Westport Spousal Abuse Lawyer
Even if you have no criminal history, being accused of physically abusing or threatening your spouse could have serious repercussions in both criminal and family court—especially without the help of a skilled domestic violence attorney. Handling allegations like this could be much easier with guidance from an experienced Westport spousal abuse lawyer.
How Does State Law Define “Spousal Abuse”?
Unlike some other states, Connecticut does not define “spousal abuse” or “domestic violence” as distinct criminal offenses. Instead, certain criminal charges may be defined as family violence if they allegedly target—among other family and/or household members—a current or former spouse of the perpetrator. More specifically, family violence entails someone causing physical harm or injury to a family or household member, or threatening them in a way that places them in reasonable fear of suffering imminent harm.
- Harasses their current or former spouse;
- Stalks their current or former spouse;
- Violates a restraining or protective order under which their current or former spouse is a protected party;
- Engages in misdemeanor disorderly conduct around their current or former spouse.
A Westport spousal abuse attorney could go into further detail during a private consultation about what types of charges may or may not receive a “family violence” designation.
What Consequences Are Possible in Criminal and Family Court?
A “family violence” designation will almost always result in the criminal process as a whole being dramatically sped up. This is to prevent any further harm from coming to an allegedly abused spouse. Rather than arraignment and initial criminal procedures being scheduled for a few days or weeks after an arrest like they would be for many other charges, someone accused of spousal abuse can expect to be ordered into court on the next business day following their arrest. In some cases, a first appearance before a judge could happen less than 24 hours after an allegation or arrest is made.
During this initial appearance, the judge may impose a protective order against the defendant that, depending on the circumstances, may forbid them from any further mistreatment of their spouse, bar them from living in the same house or entering their workplace, or even prohibit them from contacting or communicating with their spouse completely. Generally, the more severe that the underlying criminal charge is, the more severe the terms of a protective order may be. Once an order is in place, it will remain in place until the conclusion of the defendant’s criminal trial.
On top of that, if someone is accused of abusing their spouse in front of their children and/or their spouse’s children, the Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) may get involved and open an investigation into the defendant’s home life. Regardless of how the associated criminal case proceeds or concludes, DCF may pursue additional sanctions—which could include the loss of custody rights—if it finds evidence to substantiate suspicions of child abuse or neglect.
Consider Working with a Westport Spousal Abuse Attorney
No matter what form it takes or what type of harm it causes, accusations of spousal abuse can be immensely disruptive to your personal and professional life, and could result in serious criminal consequences if the case ends with a criminal conviction. If you have been accused of family violence against your spouse, you should make it a priority to call a Westport spousal abuse lawyer. Click here to see what past clients have to say about working with Mark Sherman, and call us today to discuss your legal options.