Difference Between Domestic Assault and Violence in Wilton
Understanding the difference between domestic assault and domestic violence can be key to effectively contesting criminal charges that are given a “family violence” designation in Wilton. A capable domestic violence defense attorney can provide more information about how the Connecticut Penal Code approaches this sensitive issue, and explain what legal options and defense strategies will best suit each type of case.
How State Law Defines Domestic Violence
Rather than defining “domestic violence” as a unique criminal offense with its own penalties as many other states do, Connecticut treats the term as a designation that law enforcement and court authorities can add to criminal charges that meet certain criteria. This means that domestic assault is not synonymous with domestic violence since numerous actions may constitute “family violence” that may not involve any sort of direct physical altercation.
According to Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) § 46b-38a, a person commits family violence if they target a “family or household member” with any of the following:
- A continuous threat of physical injury and/or pain;
- A pattern of threatening as defined under G.S. § 53a-62;
- A pattern of stalking as defined under G.S. §§ 53a-181c through 53a-181f; and/or
- A pattern of behavior intended to impose “coercive control” over the targeted person’s liberty or free will—for example, monitoring daily activities, intimidating someone into doing something they do not want to do, or isolating someone from other family members or friends.
In this context, the term “family or household member” applies not just to current and former spouses and/or intimate partners but also to relatives by marriage or blood, co-parents of children, and current or former housemates or roommates. Notably, verbal arguments or abuse do not qualify as legally actionable family violence unless they include threats of physical harm that create a reasonable fear of imminent danger.
Is Domestic Assault a Distinct Criminal Offense?
Similarly to “family violence,” the Connecticut Penal Code does not define “domestic assault” as a criminal offense separate from other types of assault crimes. Instead, it separates assault offenses into one of three degrees based on the severity of the defendant’s alleged actions, with distinct statutes addressing assault against certain types of people, such as the elderly or someone who is currently pregnant.
Depending on what “degree” it falls under, physical assault of a family or household member may be categorized as anywhere from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class B felony. On top of that, physical assault of a pregnant woman may be considered a Class A felony if the assault directly leads to the premature termination of that pregnancy and the loss of the fetus.
Let a Wilton Attorney Answer Questions About the Difference Between Domestic Assault and Violence
Because of how Connecticut authorities define, investigate, and prosecute domestic violence, knowing what factors differentiate various crimes from each other can be key to proactively protecting your best interests when facing an accusation like this. Even with that knowledge, you will likely have a tough time securing a favorable case result without representation from a seasoned attorney.
Call the Law Offices of Mark Sherman today to learn more about the difference between domestic assault and violence in Wilton and discuss the next steps you should take in your specific situation. You can also click here to read what our past clients have said about working with us.