Most charges of domestic violence begin with an investigation and an arrest by a peace officer. In Connecticut, a domestic violence charge can be brought if someone assaults, stalks, or threatens another person who is a member of your household or a person you’ve dated. This includes spouses, former spouses, parents, anyone related by marriage or blood, people who reside in the same home, people who have a common child, or people in or recently in a dating relationship.
Types of domestic violence charges
Some of the many possible domestic violence charges include, according to the Connecticut Coalition against Domestic Violence:
- Sexual Assault
- Violation of a civil restraining order or criminal protective order
Defending against charges and accusations of domestic violence
The defenses to domestic violence charges that apply vary depending on what charge is being made. Some of the common defenses that may apply to most charges include the following:
- A claim that you/the defendant did not commit the acts that were charged. A skilled Hartford defense lawyer will examine if you have an alibi or other evidence to show that you weren’t involved in the incidents that led to the arrest or complaint. The testimony of other witnesses such as relatives may help prove that you were not involved in any illegal conduct.
- Credibility/Fabrication. Some household members may accuse a person of domestic violence to justify a court order, or to “punish” the accused in some way. A lack of physical evidence may indicate the accuser is not telling the truth, or embellishing the facts to sway a judge.
- Accidental harm. In this scenario, the defendant generally admits that a spouse, parent, child, or other person was hurt – but that any harm was accidental and not intentional. An example of this might include two people who are arguing, when Person 1 trips and falls, hitting his or her head.
- Self-defense. In this case, a skilled Hartford domestic violence lawyer will review any statements the accuser made to the police, other family members, or to anyone else. If you/the defendant were harmed during any confrontation, then evidence of the harm to you, through photos and medical documentation, is relevant.
- The standard of proof wasn’t met. Generally, the prosecution must prove domestic violence charges beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense lawyer will question the credibility of the witnesses, review any property damage or personal damage, review the events that led up to a peace officer being called, cross-examine the police, and raise other questions to help create a reasonable doubt.
- Inadmissible evidence. The police need to respect your Constitutional rights. These rights include protection from illegal searches and seizures and the right not to be forced to give testimony against yourself. If the police improperly took evidence, did not give you your Miranda rights, or refused to let you speak with a lawyer, you may be able to challenge the evidence the police obtained.
At Barry, Barall, & Spinella, LLC, our Hartford and Manchester domestic abuse lawyers fight to assert your right to a strong defense. We are experienced trial lawyers who understand how to question police officers and witnesses. We work to achieve amicable solutions and dismissals of criminal charges. If you’ve been charged with a domestic violence crime in Connecticut, call us at 860-649-4400 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment. We represent clients in and near Hartford and Manchester.