Westport Roommate Violence Lawyer
Even if you are not intimately involved with or related to them in any way, being charged with any criminal offense directed at a roommate or housemate could lead to the same kinds of consequences in Connecticut that a domestic violence charge could under any other circumstances. If you are facing an allegation like this, retaining a knowledgeable Westport roommate violence lawyer could be vital to protecting your rights and achieving a favorable case resolution.
What Constitutes a Roommate Violence Offense in Westport?
Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) § 46b-38a defines family violence as any action against a “family or household member” that directly results in, constitutes a realistic threat of, and/or creates reasonable and imminent fear of physical harm. Importantly, in addition to spouses, intimate partners, and family members by blood or marriage, this definition also applies to people “presently residing together or who have resided together.”
This means that any of the following actions committed against someone living in the same house or apartment as the perpetrator may constitute family violence under state law:
- Assault, especially involving strangulation;
- Sexual assault;
- Disorderly conduct or breach of the peace;
- Stalking; and/or
- Any violation of a restraining or protective order.
During a private consultation, a Westport roommate violence attorney could further explain what offenses may or may not be considered family violence.
What Repercussions Could Roommate Violence Have?
While a family violence designation would not allow for enhanced criminal sanctions upon conviction, the penalties associated with individual roommate violence offenses can still be life-altering. Many domestic violence offenses are classified as felonies, and even a first-time conviction could be punishable by multiple years in prison, steep fines, the permanent loss of civil privileges, and sometimes even mandatory sex offender registration.
Even if someone is ultimately acquitted of their criminal charges, they would still likely be subject to a protective order issued by the court during their arraignment, which would last for the duration of their criminal case. If the court finds it appropriate, this kind of order could prevent a defendant from remaining in the same living space with their roommate or even prohibit all forms of contact between them until their trial ends. A Westport lawyer can further explain the implications of the various roommate violence charges and offenses.
Minimizing the Consequences of a Roommate Violence Charge
Every roommate violence case is different, so the best defense strategy for one situation might differ drastically from the best for another. Broadly speaking, however, effective defenses against these allegations revolve around proving that one or more core elements of the charge did not actually occur, or that there was no actual threat of imminent harm from the perspective of a reasonable person.
Alternatively, first-time offenders may be able to get a charge dismissed entirely by applying for, being accepted into, and successfully completing the Family Violence Education Program. Assistance from a seasoned roommate violence attorney in Westport can be especially crucial to pursuing this particular option.
Seek Help from a Westport Roommate Violence Attorney
Roommate violence is considered a form of family violence in Connecticut. Therefore, representation from a Westport roommate violence lawyer experienced with handling domestic violence cases can be key to effectively contesting an accusation of violence against a non-relative that you live with. Get in touch with the team at Mark Sherman Law today to start working on your defense, and click here to check out our Avvo profile.