Difference Between Assault and Domestic Violence in Norwalk

Domestic violence and assault are only different in Norwalk as a question of whether the assault is classified as a domestic violence crime. This is determined to be domestic violence if the alleged victim of the assault is a household or family member to the person committing the assault.

If you have been charged with domestic violence, contact a Norwalk domestic violence attorney for assistance in creating the best defense available depending on the facts and circumstances of the case.

Elements of the Crimes

The crime of assault in Norwalk occurs anytime a person commits an act that intends to and causes physical harm to another person and, by making that act. A person will be charged with assault if the following elements are present:

  • Desire to cause harm
  • Action intended to cause harm
  • Actual causing of harm

A Norwalk domestic violence charge is levied when the assault is done to a family or household member.

Domestic violence and assault cases are treated differently in the court system because the domestic violence court system operates differently from the regular criminal justice system. In the domestic violence court, there is an additional imposition of protective orders. First and foremost in a Norwalk domestic violence case, there will almost certainly be a protective order put in place.

Family Services Department

The family services department is an arm of the court that comes into play anytime there is a domestic violence case. Their purpose is to essentially prepare written and oral reports to the court to give the judge an update on the progress of the interactions of the people involved. This is not only for the defendant but also the alleged victim.

The family services unit interacts with the accuser and defendant in order to understand not only what happened but what services may be best available for them in order to try to hopefully alleviate any threat of violence to the people involved.

Essentially the domestic violence system is set up with the understanding of the practical reality that the people involved are family members. This means they are often going to coexist with each other in some capacity after the charge is resolved. With that understanding, the system also recognizes that in many instances people will not be as forthright or willing to participate in the prosecution because it is their family member and they do not want to do harm to them.

Typically, in the domestic violence system, the focus is more heavily on rehabilitation as opposed to punishment. The goal throughout this whole process is to create circumstances to ensure everybody is safe. This includes recognizing and addressing any underlying issues that might have led to the domestic violence incident. There are mechanisms in place for people to feel comfortable with reporting anything that is going on and to provide a process that can lead to the gradual reintegration of the family in a way that is healthy, productive, and safe.

Assault Defense

In a non-domestic violence case, a person’s primary focus is on defending the charges and trying to come up with ways of showing that either the assault did not occur or that the assault was justified and otherwise one will be looking for mitigating circumstances to lessen the degree of punishment.

Domestic Violence Defense

In a domestic violence case, a person is not as focused as the attorney on finding defenses to the charges but rather looking for ways to make sure that this person is engaging in appropriate forms of rehabilitation. This includes following the conditions imposed by the court on the defendant and ensuring they are working in an appropriate manner to respect the orders of the court. This is to respect the safety and well-being of the defendant’s family members that might have been involved in the incident.

The defendant’s best course of action in building a defense is to work in a productive manner to rehabilitate and address any underlying issues that might have caused the incident. The focus is on getting the person on a track that progresses towards a resolution of the charges where the charges eventually get dropped, dismissed, or reduced significantly. The end goal is that eventually that the family reintegrates in an appropriate manner and hopefully moves on without having any further incidents between them.

Differences in Penalties

The penalties would be the same potential amount of fines and probation. The difference would be that, in a domestic violence area, there is the likelihood that the person would be punished less significantly if they are engaging in appropriate forms of rehabilitation. Additionally, they may be ordered to engage in more forms of rehabilitation than they would otherwise be for a non-domestic violence case.

For a domestic violence case there may be a criminal protective order that continues past during or after the person is convicted and that is incorporated as part of the punishment. In an assault case that is less likely to occur because often the person who committed the assault and their alleged victim do not know each other well or at all.

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