Difference Between Domestic Assault and Violence in Weston
Although the terms “domestic assault” and “domestic violence” are often used interchangeably among the general public, they are related but not identical concepts as far as Connecticut courts are concerned. If you are facing criminal charges over an allegation that you engaged in either form of misconduct against a household or family member, understanding the difference between domestic assault and violence in Weston is key to building a solid defense strategy.
How Does State Law Define “Family Violence”?
According to Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) § 46b-38a(1), the term “family violence” covers any incident between “family or household members” that involves one party physically harming another. This also includes threatening another party with violence that creates a reasonable fear of imminent bodily harm. In this context, a family or household member could be any of the following people relative to the person allegedly committing the offense:
- A current or former spouse;
- A current or former intimate partner;
- A co-parent of a child;
- Children, parents, and/or grandchildren;
- Any relative by marriage or blood; and/or
- Roommates or housemates, regardless of familial ties or lack thereof.
Stalking and patterns of threatening also count as family violence under this definition, but verbal arguments and/or abuse do not unless the abuse includes a threat that indicates a present danger of physical violence. A Weston attorney could explain these and other differences related to domestic assault and violence charges.
What Charges Can Be Classified as Family Violence?
“Domestic assault” in Connecticut is a simple or aggravated assault as defined under C.G.S. § 53a-59. It is subsequently designated as family violence based on the allegedly assaulted person being a family or fellow household member of the perpetrator. In situations where an alleged assault involves the perpetrator holding the targeted person by the neck or in some other way that restrains their breathing or blood flow, they may instead be charged with strangulation under C.G.S. § 53a-64aa through 53a-64cc.
Sexual assault of an intimate partner, spouse, or other family or household member can likewise be classified as a form of domestic assault and prosecuted under C.G.S. §§53a-70 through 53a-73a. Connecticut used to distinguish between standard sexual assault and sexual assault of someone the perpetrator is in a spousal or cohabitating relationship with, but the relevant statute was repealed as of October 1, 2019.
Additionally, there are various offenses that may be designated as family violence based on the targeted individual(s) but do not involve any overtly violent conduct, including:
- Reckless endangerment, under C.G.S. §§53a-63 or 53a-64;
- Kidnapping or unlawful restraint, under C.G.S. §§53a-92 through 53a-99;
- Trespassing, under C.G.S. §§53a-107 through 53a-110a;
- Breach of the peace or disorderly conduct, under C.G.S. §§53a-181 or 53a-182;
- Stalking, under C.G.S. §§53a-181c through 53a-181f;
- Harassment, under C.G.S. §§53a-182b or 53a-183; and/or
- Restraining or protective order violations, under C.G.S. §§53a-53a-223 through 53a-223c.
The differences between various domestic assault and violence charges in Weston can be confusing to understand without the help of dedicated legal counsel.
A Weston Attorney Could Further Explain the Difference Between Domestic Assault and Violence
No matter what type of family violence offense you find yourself accused of, you should think twice before trying to represent yourself during ensuing legal proceedings. While Connecticut law acknowledges a difference between domestic assault and violence in Weston, court authorities tend to prosecute all offenses of this nature harshly. Guidance from a seasoned defense attorney from the Law Offices of Mark Sherman can make a world of difference in how effectively you can fight back and protect your interests. Call today to learn more, and click here to read what past clients have to say about working with us.