Fairfield Assault Lawyer
Domestic violence in Connecticut falls under the broad area of family law known as “family violence.” Family violence is thought to have taken place when there has been bodily harm or assault, or a threat of violence between family or household members that caused fear of bodily harm or assault.
This is a complex area of law with many facets, so it is important that those facing charges speak with a Fairfield assault lawyer right away. An experienced defense attorney can work hard in protecting your rights in your case.
Defining Family or Household Members
In Fairfield, domestic violence is different from other types of assault as it must occur between family members, or individuals that are in, or have had, a relationship. These individuals can include:
- Current and past spouses
- Parents and/or children
- Adults over the age of 18 that are related, either by blood or through marriage
- Individuals that are over the age of 16 and who currently live together, or have lived together in the past
- Couples that have children together, even if they have never been married and/or lived together
- Couples who have been in a romantic relationship, or have recently ended a romantic relationship
Degrees of Assault in Fairfield
When domestic violence has occurred, there can be several different degrees of assault charges, ranging from minor to serious.
- First-degree assault. First-degree assaults are the most serious, but they are rare in Fairfield assault cases. Convictions can carry up to 20 years in prison, and if a weapon was used during the assault, a judge can order five years of mandatory prison time.
- Second-degree assault. While a lesser charge than first-degree assault, second-degree assault is still a very serious charge that is considered to be a Class D felony with those convicted facing between 1 and 5 years in prison.
- Third-degree assault. In Connecticut, an individual can be arrested for third-degree assault if they intentionally cause bodily harm to another person. While the least of the charges, being considered only a misdemeanor, these charges can still carry up to a year of jail time. If a weapon is used in conjunction with the assault, that one year of jail time becomes mandatory.
Even assaults in the third degree, the charges considered to be the least significant of them all, can leave individuals with a criminal record that could follow them around for the rest of their lives.
A local assault lawyer can help lower the charges, or provide a defense to get those accused cleared of charges altogether.
In Fairfield, a court hearing will be held the morning of the next business day following the domestic violence incident.
The hearing will be to put protective and/or restraining orders in place, as the courts understand that the chances of another incident are much higher if the individuals involved return to the same dwelling. The different orders that may be put into place are:
- Full No Contact. These orders are very common in domestic assault cases, at least for the first 24 hours after an incident. These orders restrict any kind of contact with the accuser, and accused individuals are not allowed entry into their home, even if they pay rent or mortgage on the property
- Full or Residential Stay-Away. This order allows the accused to have contact with their accuser, but prevents them from entering the house
- Partial or Limited. These orders are the most lenient, as they only prevent the accused from threatening, harassing, or intimidating the injured person. The accused can still make contact, and can even enter the injured party’s home
In Connecticut, these orders are sometimes worded in very vague ways, and sometimes accusers will even use the language within them to try and “bait” the accused from breaking them. This is a serious offense that can carry up to five years in prison.
It is extremely important that when one of these orders is given, that a Fairfield assault attorney is consulted to explain exactly what the order allows and prohibits.
Contacting an Assault Attorney in Fairfield
Domestic assault can be a very serious crime, but there are several defenses available that can be used to fight charges. It is of the utmost importance that if you have been charged with domestic assault in Connecticut, you contact a Fairfield assault lawyer who can help you with your case.