Facing New Haven Domestic Violence Charges Alone Is Not An Option
As awareness regarding the seriousness of domestic violence continues to grow across Connecticut, an uptick in arrests and charges cannot help but follow.
Already, the New Haven police department responds to upwards of 100 domestic violence calls in a given week, and the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCA|DV) reports that nearly 33,000 domestic violence cases passed through Connecticut courts last year alone.
All of which is to say that if you are facing charges or allegations of family violence, you have a lot of company. In fact, as of November 2018, there were even four members of the NHPD facing state domestic violence charges. It can happen to anyone, and the consequences are incredibly severe.
If you are facing these types of charges, I can tell you from experience that being convicted will damage both your personal and professional reputation. It can change the way you are legally allowed to interact with your family, make finding a place to live difficult, and not just make getting a good job hard, but actually make you ineligible to hold positions in entire employment fields.
That is the bad news. The good news is that our firm can help. The Law Office of Douglas D. Rudolph knows that fighting domestic violence allegations is a delicate matter involving family members and often the most intimate parts of their relationships. Choose us and I can promise that you will always be treated like a human being rather than a case number.
All of us make mistakes. We get angry and let it out in inappropriate ways. Maybe we get too drunk or high and lose control. Perhaps we are just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
How we handle the situation afterward, however, matters just as much as what may or may not have occurred in the moment, and a big part of that is picking the right legal representation. Someone who will not only show you compassion during what is likely one of the lowest moments of your life, but also understand how to use the specifics of your individual situation and background to help your case. Who is well-versed in the underlying causes of domestic violence, including substance abuse, and can articulate strong arguments for getting you the help you need rather than compoundig the problem with punitive measures.
We have successfully handled numerous domestic violence cases, and we understand the nuances of Connecticut criminal law and how to use them to give you the best chance at the most positive outcome in your situation.
Do not wait until it is too late. Reach out and let us help you make sense of these accusations.
How “Domestic Violence” Works According to Connecticut Law
Although in federal statutes (and in the laws of many other states) offenses of this nature are typically referred to as “domestic violence,” Connecticut defines them as acts of “family violence.”
This is important, because it means that any crime – assault, kidnapping, disorderly conduct, breach of peace, etc. – involving physical injury (or fear of imminent physical injury) to a family or household member can be charged as a family violence crime in this state.
Connecticut’s statute on family violence generally separates domestic violence acts into two categories: threats and actual assaults.
First- and Second-Degree Threats
Legally, any statement intended to terrorize a victim or cause them to fear for their personal safety is considered a threat.
Statements deemed threats are further classified into two degrees depending upon circumstances such as whether the offender brandished a weapon or if they involved a hazardous substance.
Varying Degrees of Assault
When actual physical contact occurs during the commission of family violence, assualt charges may be filed by the state. Most physical assualt charges are classified as First-, Second-, or Third-degree assaults.
Exact charges will be determined based on the seriousness of an offender’s intent – which can often be difficult to prove – and the level of injury a victim has sustained.
Other Family Violence Crimes
Other family violence crimes include the different degrees of sexual assault, harassment, stalking, and strangulation. As an experienced New Haven family violence defense attorney, I will work to help you understand your specific charge, why it was brought against you, and develop strategies to help you battle against it.
Exactly how important is having an in-depth knowledge of our state’s family violence laws? Very. For instance, were you aware of the fact that verbal abuse and arguments are not considered domestic violence in Connecticut unless there is a present danger of physical violence as well? Or that there are parental protections here regarding acts of disciplining minor children?
These are the kinds of things that could potentially get your charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed if they factor into your case, but you are going to need someone who knows the law to make that argument.
Criminal Penalties for Family Violence Are Only the Beginning
The criminal penalties for family violence convictions in Connecticut are determined by the degree of the crime. While the first-degree assault of a pregnant woman causing termination of the pregnancy is considered a Class A felony, for instance, the least serious form of threatening may only result in misdemeanor charges.
In other words, there is a wide range where consequences are concerned. A family violence conviction can garner a prison sentence anywhere between six months and 25 years, and leave you footing the bill for up to $20,000 in fines.
Unfortunately, once the time has been served and the last fine paid, you have only reached the end of the beginning.
Some of the most common ongoing issues you could face after a family violence conviction pertain to public court records, protective orders, and the additional punitive measures associated with civil suits.
Court Records are Typically Public Information
According to law, if you are convicted of domestic violence, your court files must note specifics when the conviction involves certain circumstances.
Such factors include the assault of a pregnant woman causing termination of pregnancy, when aggravated sexual assault involves a minor, or if the domestic violence crime includes strangulation.
When family violence intervention counselors become involved, they are required to provide written and oral reports for inclusion in those public records as well.
These are a myriad of details that may surface during various background checks throughout your life, because court records like these are typically classified as public information.
Protective Order Violations Can Lead to New Felony Charges
An entirely different set of laws may apply if a Connecticut court has issued any of three different types of protective orders restricting your contact with an alleged victim:
- A “full no contact” order, which prohibits you from contacting the alleged victim or entering their dwelling or workplace.
- A “full” or “residential stay-away” order, which allows outside contact but prohibits you from entering the alleged victim’s dwelling.
- A “limited” or “partial” protective order, which allows you to contact the victim but only in a non-intimidating and non-threatening way.
Under Connecticut law, violating a criminal protective order is considered a Class D felony and is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
In other words, if you enter the dwelling of someone who has a full no contact or residential stay-away order against you, you can be charged with a felony – even when you did not intend to or even actually commit a crime.
Criminal Convictions Do Not Bar Civil Suits for Family Violence
Connecticut is one of many states which allows family members to sue one another for injuries. Because domestic violence tends to involve deliberate actions which inflict harm, these acts are usually enough to constitute an intentional tort.
Another tort claim our office often sees is the intentional infliction of emotional distress, typically brought in cases of stalking, threatening, or destruction of personal property.
The types of civil damages historically awarded can include lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Depending on documentation, these costs can result in staggering sums.
Contact Douglas D. Rudolph Today and Begin Building Your Strongest Defense
Our office is well-versed in helping New Haven clients through the stress, uncertainty, and fear that accompany a loved one’s accusations of abuse. We are dedicated to protecting you with compassionate representation and an aggressive defense strategy.
With the Rudolph criminal defense team, rest assured you have Connecticut’s finest law professionals at your defense. When your freedom, finances, and family are on the line, facing New Haven domestic violence charges alone is not an option.
Reach out to our firm with your questions and concerns. We are happy to provide an initial consultation and to evaluate your case at no charge. Take the right steps in protecting the future of your family. Get in touch now.