Domestic violence is a serious problem in our country. According to some estimates, 10 million Americans are victims of domestic violence each year. But this doesn’t mean that all allegations of domestic abuse are true – which raises the question of what you can do if you are falsely accused of this crime.
In Connecticut, “family violence” includes a number of different criminal offenses such as assault, threatening, strangulation, stalking, and sexual assault. If convicted of one of these offenses, you face the standard penalty for the crime – and may have to deal with additional consequences, such as a restraining order or losing custody of your kids. A skilled CT domestic violence lawyer can put together a strong defense to the charges against you based on the facts and/or legal issues.
The Sills Law Firm defends clients who have been charged with all types of criminal offenses, including domestic violence. We understand the sensitivity of these issues, and how the collateral consequences of a conviction can have a serious impact on your life. Reach out to our law office today to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our legal team.
When Is a Crime Considered Domestic Violence in Connecticut?
In Connecticut, domestic violence (also known as “family violence”) occurs between family or household members and involves physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or a threat of violence that causes fear of imminent physical harm, assault, or physical injury. Crimes of domestic violence can include any Connecticut criminal offense if the alleged victim is considered a family or household member of the alleged perpetrator.
The penalty for the offense will be the same as if the alleged victim were a stranger. However, domestic violence cases involve other aspects that can lead to additional consequences. This may include things like a Department of Children and Families (DCF) investigation or a criminal protective order.
These issues can affect the custody of your children and may also impact any divorce proceedings that are currently ongoing or that may arise in the future. As a result, it is incredibly important to consult a Connecticut domestic violence attorney as soon as possible if you have been falsely accused of domestic violence.
How Can I Prove My Innocence After Being Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence?
In recent years, there has been a movement to take domestic violence more seriously. While this is generally a good thing, it is important to understand that people can and do make false allegations of domestic violence. This may occur in connection with a custody or divorce case as a way to gain the upper hand.
It is possible to defend yourself against false allegations of domestic violence. First, you may be able to mount a fact-based defense by showing that you did not commit the crime. Your domestic violence lawyer will interview witnesses and gather evidence such as medical records and police reports to show that you did not actually do what you are accused of doing.
For example, you may have an alibi showing that you were somewhere else at the time that the alleged crime occurred. Alternatively, there may be one or more witnesses who can testify that you did not actually assault or otherwise harm a family or household member.
Second, you may be able to argue that you acted in self-defense. Cases involving domestic violence are often messy, and both parties may share some culpability for any violence that may have occurred. A skilled CT domestic violence defense attorney can put together an argument that you were simply acting in self-defense – and that the allegations that you abused your family or household member were false.
Consider a situation where your spouse is upset because they think that you are cheating on them. They start throwing things at you and hitting you. To protect yourself, you grab them and hold their arms so that they cannot hurt you anymore. Evidence that you were acting in self-defense may be used to get the charges dismissed – or to get a not guilty verdict at trial.
Third, there may be a legal defense to false allegations of domestic violence. Law enforcement officers are required to follow certain rules to protect your constitutional rights. If they fail to do so – such as by searching your home without a warrant – then you may be able to have the charges against you dismissed. Similarly, if the prosecutor cannot prove each element of the crime, then the charge may be reduced or dismissed entirely.
Prosecutors tend to pursue family violence cases aggressively – and judges are often inclined to “throw the book” at people who they believe have committed acts of domestic violence. Because a domestic violence conviction can have far-reaching consequences – even if the underlying allegations are false – it is vital that you contact a CT criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after being accused of or charged with this type of offense.
Facing False Domestic Violence Accusations? We Can Help.
A conviction for a crime of family violence can lead to time in jail, steep fines, and a period of probation. It can also affect custody and divorce issues. If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, you cannot afford to simply accept a plea deal.
At the Sills Law Firm, we understand that domestic violence allegations are sometimes used as a weapon in custody and divorce proceedings. We aggressively advocate for our clients to help them prove their innocence in domestic violence and other cases. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation with a Connecticut domestic violence attorney, give us a call at (866) 971-5841 or fill out our online contact form.