take the FVEP and run with it!).
Too often lawyers who don’t regularly practice criminal law in the Stamford, Norwalk and Bridgeport domestic violence courts will apply their clients for the Connecticut Family Violence Education Program when the case does not even involve allegations of violence. This comes up regularly in cases that involve verbal abuse where husbands and wives berate each other with profanities but do not threaten violence. The best Connecticut criminal attorneys will carefully examine the police reports and will know how to properly push back on a prosecutor’s FVEP recommendation if the facts don’t qualify for the program. Put more simply, make sure your lawyer knows what they’re doing—and that they are not a real estate or divorce lawyer trying to make a few quick bucks in Connecticut domestic violence court.
The Mark Sherman Law team of criminal attorneys regularly appear in the domestic violence courts in Stamford, Norwalk, Milford, Danbury, Norwalk and throughout Connecticut. Our glowing client testimonials speak for themselves, and we also provide additional articles and thoughts in a dedicated domestic violence information website. So before burning your FVEP, give us a call today to discuss getting you the best defense possible to your Connecticut domestic violence arrest. Call us today at (203) 358-4700.