Being accused of domestic violence can be devastating. No doubt, you feel embarrassed, confused and probably a little misunderstood. In some cases, domestic violence charges are simply an overreaction to an argument that got out of hand. However, once the police are called, you face a criminal arrest, a restraining order, protective orders and a serious disruption to your life.
You need to fight this charge as soon as you receive it. At Cummings Law Firm, our violent crime defense lawyer can discuss with you the domestic violence process and what you can do to defend yourself against this charge. We serve in Waterbury, Bridgeport, Torrington and throughout the region.
In most cases where there is a domestic dispute, the man is going to be accused of domestic violence. Once you are arrested, you will be issued a summons to appear in court, or you will be taken to the police station. If you are taken to the police station, you will be given a bail hearing in which a judge will determine if you can be released on bail, and if so, how much the bond should be. Whether you are released after your arrest or not, you will be given an arraignment date, and you must attend this hearing.
At the arraignment, protective orders are issued. Full or partial protective orders can be ordered by the court. A full protective order means that you will not be able to have any contact whatsoever to the alleged victim. A partial protective order will mean that you are not allowed to harass or stalk the alleged victim in the case (actions that are illegal anyway). A partial protective order does not prohibit any legal contact between you and the alleged victim.
Before a protective order is issued, you may present evidence to fight the orders. If you fail to request a hearing to fight the protective orders, you might end up waiving your right to contest the protective orders.
Unlike protective orders, restraining order are approved by a civil court. A restraining order will restrain you from contacting or tampering with a witness involved in the case. In this situation, the restraining order is oftentimes requested by the alleged victim or his or her attorney. If granted, a temporary order will be issued and a hearing will be scheduled for a permanent restraining order. At this hearing, the person seeking the restraining order has to give evidence as to why it should be made permanent. If a case for the restraining order cannot be made, it will be discontinued.
Violating a restraining order or any judge's orders is a crime in itself. In some cases, violating a protective or restraining order can result in more serious penalties than the original domestic violence charge. If you violate a restraining order, you face up to a year in prison and a fine of as much as $1,000. It is always in your best interest to comply with any restraining orders brought against you while your domestic violence case is pending.
Once restraining and protective orders are approved or denied, you and your attorney should consider negotiating your case. In many situations, you will have the opportunity to partake in a diversionary program such as the family violence education program, as an alternative to serious penalties if your case goes to trial.
Negotiations have their advantages and disadvantages. If you accept a plea, you will be able to avoid the time and money that a trial oftentimes requires. In addition, you will know exactly what you are up against in terms of penalties. On the other hand, if you take a negotiation, you will not have the opportunity to present your case in court for a verdict of not guilty. If you have a strong defense, you might want to go to trial and attempt a not guilty verdict.
If you decide to take your case to trial, your attorney will have the opportunity to file motions for a form of relief. These motions will be granted or denied before the trial. At your trial, you will want to present as much evidence as possible to support your argument. The testimony of an expert witness or an eyewitness can help your case considerably. At Cummings Law Firm, we work with our clients to come up with the best defenses for their situations. Every case is different, and we work to establish unique defenses for our clients instead of relying on a "cookie cutter" defense.