A family picnic Saturday night at the Farist Road home of state Rep. Brenda Kupchick was disrupted when, according to police, a dispute between the legislator and her sister turned physical -- prompting an assault charge to be filed against Kupchick, an advocate for the cause of domestic-violence victims.

Kupchick, 48, a second-term Republican legislator representing the 132nd House District, was charged after what she called "a personal disagreement" with her sister, 42-year-old Lisa Fabrizi of Trumbull.

Kupchick, who has supported tougher penalties for domestic-violence defendants, had nothing to say Monday following her arraignment on third-degree assault and disorderly conduct charges at Bridgeport Superior Court.

"It's a family matter, it's personal," said her husband, Peter, as he put an arm around Kupchick's shoulders and guided her out a side door of the courthouse following the brief hearing.

As uncomfortable as Kupchick seemed in the courtroom, many court personnel seemed equally uncomfortable to have her there because of her support for some of the laws she was accused of breaking. For the last half-dozen years, Kupchick has worked with the Center for Women and Families, a regional agency that counsels victims of domestic abuse.

Standing before Superior Court Judge John Cronan, Kupchick admitted she recently obtained a gun and has a temporary permit for it. The judge ordered her to turn it over to police.

Cronan also ordered Kupchick to stay away from her sister. Her next court date is Sept. 11.

"Do you know who I am? You don't know anything about the situation," Fabrizi said as she left the courtroom following her arraignment Monday.

Police said the charges against Kupchick arose when a dispute with her sister briefly turned physical about 10:30 p.m. Saturday as Kupchick attempted to "prevent her sister from doing something not in her best interest," according to the police report on the incident.

Fabrizi had a scratch on her face as a result of the confrontation, police said. However, she also was charged with disorderly conduct.

"Every family has occasional disagreements," Kupchick said in a brief statement issued Monday. "My sister and I had a personal disagreement as she was leaving my house on Saturday following a family picnic.

"I will always put the best interests of my family and my family's children first," she added.

"We are appreciative of the professionalism and discretion of the Fairfield Police Department and are working through this as a family, and we hope everyone will respect our privacy."

In the state House of Representatives, Kupchick serves on the Public Safety, Housing, and Program Review and Investigations committees. In local government, she previously was a member of the Representative Town Meeting, the Board of Education and the Parks and Recreation Commission.

Staff writers Daniel Tepfer and Genevieve Reilly contributed to this report.