Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is referred to as family violence in Connecticut and is taken very seriously by police officers and prosecutors. Many district attorney offices have special units dedicated to prosecuting family violence cases. In Connecticut, once the charges have been assessed, it is tough to get them dropped, even if the victim wants to retract the accusations. It is extremely important to have an aggressive defense attorney who will work to get your penalties minimized.

Connecticut law defines family abuse as causing or attempting to cause bodily injury or placing a person in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily harm. This conduct can be considered domestic violence when the victim is a “family or household member” such as any of the following parties:

Former spouse
Person you are dating or formerly dated
Roommate or former roommate
Parent of your child
Family 18 years or older including parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and first cousins
Thorough Knowledge of Domestic Violence Procedures

When an officer arrives on the scene, they must make an arrest if there is evidence of physical injury, no matter how minimal. If both parties show signs of injury, the officer must conduct research to see if arrest warrants should be obtained for one or more parties. Other charges such as criminal trespass, assault or breach of the peace can be assessed for the same incident. An experienced criminal defense attorney will conduct an investigation into the crime report and any inaccuracies on it, the arrest and circumstances surrounding it, and the character and background of the victim to build a strong case on your behalf.

Degrees of Domestic Violence

A Connecticut family violence case can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, although it is most often charged as a felony. Penalties range from less severe for misdemeanors to much more severe for felonies. Serious injuries such as major cuts or broken bones are nearly always charged as a felony. History of criminal behavior or previous domestic violence disputes can also influence how the case is filed.


Misdemeanor penalties include:

Up to one year in jail
Felony penalties include:

Three to five years prison sentence
In cases of family violence in Connecticut, an order of protection will usually be drafted for the victim to restrict contact between the victim and the charged party. Any violation of this order is considered a felony, unless the contact is made by the victim, who could be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor. Even if the charged party is innocent of the family violence charge, they can receive a felony charge for violating the order of protection.

Qualified Counsel

Due to the tenacity with which prosecutors pursue domestic violence cases, you need a criminal defense attorney who has experience with domestic violence and the courses of action available for defense. You must hire a law firm with the resources to rigorously investigate the events preceding, during and following your arrest. A skilled defense lawyer can fight for alternative penalties to jail time such as counseling and probation. Your attorney can also help you enroll in the Pretrial Family Violence Education program, which, upon your completion of it, will result in your charges being dismissed. The program is two years long; only certain people will qualify for it.

Have you been charged with a Domestic Violence crime?

If you are a potential client, please contact the knowledgeable and dedicated attorneys of Fairfield Criminal Defense Attorneys for a free consultation to learn more about your rights. Domestic violence charges are serious, but an expert lawyer can make a big difference in determining your punishment. You can count on one of our experienced attorneys to fight for the best possible outcome for your situation.