Hartford Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers
Defending clients after family violence arrests in Hartford & Manchester, CT
Connecticut authorities and courts take domestic violence accusations and charges very seriously. A conviction can result in fines, jail time, probation or community service – not to mention a possible criminal charge on your record. These laws are designed to protect victims of domestic violence from abuse, assault or threats.
However, false accusations or mistakes made in the heat of the moment can limit or take away your right to spend time with your family and children. Domestic violence proceedings can last for weeks or months, affecting your personal life, your professional life and your relationships. If you’re facing allegations of domestic violence, you need strong legal representation. The Hartford criminal defense attorneys at Barry, Barall & Spinella, LLC can help guide you through this difficult time. We can help you build a strong defense and advise you throughout your case.
Domestic and family violence charges in Hartford
Sometimes a domestic or family incident escalates to the point where it results in physical harm, assault or injury to a household member. In many cases, the individual may not have to have actually caused physical injury, but threatened a family member enough to cause them fear of imminent physical harm or injury – either way, the individual may be charged with family violence under Connecticut law.
Note that verbal threats alone don’t constitute domestic violence, unless those words present a clear and immediate danger to the victim. Additionally, family violence doesn’t include disciplinary acts used by parents and guardians on their children, unless physical abuse is also involved.
When matters of domestic violence are involved, “family” includes the following:
- People aged 18 or older related by blood or marriage
- People aged 16 or older living together or formerly living together
- People currently dating or formerly dated
- People who have a child together
One important thing to remember regarding family violence charges is that an individual can still be convicted even if the accuser later decides not to testify. Your Hartford domestic violence lawyer can explain this part of the law in detail.
Domestic violence arrests and accusations
As soon as someone dials the police to report a family violence incident, an entire process is set in motion that will not stop, regardless of a victim’s desire to press charges. Police are trained and required to investigate for evidence that an assault or violence occurred by looking for signs of a visible attack, like scratches, bruises or other signs of injury. They may also speak to any witnesses as well as interview both parties. If you’re under investigation, it’s always best to remain silent until you have a Hartford domestic violence defense attorney on your side.
Here in Connecticut, we have a mandatory arrest law that requires the police to make an arrest if they find probable cause an assault occurred. It makes no difference whether or not the victim says they want to press charges or later drop the charges. However, as of 2019, if two or more opposing parties make domestic violence complaints, officers are not required to arrest both parties. This Act abolished the “dual arrest” law, and was created to protect victims of domestic violence who were acting in self-defense.
Domestic violence and protective orders
If you are arrested and charged with domestic violence in Hartford, the initial process can move very quickly and it’s important to hire an attorney as soon as possible in order to protect your rights and the integrity of your case. A typical family violence case may go something like this.
Unlike other criminal cases, with a domestic violence arrest, you will be ordered to appear in court the next business day for an arraignment and a protective order hearing. The court’s interests are in protecting the victim, and the victim will not have any input on the terms of the protective order. The protective order (also called a restraining order) is a critical step in the process of a domestic violence arrest. A protective order can force you to leave your home and forbid you from making any contact with your spouse, partner or children.
Anything you say in court can have an effect on your case, and this is why it’s vital to have an attorney with you during this hearing. Our domestic violence attorneys will fight for a more lenient order so you may begin the healing process while we work on having your charges dismissed.
For your reference, you can find local court information here.
Hartford County domestic violence cases are assigned to various courts around the area, with special prosecutors, victim advocates and family social workers to assist in working these types of cases through the system. The goal of these experts is almost always to return a family intact to a safe and thriving living environment. Our defense lawyers understand the emotionally charged issues around family violence charges and our legal team is here to protect your rights.
Domestic violence and the Department of Children & Families
If your children are present during a family violence incident, it’s likely authorities will contact the Department of Children & Families (DCF) to ensure your children are safe. Typically DCF, located in Hartford CT, begins immediately and will contact you and your children’s other parent within 24 hours of your arrest. Again, it’s crucial to have an attorney, as DCF is part of law enforcement and everything you say will matter in your domestic violence case.
The lawyers at Barry, Barall & Spinella, LLC can prepare you for your interview with DCF, allowing you to cooperate with authorities to regain the ability to see your children without damaging your case.
Domestic violence charges and convictions can range from felonies to misdemeanors, depending on the circumstances. This means you may be facing years in prison and significant financial penalties. Don’t try to go it alone. Our attorneys are skilled negotiators, and will work on a variety of strategies for a successful outcome for your case – including pre-trial diversionary programs and arguing for lesser charges.
Compassionate Hartford family violence defense lawyers
After an arrest or allegations of domestic violence, you need immediate and serious legal representation. The criminal defense attorneys at Barry, Barall & Spinella, LLC are here and ready to help. Our knowledge and experience can guide you through the process, from your first court appearance to moving on from this traumatic part of your life. Contact us today. We’re located right off I-84 or I-384 in Manchester. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys in Hartford or Manchester, please call 860-649-4400 or fill out our contact form.