First-Time Stamford Domestic Violence Offenses
Even if you have never been accused of harassing, assaulting, or threatening a family or household member in any way before, a first-time Stamford domestic violence offense can still have serious repercussions. Support from a seasoned domestic violence attorney can make a huge difference in how smoothly your legal proceedings go for you and your chances of securing a favorable final case result.
What to Expect from the Domestic Violence Case Process
It is worth emphasizing that “family violence” is not considered a distinct criminal offense in Connecticut. Instead, it is a designation that law enforcement officers and court authorities can add on to a criminal charge if the defendant allegedly targeted a family or household member of theirs with their actions. In this context, the term “family or household member” includes immediate family members by blood, former spouses and intimate partners, a co-parent of the same child, relatives by adoption or marriage, and even housemates or roommates in the same residence.
Designating a criminal charge as a “family violence offense” in Connecticut does not allow the court overseeing that case to impose harsher criminal penalties upon conviction than those already allowed under the Penal Code. However, it will change how preliminary court procedures go for the accused. They will have to appear for arraignment on the next business day after their arrest and also meet with a Family Relations Officer from the court prior to their arraignment.
On top of this, courts often impose temporary protective orders against Stamford domestic violence defendants during their arraignment, even if it is their first time facing family violence allegations or any criminal allegations whatsoever. The terms imposed by this order may range from a general prohibition against further acts of harm to the defendant being barred from having any contact whatsoever with the protected party or parties. This will depend on the court’s opinion on the severity of the defendant’s offense and their likelihood of causing further harm to family or household members while their proceedings are ongoing.
Alternatives to Prosecution for First-Time Offenders
If someone stands accused of a felony offense categorized as domestic violence in Connecticut, they will generally face criminal prosecution for that offense regardless of any prior record of domestic violence—or lack thereof—they have. However, first-time domestic violence offenders in Stamford who stand accused of misdemeanor offenses may be able to avoid criminal prosecution and sentencing by instead applying for participation in the Family Violence Education Program (“FVEP”).
This is a two-part program overseen by the State and meant as a “diversionary” option specifically for people who have never been convicted of domestic violence crimes in the past. It involves a set of nine weekly classes, followed by a maximum two-year period of “supervision.” Importantly, though, Connecticut residents can only use this program once in their life, and there are benefits and drawbacks for each individual defendant that a qualified legal professional could discuss in further detail during a confidential consultation.
Let a Stamford Attorney Help Handle a First-Time Domestic Violence Offense
Domestic violence charges are serious matters in Connecticut, even for people with no existing criminal record. If you are facing domestic violence allegations for the first time in Stamford, representation from an experienced attorney can impact your chances of a favorable case resolution. Call the Law Offices of Mark Sherman today to learn more, and click here to visit our AVVO profile with over 300 certified reviews from past clients.