First-Time Domestic Violence Offenses in Norwalk
If you were recently arrested for a first-time domestic violence offense in Norwalk, speaking with legal counsel should be one of your top priorities. Once retained, a knowledgeable domestic violence lawyer could work tirelessly on your behalf to mitigate the penalties you might end up facing and possibly secure a resolution to your case that does not involve fines or jail time.
What Criminal Penalties Could a Conviction Result in?
The punishments that a court could sentence someone with after a conviction for domestic violence vary significantly depending on what allegedly violent conduct the defendant engaged in. If criminal charges arise from a simple domestic disturbance, a defendant may only have to contend with a charge of disorderly conduct, a class C misdemeanor which would be punishable by no more than $500 in fines and a three-month jail sentence. Conversely, more serious domestic violence offenses like assault are often felonies that can be punished by lengthy prison terms and much steeper fines.
Even if a defendant in Norwalk avoids severe criminal penalties for a first-time domestic violence offense, they will almost certainly be subject to a restraining order at least temporarily. They may also be investigated by the state Department of Children and Families if authorities suspect there is any risk of children in the defendant’s household suffering harm in the future.
Are There Any Alternative Sentencing Options for First-Time Offenders?
Fortunately, first-time domestic violence offenders in Connecticut can sometimes avoid criminal consequences altogether by applying for and being accepted into the Family Violence Education Program. This program is available only to individuals with no prior family violence convictions whose first offense is not a felony of class C or higher. Defendants accused of class D felonies can sometimes be eligible for this program, but only if they show “good cause” for their admittance.
The FVEP is not automatically offered as an alternative sentencing option for first-time offenders—defendants who wish to participate must file an application with the Clerk of the court their case is heard in and have that application approved by the presiding judge. There is also a $100 application fee, as well as an additional $300 fee to cover the program’s costs.
A first-time domestic violence offender in Norwalk who successfully completes the FVEP—which entails attending nine weekly group classes without missing any—will usually have their charge dismissed within a maximum of two years. A knowledgeable attorney may be able to help negotiate for an earlier dismissal date depending on the circumstances.
Get Help from a Norwalk Attorney Following a First-Time Domestic Violence Arrest
First-time domestic violence offenses in Norwalk are generally a lot easier to handle with a dedicated domestic violence lawyer by your side. Click here to learn more from the reviews of our happy clients. Call today to set up a consultation and see how a skilled attorney could help you.