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Difference Between Assault and Domestic Violence in New Haven

In Connecticut, people are not charged with domestic violence, but instead are charged with a crime, which is then classified as a domestic violence offense. For example, someone may be charged with the crime assault in the third degree. However, if the incident involves an individual meeting the statutory definition (for example, husband/wife, girlfriend/boyfriend, father/son) then it will be classified as a domestic violence offense.

The difference between an assault and a domestic violence assault is simply the relationship between the defendant and the complainant. Therefore if you are charged with domestic violence assault you are actually charged with an assault that is classified under domestic violence. To learn more or discuss whether your charge may meet the classification of domestic violence, call and schedule a consultation with a New Haven domestic violence lawyer today.

Classification of a Domestic Violence Crime

What triggers the domestic violence classification is the relationship between the defendant and the complainant.

In order to trigger that classification, there needs to be some sort of domestic relationship. In Connecticut, that relationship is defined by the Connecticut General Statutes. Typically, in a domestic case the defendant and the complainant must be related by marriage, in a recent dating relationship, or a parent and children. In order to be classified as a “domestic violence offense” the statutory relationship between the complainant and defendant must exist.

The domestic violence classification is important because it dictate certain procedures.  For example, any arrest classified as domestic violence will require the issuance of a protective order. It also means that the case will be assigned to the Domestic Violence Docket, which only handles these types of cases.

Can Someone Be Charged With Assault and Domestic Violence?

A person is not charged with domestic violence. A person is charged with assault, breach of peace, reckless endangerment, unlawful restraint or whatever the crime is alleged. If it meets the statutory definition of domestic violence then it changes the classification of the crime to a domestic violence charge.

In Connecticut you are not charged with domestic violence, you are simply charged with a crime that is then classified as a domestic violence offense.

Treatment of Domestic Violence Cases

Domestic violence cases are handled on a dedicated domestic violence docket. This particular docket is called on the third floor of the courthouse (G.A. 23).  The prosecutor and the judges assigned to this docket only handle DV cases. This docket is unique in that there are a number of programs and options designed for these domestic violence cases in particular. The specifics of each case will dictate what options, paths, and programs may be available to a defendant charged with domestic violence.

Difference in Penalties

The penalties associated with a domestic violence offense will vary depending on exactly which crime an individual is charged. The penalties can range from minor misdemeanors to very serious felonies, and the potential penalty will depend entirely on which crime a person is charged.

For example, an individual may be charged with assault in the third degree, which is a Class A misdemeanor, carrying a maximum sentence of one year in jail. On the other hand, they may also be charged with assault in the second degree, which is a Class D felony that carries a penalty of five years in jail.

So the maximum possible penalty will depend upon the particular charge the individual faces. One thing that is unique about domestic cases is that they carry various collateral consequences such as a prohibition on the right to carry a handgun. That is different than a standard assault. However, in the vast majority of the domestic violence cases, the penalties and possible outcomes are driven by the underlying charge. Whether it be an assault, unlawful restraint, or threatening and stalking, they each carry individual penalties and it is very important that each charge is handled and addressed in court.