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Domestic violence charges don't always involve assault

In Connecticut, domestic violence laws don't just address physical actions such as assault. Domestic violence crimes can also include threats and other types of behavior.

To be considered domestic violence, the alleged victim and abuser must be related in one of the following ways:

-- A current or former spouse-- A current or former boyfriend or girlfriend-- A parent or child-- A blood relative-- People who currently or formerly shared a home

Physical domestic violence is often preceded by threats. A threat is considered anything that is intended to cause a person to fear for his or her physical safety or to terrorize them. In Connecticut, there are two degrees of threats.

First degree threats involve threatening a crime with a firearm or a hazardous substance in order to terrorize the victim.

Second degree threats involve causing or attempting to cause someone to fear imminent serious physical injury, such as threatening to commit a violent crime against that person.

There are other actions besides assault (including sexual assault) that are against the law. These include stalking and harassment.

Stalking involves repeatedly and willfully lying in wait for someone in a way that causes that person to fear for his or her safety.

Harassment involves annoying or alarming someone either via phone or written communication or using obscene language.

Intimate relationships can be complicated and sometimes fraught with conflict. People often engage in unwise behavior because their emotions get the better of them. It's important to realize when that behavior is causing fear to another person, because there can be legal ramifications.

If you are charged with threatening or harassing behavior, it's essential to take the charges seriously, even if you believe the charges are unwarranted or the result of a misunderstanding. A Connecticut criminal defense attorney can provide guidance and work to protect your rights.

Source: FindLaw, "Connecticut Domestic Violence Laws," accessed July 15, 2016

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