If you are facing a domestic violence disorderly conduct charge, it can be a very stressful and confusing time. Disorderly conduct is one of Connecticut’s most common domestic violence crimes, but many people are unaware of what this charge entails. If you are facing this, you will want to know how a criminal defense lawyer will defend a domestic disorderly conduct case. This can be broken down into actionable steps that your lawyer will take to prove your innocence, lessen the charges, or dismiss them.
What Is a Domestic Disorderly Conduct Case?
Concerning Connecticut, domestic violence disorderly conduct is quite a broad charge. It could mean you have caused an inconvenience or an annoyance to another person you’re related to or live with. In other instances, it could cover threatening or violent behavior that is alarming or offensive in any way. Oddly enough, you could even be arrested for disorderly conduct and for making unreasonable noises.
It can be difficult to understand the repercussions because of the many reasons for these charges. The main thing you should know is that this minor charge is still a misdemeanor arrest. In Connecticut, it is a class C misdemeanor, even if you aren’t technically arrested when you receive a court summons. Because of this, it is important to not act rashly if you have received this charge. The last thing you want to do is plead guilty so your case will disappear quickly.
Domestic Disorderly Conduct vs. Domestic Violence
You may wonder about the difference between domestic violence disorderly conduct and domestic violence cases. Disorderly conduct is filed under the domestic violence classification based on the relationship between the victim and the accused. This is because domestic violence describes a group of crimes in Connecticut rather than a single crime. This only applies when domestic violence has been done to a close relative, roommate, or significant other. This is why disorderly conduct cases are treated so seriously by Connecticut police officers and state’s attorneys.
How Serious Is a Domestic Disorderly Conduct Case?
It’s hard to determine the severity because so many instances can result in a domestic disorderly conduct case. Being charged with physically assaulting another person is more severe than causing too much noise. But no matter what caused these charges, they are a class C misdemeanor. This could result in up to three months of jail time and probation after release. You could also receive a fine of up to $500 if you are found guilty.
Domestic disorderly conduct cases tend to move very quickly, so you need to respond just as quickly. You need to hire a Connecticut criminal defense lawyer who will be there every step of the way. When it comes to jail time, these charges are not considered extremely severe, as the maximum is 90 days in jail. This is why it is so important to have a lawyer provide your defense to avoid a criminal conviction.
What Happens When You’re Charged with Domestic Violence Disorderly Conduct
It is important to understand what happens if you have received an arrest for disorderly conduct. You will be required to appear in court the following business day after receiving the charge. The family relations office will interview you, and the judge will issue a protective order. In some instances, you may even be ordered into mandatory treatment before you have been informed of the allegations against you. Protective or restraining orders are always issued in this instance, no matter the situation. This is decided during a restraining order hearing. This is when the court will hear arguments regarding what level of order of protection should be applied in your case. The office of family relations, victim advocate, state’s attorney, and bail commissioner will all give their assessment. If a restraining order is decided upon, this could ban you from returning to your home or seeing your family members for as little as a few weeks or as long as several months.
After the restraining order hearing, additional conditions of release will also be decided upon. A court date will also be set for your domestic violence hearing when the details of the charges will be brought up. After this, you can leave the court until your next court date. Remember that you will need to follow the details of the restraining order if that is what the court issued. This may mean that you will have to find another place to live for the time being, depending on the level of the order of protection issued.
How Domestic Disorderly Conduct Cases Are Defended
You are probably looking for the best solutions if you have a domestic disorderly conduct case against you. The good news is that most of these charges are resolved favorably for the person charged. You can address a domestic disorderly conduct case in Connecticut in several ways. You first need to hire a criminal defense lawyer to represent your case in the best light. They understand the law and will know what rights you have so that you can get the most favorable outcome.
Here are the paths you and your lawyer can take when defending a domestic disorderly conduct case.
Have the Case Dropped
When you have disorderly conduct charges against you, the best outcome would be to have them dropped or nolled. This is often possible if you have hired a criminal defense lawyer to represent your case. They may be able to show that the situation does not fall under domestic violence and that the charges aren’t justified. Or they may be able to prove that the situation was not severe enough to receive these kinds of charges. If you were at fault, attending different forms of therapy may be a good way to show your dedication to changing your behavior. Something like anger management can add stability to your case, showing that you are making the necessary changes and shouldn’t be charged. The process of showing that there are no domestic violence risks often takes between six and eight weeks. The case could also be dropped if you can mediate the case with the other person involved. This shows the court that the victim is not at risk and both parties have agreed.
