Charged with Domestic Violence? You Need a Lawyer ASAP

Charged with Domestic Vio…

When family arguments get heated at home, a call to the police can escalate to criminal charges quickly. Finding the right lawyer is important in any criminal case. However, if you find yourself charged with domestic violence, you need a lawyer as soon as possible. Delaying even a day or two can affect your rights and leave you fighting an uphill battle for your home and your family.

Family Violence Calls Turn into Domestic Violence Charges

In Connecticut, police respond to approximately 20,000 family violence incidents every year. Nearly three-quarters of those incidents are between intimate partners -- spouses and couples. Connecticut has a mandatory arrest law. That means that when the police respond to a domestic violence call at least one of the people involved will be going to jail. Until 2019, this led to approximately 18% of cases resulting in “dual arrests” where both spouses faced domestic violence charges because police could not determine who was the clear aggressor. However, on January 1, 2019, Connecticut’s Dominant Aggressor Law gave officers more on-site discretion to determine who “poses the most serious ongoing threat” in a family violence situation. Even so, domestic violence charges can create challenges for families and threaten defendants’ rights even if the case is eventually dismissed.

Consequences of Domestic Violence Charges Start Long Before Conviction

Depending on the circumstances, domestic violence incidents can result in criminal charges for:

  • Assault
  • Threatening
  • Stalking
  • Strangulation
  • Sexual assault

Each of these convictions come with their own criminal penalties including jail or prison time, probation, and fines. However, the consequences of domestic violence charges in Connecticut can start long before the jury reaches a verdict or the defendant enters a plea agreement.

Next-Day Arraignments Threaten Your Right to Remain Silent

If you are arrested and charged with domestic violence on a Tuesday, you will be in court on Wednesday for a next-day arraignment and protective order hearing. By law, this initial court appearance must occur on the next business day and it will include a meeting with a member of family services to assess the danger you pose to the alleged victim.

These hearings make retaining a criminal defense attorney your top priority after you have been arrested with domestic violence charges. The statements you make to the family services officers can and will be used against you in your criminal case. Even statements you think show your innocence can be taken out of context and instead used to prove your guilt. Without the assistance of an attorney experienced with Connecticut domestic violence charges and procedures, you could be convinced to make admissions that will hurt your defense and affect your right to remain silent.

Protective Orders Can Remove You From Your Home

The result of these interviews can seriously affect your rights while the criminal case is pending. If the trial court judge enters a protective order against you, you could be prohibited from contacting your spouse or partner, be cut off from visiting your children, or even kept from entering your own home. Without the help of a domestic violence defense attorney, you may find yourself scrambling to arrange alternative housing or take care of your daily needs. If the judge does enter a protective order, your attorney can advocate so that you have an opportunity to -- at least -- go home and collect your personal belongings without risking additional criminal charges for violating a protective order (a Class D felony).

Connecticut legislators have taken extreme steps to prevent domestic violence and protect the victims of intimate partner violence. If you find yourself facing domestic violence charges, these laws make it essential that you hire an experienced domestic violence attorney as soon as possible. Avoid having next-day arraignments and protective order hearings affect your rights by contacting a lawyer immediately after you find out charges have been filed.

At the Lebedevitch Law Firm, based in Fairfield, Connecticut, criminal defense attorney Stephen Lebedevitch knows how essential it is to have an attorney by your side from day one. He will stand beside you from arraignment to sentencing or acquittal, and will advocate to protect your right to remain silent and your ability to go home. Contact us for a free consultation to talk to Stephen today.