Stamford Domestic Violence Lawyer
If you have been arrested for abuse against a family or household member, a Stamford domestic violence lawyer must work tirelessly on your behalf to protect your rights and interests. The criminal attorneys at Mark Sherman Law have worked on many types of these cases and know how to effectively build a defense strategy.
What Makes an Incident Domestic Violence?
There is no specific crime in Connecticut law known as domestic violence. Instead, the law recognizes violence against family members as a concept that carries legal weight. According to Connecticut General Statutes (“C.G.S.”) §46b-38a, family abuse includes any act of physical violence or an act creating fear of imminent harm committed against a family or household member. The identity of the target makes an incident domestic violence, rather than the nature of the alleged crime.
The severity of the potential punishment is the same for domestic violence labeled cases as for non-domestic violence labeled cases.
Some of the most common criminal offenses that may be considered domestic violence if they impact a household or family member include:
- Assault, under Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) §53a-59 through 53aula-61a
- Threatening in the second degree, under C.G.S. §53a-62
- Strangulation, under C.G.S. §53a-64aa through 53a-64cc
- Kidnapping, under C.G.S. §§53a-92 through 53a-94a
- Unlawful restraint, under C.G.S. §53a-95 or 53a-96
- Breach of the peace in the second degree, under C.G.S. §53a-181
- Stalking, under C.G.S. §§53a-181c through 53a-181e
- Disorderly conduct, under C.G.S. §53a-182
- Harassment, under C.G.S. §§53a-182b or 53a-183
- Interfering with an emergency call, under C.G.S. §53a-183b
A Stamford attorney could provide assistance with contesting any of these domestic violence offenses both inside and outside of criminal court.
Who is Considered a Family or Household Member?
Under C.G.S. §46b-38a, family and household members include:
- Spouses or former spouses
- Parents or their children
- Persons related by blood or marriage
- Any people who have ever lived together
- Any people with children in common
As a result, many college roommates are surprised to learn that police have marked their cases as incidents of domestic violence. This designation can have a serious impact on your life before the case is ever heard in court.
Civil and Criminal Protective Orders in Domestic Abuse Cases
According to C.G.S. §46b-15, any family member who is subjected to a continuous threat of physical violence or threatening may petition a Superior Court for a civil order of protection. Alleged victims in these cases can petition the court even if police have not made an arrest. These orders can require the restricted party to surrender firearms, have no contact with the petitioner, and even cease contact with any shared children. Click here to learn more about family court orders of protection.
In addition, criminal courts have the option to impose protective orders following an arrest for domestic violence. Under C.G.S. §46b-38c, either the alleged victim or the prosecutor can ask the court to impose a criminal protective order that will remain in effect until the case comes to a conclusion. These orders can carry the same restrictive effect as civil orders and may become permanent if the restricted party is convicted. If you are facing a protective order as a result of a domestic violence case, speak to a Stamford attorney.
Possible Terms of Protective Orders in Connecticut
While the specific requirements that parties to a protective order must abide by can vary from case to case, there are three broad types of orders that Connecticut courts generally pass down in response to allegations of domestic abuse. The least severe type of protective order is a limited or partial order, which only forbids the defendant from engaging in any further harassment or abuse of the protected party or parties. So long as they do not commit any further acts of domestic violence, everyone subject to a partial protective order can continue to interact with each other, live in the same residence, and work in the same workplace as applicable.
A residential stay-away order forbids a person accused or convicted of domestic violence from being in the same building as the protected party or from coming into close proximity with them. The imposition of this type of order may require a person subject to it to find a different place to live or even switch jobs until the order expires.
Finally, a full no-contact order prohibits all forms of communication and physical contact or proximity between the defendant and the protected party. Importantly, the court often does not differentiate between accidental and intentional violations of orders like this. Even if a protected party initiates contact themselves, any response by the defendant would constitute a violation of their court order and could result in substantial criminal consequences.
What Happens if I Violate a Protective Order?
Under C.G.S. §§53a-223 through 53a-223c, violation of a protective order may be considered either a class D or a class C felony, depending on the type of order issued and the specific behavior that the defendant allegedly engaged in. For example, breaching the terms of a restraining order is a class D felony under most circumstances. However, a violation may result in a class C felony if it specifically entails imposing any physical restraint on a protected party or any action that constitutes harassment, assault, or molestation of the protected party. Assistance from a domestic violence lawyer in Stamford may be especially crucial to defending the best interests of someone facing charges for a protective order violation.
Contact a Stamford Domestic Violence Attorney Today
If you have been arrested for a crime in connection with domestic violence, you can face a variety of penalties and lasting effects. A Stamford domestic violence lawyer could help protect your rights during every stage of the process. They can work to resist the imposition of restraining orders and build a solid defense to the charges at the core of the case. You can read reviews from over 300 happy clients by following this link, then give us a call today to learn more about defending family violence charges in Stamford.