If you’re charged with domestic violence in Connecticut, you will be facing serious jail time. A conviction of domestic violence (DV) will also impact your life in many other important ways. It can affect your child custody arrangements and your employment.
Your criminal defense lawyer in Connecticut will do whatever they can to help you avoid a conviction. One possible option is enrollment in the Family Violence Education Program (FVEP). This is a diversionary program managed by the Superior Courts of Connecticut.
The FVEP is an alternative to going to trial. However, it’s not something that’s automatically available to you. There are many requirements that you must meet while in the program. You must also qualify for the program. Your defense lawyer in Connecticut will talk to the Court about your applying for the FVEP.
If you are accepted into the program, you must complete all of the conditions. If you do this, your charges will be dismissed. However, if you don’t complete all of the conditions, you’ll face the same charges you would have if you never entered the program. If you’re denied for the program at the outset, you’ll take the regular path through the criminal courts.
How Do You Qualify for the FVEP System?
Only certain defendants can apply for the FVEP system. In order to qualify, your crime must specifically be assigned to the Domestic Violence court docket. If your case isn’t assigned to this unit, you won’t be able to apply for the program.
Your crime must be considered a family violence crime as well. In Connecticut, a family violence crime is one that involves a violence incidence resulting in harm or the threat of harm to a family or household member.
A family or household member for purposes of this offense includes the following:
- Former spouse
- Parents or grandparents
- Any blood relative
- Parent of your child
- Anyone you have a sexual or romantic relationship with
As long as the victim fits one of these groups, your crime will probably be listed as a family violence crime. If this is the case, your Connecticut criminal lawyer may be able to get you approved for the program.
What are the Requirements for the FVEP?
Qualifying for the FVEP isn’t enough. You may qualify to apply, but in order to be approved, you must meet certain requirements. These include, but are not limited to the following:
- You have no previous convictions for domestic violence
- You have not enrolled or applied for the FVEP before
- You haven’t been charged with a Class A, Class B or Class C felony
- You must not be charged with any other crime that carries a possible sentence of ten (10) years or longer
- You haven’t used a Court accelerated rehabilitation program before
If you meet all of these criteria, the judge will schedule your application hearing.
At this hearing, your defense lawyer and the prosecutor will present their positions. The prosecutor may either approved, challenge or have no opinion on whether or not your application should be approved.
The victim will also have a chance to speak their opinion. They can do this personally in open court or they can allow the prosecutor to do this on their behalf. Child protective services will also have the opportunity to present their opinion on your application.
You Can Present Evidence in Support of Your Application
While both the victim and the prosecutor can give their opinion on your application, you’ll also have a chance to speak. You can also submit evidence in support of your application for the FVEP.
The judge will consider the following when considering your application:
- Reference or character letters on your behalf
- Documentation that you have completed a drug and alcohol treatment program
- A letter from DCF in support of your application for the FVEP
Once the judge hears what everyone has to say and reviews your evidence, they’ll make their decision. If they approve your application, you’ll be enrolled in the program. You just have to complete all the conditions of the program and, once completed, you’ll have your charges dismissed.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Lawyer in Connecticut
If you’re charged with domestic violence, you’re going to need an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Connecticut. They can help you fight the charges and hopefully get them dismissed or reduced. They can also help you apply for the Family Violence Education Program as well.
Call Aeton Law Partners today and schedule your initial consultation. There’s too much at stake for you to handle this alone.