Enroll In a Family Violence Education Program
The second option for defending a domestic disorderly conduct case is enrolling in Connecticut’s Family Violence Education Program. You can avoid going to trial by choosing this option since you will receive the necessary preventative education. You must apply to the court requesting that you enroll in this program. If the court grants this application, you will have to take nine sessions of a psycho-educational class, each 90 minutes long, focusing on preventing future family violence. When you have completed this program and have followed any other conditions the court set, the charges will be dismissed entirely. This often seems a good option since you avoid the most severe punishment. But this is not always ideal since you can only utilize the family violence education program once. It is best to avoid utilizing this program for such a minor criminal offense if possible.
A Domestic Disorderly Conduct Case Could Trigger a DCF Investigation
If you have a domestic disorderly conduct case against you, there is another important factor to know about. If minor children were present during the altercation that caused the arrest, you could be investigated by the DCF. This stands for the Department of Children and Families, which investigates to ensure that children are safe in that environment. This is most often initiated if disorderly conduct is done in the place of residence. You may have verbally fought with a roommate or significant other while your young child slept a few rooms away. Police departments must legally report these instances to the DCF as a precautionary measure. DCF investigations are not often serious if the children are safe in that environment and no abuse happens. But an investigation can be quite intrusive and inconvenient. There is also a possibility of things getting out of hand. If this were to happen, you would want to hire a lawyer to help protect you from further charges.
How to Prepare for Both Court Hearings
After a domestic disorderly conduct arrest, you will be facing two court hearings after the fact. You will need to prepare yourself to attend both court hearings punctually with your lawyer. There aren’t really any rules when it comes to going to court for your hearings, but there are a few things you want to do. You need to make sure you are clean and sober when you go to court so that you appear in the best light possible. Remain quiet unless you are directly spoken to. Your lawyer will be able to respond on your behalf in most instances. It is not required, but it is a good idea to wear your best clothing to show respect to the court and the judge. If you have any questions about the court rulings, you can always ask your lawyer, and they will be able to investigate for you.
How Does a Criminal Lawyer Help With Disorderly Conduct Cases?
Now that you understand domestic disorderly conduct cases, why do you need a criminal defense lawyer? This is something that the majority of people wonder if they have been charged with any kind of crime. You should hire a lawyer no matter what the charges entail or what you are going up against. You do not have the legal knowledge necessary to properly represent yourself in a court of law. This is where a criminal defense lawyer comes in and makes sure all of your rights are upheld.
Here are the main things a criminal defense lawyer will do when representing you against domestic disorderly conduct charges.
One of the main jobs of a criminal defense lawyer is gathering facts about your case. In this case, the lawyer will collect police reports, notes, logs, and dispatch recordings. If there are any 911 recordings or witness statements, they will also go over these. Your lawyer does this so that they can find any errors or inconsistencies with the information that is going up against you. They will also work to have evidence dropped if it goes against your constitutional rights or isn’t adequate. They will also file preservation motions to prevent the loss or destruction of important evidence that could benefit your case. This often includes audio surveillance and recordings at the time of your arrest and at the police station. They may look to find other witness statements that are in your favor or other forms of evidence.
Defends Your Case
A criminal defense lawyer is going to be the person representing you when you go to court. This is important since you will have to go to two different court hearings when charged with a domestic disorderly conduct case. They can speak on your behalf and try to get the best possible outcome. All the research they have done and the evidence they have gathered will help with this. They can also alert the court to any measures you have taken that could help with the outcome, such as anger management therapy or similar programs.
Another important role that a criminal defense lawyer plays is your support team. Your lawyer will be there with you throughout this process, no matter how long it takes. In domestic disorderly conduct cases, you may feel isolated and alone if you don’t have family members to support you. This can make it difficult to go through the process of trying to prove your innocence to the court. Your lawyer will be there for support if you need it and can answer any questions or concerns you may have.
As you can see, a lot goes into domestic disorderly conduct cases that you will want to know about. If you have received these charges, preparing for what will come next is important. This includes understanding how the process works and what the possible penalties could include. Regarding these kinds of charges, hiring a criminal defense attorney to represent you and provide support throughout your case is always best. Contact us today at Allan F. Friedman Criminal Lawyer to schedule a free consultation regarding your domestic disorderly conduct case.