Frequently Asked Connecticut Domestic Violence Questions
I've been charged with domestic violence. What does that mean?
"Domestic Violence" is not an offense by itself, - consider it a classification or modifier. It can be used to modify several different charges but typically affects assault, stalking and any version of those offenses. When a charge is classified as "domestic violence" it invokes several additional statutes that deal with minimum penalties and how the case is to be handled by law enforcement and the state attorney's office.
I've been charged with domestic violence but I have never even lived with this person?
In order for a case to be classified as "domestic violence" you need not have lived with the person. The statutory definition requires the offense to have been committed by one family or household member to another. A family or household member is a spouse, former spouse, person related by blood or marriage, persons presently residing together as if a family or have resided in the past as if a family, and persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they are married or have resided together in the past. Note that people related by marriage, i.e., brothers-in-law, can be charged with domestic violence offenses.
If I just plea to this charge what will I have to do?
Each offense has its own maximum and minimum penalties. On top of those, a person that pleas to a domestic violence classified offense must complete a 26 week Batterers Intervention Program (and must pay for it), and if bodily harm was found to have been inflicted on the victim the court may require a minimum of 5 days in jail.
If I plea to a domestic violence charge can I get my record sealed or expunged afterward?
No. This is often never told to people before they plea to this offense.
I pled to a domestic violence charge and my concealed weapons permit was revoked. Can they do that?
If you have been found guilty of a "domestic violence" classified offense you will be prohibited from obtaining a concealed weapons permit for a minimum of 3 years. The statute is not clear on whether it can be revoked if you already have a permit. However, the judge may order, as a condition of pretrial release, that you are not to possess any firearms until the case has been resolved.
My wife told the police that she did not want to press charges but I was arrested anyway. Now she told the State Attorney's Office that she wants the case dropped - but they won't drop it. Can they do that? How can they continue under those circumstances?
Yes, they can do what they are doing and they can attempt to prosecute you despite your wife's position regarding the case. Many successful prosecutions of domestic violence cases have been done without having the victim testify. The State may have other evidence that they feel will be enough to convict you such as excited utterances, photos of injuries, admissible statements, etc. Believe it or not, people have been found guilty of these offenses even when the alleged victim has taken the stand and denied it ever happened.
I was arrested for domestic violence. Now my spouse has the house and I am not allowed to have any contact with her. How am I suppose to live?
As a rule, Judges will order that the accused in a domestic violence case have zero contact with the victim. This is usually ordered at first appearance. Until you request the Judge to modify that order you cannot have any contact with your spouse. This means she gets to keep living in the home and you have to find another place to stay. Sometimes a Judge will modify the "no contact" order to "no illegal contact." This will allow each of you to resume your living arrangements as they were before the arrest.