Domestic Violence Penalties in Westport
A domestic violence allegation can extend far beyond the criminal penalties associated with the underlying offense and subject you to other sanctions in family court and from state investigators, which could last longer and entail even graver consequences.
Fortunately, you do not have to fight these accusations alone – a dedicated attorney is ready to help you fight domestic violence penalties in Westport.
When are Protective Orders Imposed?
The most common penalty in just about every domestic violence case in Westport is the imposition of a protective order during the defendant’s initial arraignment. In a departure from standard prosecutorial procedures, this will always take place on the next business day following an arrest for a domestic violence offense. This protective order is a temporary measure meant to bridge the gap between the defendant’s arrest and the conclusion of their criminal trial, at which point the court may choose to extend the protective order or issue a new one based on the result of the case.
While courts have the authority to include various requirements and restrictions in protective orders following domestic violence arrests, these orders take three main forms. In less serious situations and/or for first-time offenders, the court may issue a “partial” order that forbids the defendant from engaging in any further domestic violence against the protected party.
If the underlying charge is more serious, or the court believes a defendant may pose a risk of further physical or emotional harm to their family members, they may impose a “residential stay-away” protective order that prohibits the defendant from living in the same residence, working in the same building, or coming within a certain physical distance of the protected party. Finally, in extreme situations, the court may establish a “full no-contact” order, which forbids all forms of communication between the defendant and the protected party—even if the protected party initiates or requests contact.
What Repercussions Could DCF Investigations Have?
In addition to a protective order, many Westport domestic violence cases have an additional consequence in the form of an official investigation into the defendant conducted by the Department of Children and Families (“DCF”). This investigation’s primary purpose is to determine whether a defendant is currently mistreating their children and/or is likely to continue mistreating them in the future.
If a DCF investigation substantiates allegations of neglect or abuse at home, the Commissioner may recommend that a family court impose additional sanctions. In severe cases, this may include the permanent loss of visitation or custody rights. Even if a defendant is acquitted of the domestic violence offense which prompted such an investigation, the investigator’s findings may still lead to life-altering sanctions.
Seek Help Managing Domestic Violence Penalties from a Westport Attorney
Domestic violence cases are uniquely difficult to contest in Connecticut, in large part because of the numerous non-criminal repercussions a charge like this may have. Working with seasoned legal counsel can be vital to fighting back against these criminal allegations and minimizing the effect that the family court and DCF proceedings have on your future.
A qualified defense lawyer could discuss all possible domestic violence penalties in Westport in greater detail during a private consultation. Schedule yours by calling Mark Sherman Law today, and click here to read what past clients have to say about working with us.