What Happens During a First-Offense Domestic Violence Arrest in Connecticut?

According to official government data, Connecticut annually records an average of 20,000 domestic violence cases. Of these, approximately 70% involved intimate partners.

Domestic violence is violence perpetrated against another person by someone in the victim’s domestic circle. Persons in the domestic circle can include husbands, wives, parents, immediate family members, relatives, and friends.

Domestic violence is not a single charge but a term used to recover a wide range of violent crimes, with most arrests resulting in disorderly conduct and third-degree assault.

Mandatory Arrest Statute

In Connecticut, the police can make an arrest even when the victim doesn’t want to press charges due to the state’s strict mandatory arrest statute. Under the statute, the responding officers are required to make an arrest if there is evidence to show that a crime was committed, even when the victim is not interested in filing charges.

Upon arrival at the scene of a reported domestic violence, the police will interview all parties involved and witnesses. They will also take photographs of any identifiable injuries on the victim and arrest the perpetrator. In most cases, a 911 call is enough to have the police make an arrest since the mandatory arrest statute takes all discretion away from the officers.

What Happens After an Arrest

After an arrest for domestic violence, you will be arraigned in court the following business day. For example, if you are arrested on a Monday, you will appear in court on a Tuesday. If you are arrested on the weekend, the next business day would be Monday. Once you get to the court, you will not stand in front of a judge initially; instead, you will be interviewed by a family relations officer.

“The family relations officer represents the judge, and they may share everything you say to them with the judge. So it is important to have a lawyer with you when appearing before them to avoid self-incrimination,” says attorney Mark Sherman.

After the interview, you will have to stand before a judge, who will then make orders concerning your case. All domestic violence charges come with restraining orders which can vary based on the severity of the offense and the victim’s requests.

Penalties for First-Time Domestic Violence Charges

The Connecticut criminal justice system takes domestic violence very seriously. The good news is you can get favorable resolutions to your case if you are a first-time offender. However, getting a favorable outcome will depend on the offense’s severity.

Suppose an altercation does not result in severe injuries. In that case, the court may propose other options for dispute resolution that do not result in the offender having to plead guilty to a crime and getting a criminal record.

Often, first-time offenders can be ordered to participate in anger management or substance abuse programs. After completing the court-ordered program, the court drops the charges, which means the defendant gets a second chance.

Another common option for first-time offenders is the family violence education program (FVEP). FVEP consists of a set of nine classes that an offender must take in exchange for dismissal or their charges. However, this option is a double-edged sword in that though it allows you to get your charges dropped, your arrest and charge will still show in a background check for the entire time of the program, which can be as long as two years.

Leave a Comment