Connecticut Family Violence Education Program
If you are arrested in Connecticut for a domestic violence crime, then a family relations officer or domestic violence prosecutor may try to push you into the Connecticut first time offender Family Violence Education Program as part of the global resolution of your Connecticut domestic violence arrest. But as a criminal lawyer would warn you, the Family Violence Education Program (or the “FVEP” as it’s often called in Connecticut domestic violence courts), can be a double-edged sword. Yes, it’s a way to get your domestic violence arrest dismissed, but it can also keep your case alive and pending for up to two years time, which makes it difficult for you to survive employment background checks, process your immigration, visa or citizenship applications, or come in and out of the country easily, even if you are a United States citizen.
So think before you apply. In some cases (but not all), there are other smart and swift ways to fight your Connecticut domestic violence arrest without using the Family Violence Education Program. So keep reading to learn more about the FVEP and whether it’s best fit for your Greenwich, Stamford or Connecticut domestic violence arrest.
What is the Family Violence Education Program
The Family Violence Education Program is one of several Connecticut pre-trial diversionary programs, which, if granted, can
1) suspend the prosecution of your case for up to two years, and
2) then result in the dismissal and expungement of your eligible charges in their entirety.
Not every domestic violence arrest is eligible for the Family Violence Program; however, often an attorney can negotiate a resolution of your case that will allow you to complete the Family Violence Program in exchange for the dismissal of all of your charges, including those that are not FVEP-eligible. The best criminal lawyers would likely agree that this scenario is the most ideal time to use the Family Violence Education Program.
But in other cases, such as when you have been arrested in Connecticut for a minor charge such as Disorderly Conduct, or Breach of Peace, then you should push your criminal attorney lawyer to explore other alternatives to getting your Connecticut domestic violence arrest dismissed, such as private counseling, mediation, or a motion to dismiss or modify your Connecticut domestic violence restraining order.
The Disadvantages of Applying
There are several problems with filing a quick-and-easy application for the Family Violence Education Program.
First, the Connecticut protective / restraining order that was issued against you at your first court appearance remains in place for the entire duration of the Family Violence Program, regardless of whether the judge orders you into the program for six months or two years.
Victims can use these protective orders as swords, not shield, and try to bait you or set you up to violate them and get you arrested again. Second, your Connecticut domestic violence case will show up on every background check while your case is pending, causing you multiple headaches and problems in employment background checks and immigration issues.
How a Lawyer Can Help
The decision to apply for Connecticut’s Family Violence Education Program is a critical one that must not be taken lightly. And if you are trying to handle your domestic violence arrest without the assistance of a top criminal attorney by your side, then it’s easy to be persuaded by a Connecticut Superior Court Family Relations Officers who may try to convince you that it’s a relatively easy means to an end—specifically, a dismissal of your domestic violence criminal charges.
But what these Connecticut Family Relations Officers won’t tell you is just as important—that you can only use the FVEP once in your life, that your restraining order stays in place for many months, and that applying for the Family Violence Program can be used against you in background checks and divorce court.