Ridgefield Domestic Violence Investigations
Even if you have no prior criminal record, an allegation that you engaged in violent and illegal conduct targeting a family or household member could lead to you being investigated by both Connecticut law enforcement and the Department of Children and Families (“DCF”), each of which may impose significant sanctions on you if they find evidence of abuse. Handling these Ridgefield domestic violence investigations in a proactive way is not something you should try to do alone—and fortunately, you will not have to if you seek help from a skilled domestic violence attorney as early as possible in the investigative process.
What Will Police Look for During a Domestic Violence Investigation?
It is worth emphasizing that investigations by state authorities into accusations of domestic violence in Ridgefield may have different purposes, procedures, and outcomes depending on which specific authority is in charge of the investigation. Broadly, though, these sorts of inquiries can be split into two categories: investigations into alleged criminal activity and investigations into whether someone accused of family violence poses a danger to their minor children.
The former type of investigation will typically be handled by local law enforcement and may begin based on a report of family violence submitted to state authorities or in the aftermath of an arrest made by a police officer who responded to a domestic dispute. Either way, the goal of the investigation will be to determine whether the person accused of family violence likely violated the Connecticut Penal Code in any way—for example, by engaging in “Disorderly Conduct” as defined under Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) § 53a-182, or in “Assault” as defined under C.G.S. §§ 53a-59 through 53a-61a.
Importantly, investigators will not necessarily need to try to collect enough evidence to establish guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt” at this point, so they may place greater emphasis on subjective forms of evidence like witness testimony, interviews with the alleged perpetrator, and input from psychologists and other qualified experts. They will also look for objective evidence like cell phone or internet message logs, surveillance camera footage, forensic information from the scene of the alleged incident, and photos of injuries or other harm the perpetrator allegedly caused.
Dealing With a DCF Investigation
Unlike criminal investigations, investigations undertaken by the Department of Children and Families are not concerned with whether the person they are investigating committed a crime by engaging in family violence. Instead, their purpose will be to determine whether someone accused of acting violently towards their family was abusive or neglectful towards minor children in their household, what harm those children may have suffered because of the investigated person’s actions, and whether that person is likely to harm—or continue harming—those children in the future.
Based on what the DCF finds during their investigation, they may recommend various sanctions for a family court to enforce, potentially including the loss of visitation and custody rights. Notably, the DCF can recommend sanctions of this nature—and the court can subsequently enforce them—regardless of whether the investigated person has been convicted or even formally charged with any criminal wrongdoing.
Let a Ridgefield Attorney Help Handle a Domestic Violence Investigation
No two families are exactly alike, and in the same vein, no two investigations into alleged family violence will proceed in the same way or have identical outcomes for the people involved in them. No matter what, though, you will almost certainly need representation from experienced legal counsel if you want to avoid accidentally incriminating yourself while an investigation is ongoing and minimize your chances of facing life-altering criminal and/or family court penalties.
Call the Law Offices of Mark Sherman today to learn more about how a domestic violence attorney can help you handle your Ridgefield domestic violence investigation, and click here to visit our Avvo profile with over 300 certified reviews.