People with close relationships often argue, sometimes getting out of hand. If someone calls the police and they believe the argument got physical, they will place the person they deem the primary aggressor under arrest. A domestic violence arrest has significant implications for the accused person as well as other members of the household. The court may impose severe consequences before an accused has the opportunity to defend themselves.
In these situations, discuss your options with a lawyer at Ruane Attorneys. We can explain the Bridgeport domestic violence penalties and work to minimize the impact on your life.
Understanding the Family Violence Laws in Bridgeport
When a crime involves physical harm, a credible threat of physical harm, or stalking or harassment that could instill fear in the alleged victim, it could be considered a domestic violence crime, depending on the victim’s identity.
Connecticut General Statute §46b-38a defines family violence and specifies the relationships involved in these charges. A violent action or threat could be family violence under the law if the alleged victim and perpetrator have one of the following relationships:
- Spouse or former spouse
- Related by blood or marriage
- Currently or recently in a dating relationship
- Roommates or former roommates
The primary concern of police officers when responding to a potential family violence incident is protecting the alleged victim and any other vulnerable people. If there is evidence of physical harm or a credible threat of physical harm, the police will arrest the person they believe is a threat.
Penalties Imposed at Arraignment
Anyone arrested for a family violence crime must appear at an arraignment on the next business day. At the arraignment, the judge typically issues an order requiring the accused to refrain from assaulting, threatening, or harassing the alleged victim.
However, many protective orders also require the defendant to avoid contact with the alleged victim and stay away from their home or work—even if the defendant shares a home with them. The protective order also requires the accused to surrender any firearms they own. The court also might order anger management classes, alcohol dependency treatment, counseling, and similar services.
A Bridgeport attorney could work to prevent these pre-trial domestic violence penalties. Legal counsel could also present reasons why classes or treatment orders are premature at the arraignment phase. Ruane Attorneys could request a hearing within 14 days to revisit the need for the protective order.
Resolving Family Violence Charges
If the accused is a first offender and the alleged victim did not suffer a serious physical injury, our Bridgeport lawyers can often work to resolve the domestic violence charges with minimal penalties and avoid creating a criminal record. However, the accused usually must participate in counseling or treatment before a judge dismisses a domestic violence charge. Applying for the Family Violence Education Program is a beneficial alternative in some cases.
The accused usually must report to the court every 30 days until they have satisfied their judge-ordered obligations. If there are no further domestic violence complaints and the accused completes their obligations, a judge will often dismiss the charge, keeping a first offender’s record clear.
Domestic Violence Penalties Upon Conviction
The judge or prosecutor might be unwilling to resolve a charge without criminal penalties if the incident allegedly caused significant injuries or the accused has a history of family violence arrests. They also take violations of protective orders seriously. In these cases, the accused faces the same penalties they would face if the alleged victim were a stranger.
For example, third-degree assault is a misdemeanor with a potential sentence of up to one year in jail and a $2000 fine. Threatening with a firearm or substantive violations of a protective order are Class D felonies and could lead to a five-year prison sentence and a $5000 fine. As our Bridgeport attorneys can explain, these penalties can increase if the offender has prior convictions for violent crimes.
Consult a Bridgeport Attorney About Family Violence Penalties
The penalties for a family violence charge largely depend on whether you have a history of violent crimes or domestic abuse arrests. Regardless of your situation, the legal team at Ruane Attorneys is here to fight for your rights and seek a positive resolution to the charges.
Discuss Bridgeport domestic violence penalties with a lawyer at our firm to understand the stakes in your case. Call us today to learn your legal options for defense.