Criminal Domestic Violence Cases

Most criminal domestic violence cases start with an arrest and criminal charges for Domestic Violence Acts . There is no crime called domestic violence. These are acts done by one partner to another partner in an “intimate relationship.” (Learn more at Domestic Violence Basics ) A criminal court order of protection can be ordered against a person who has been charged with a crime.

A criminal domestic violence case can also start by going to the police or the district attorney to report a crime. The police can charge the other person with a crime and during any of the court appearances in Criminal Court, the court can issue an Order of Protection.

Important! It is best to get help from a domestic violence advocate who knows the process and can support you through the case and help you stay safe. The District Attorney’s Office will have people that can help. And you can visit Domestic Violence Resources to find more help.

Mandatory Arrest

New York State has “mandatory arrest” for domestic violence cases. This means that in an intimate partner relationship the police must make an arrest when:

In mandatory arrest cases, even if you ask the police not to make an arrest, they must do so. But, the police don’t have to make an arrest when you don’t want them to if:

The police are not allowed to ask you if you want the abuser arrested or if you want to “press charges.” But, the police can make an arrest if they think that is the best course of action.

A mandatory arrest does not always happen right away. It means that the police must make an arrest even if the abuser leaves before the police arrive.

Whenever the police investigate domestic violence, they must give the victims written notice of their legal rights. See Information for Victims of Domestic Violence .

CPL 140.10(4)

Temporary Order of Protection

There are many different courts that decide criminal cases. The court that decides the case, depends on the charges, the age of the abuser, and where you live. Visit Types of Criminal Courts . After an arrest, the abuser will go in front of a judge. This is called an Arraignment . Unlike a Family Court Case , the case is not between the victim and the abuser. The government, named the “People of the State of New York” starts the case against the defendant. The lawyer for the government is called a prosecutor or assistant district attorney (ADA). The abuser is called the defendant. The victim of abuse is called the complaining witness.

At the arraignment, the judge can either:

An arraignment usually takes place within 24 hours of the arrest. The District Attorney asks the judge for a Temporary Order of Protection (TOP) for the victim or complaining witness. The judge decides whether to issue the Order of Protection and what terms and conditions to put in the order.

The Temporary Order of Protection sets the rules the abuser must follow while the order is in effect. The order protects the person the defendant is suspected of harming, their property and in some cases, their children, pets, or other relatives. Learn more at Domestic Violence Order of Protection Basics .

If you are confused about what the terms of the Order of Protection mean, read Understanding the Criminal TOP .

Defendants can find answers to frequently asked questions by reading the Defendant’s Information Sheet .

During the Case

Your case may be sent to a special Domestic Violence courtroom that deals only with these cases. If you have an Order of Protection from both Family Court and a criminal court, your case may be sent to an Integrated Domestic Violence (IDV) courtroom. These courtrooms have better resources for domestic violence cases. Read more about Domestic Violence (DV) and Integrated Domestic Violence (IDV) Courts .

The District Attorney prosecutes the defendant for the crimes. You do not participate in the case other than as a witness. You don’t need an attorney.

No criminal charges can be dropped unless the District Attorney's office and the judge agree to drop the charges. If the charges against the abuser are dropped, the Temporary Order of Protection is no longer in effect.

If the abuser violates the order during the case, the abuser could be charged with criminal contempt. Read Violation of an Order of Protection .

Final Order of Protection

If the abuser is convicted, the judge can order a final Order of Protection, counseling, conditional discharge, a fine, probation and or jail. The judge can also order payment of Restitution to pay you back for medical bills and other costs. The Order can last from 1 year to several years, depending on the crimes. A final Order of Protection is good wherever you go. Even if you travel or move to another state.

If the criminal case is dismissed, the Order of Protection will no longer be in effect.

Related Information:



Look up case info. by name or index/docket number at eCourts .

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Domestic Violence Reports

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Local Law 38 of 2019

Local Law 38 of 2019 requires that beginning June 1, 2019, and annually thereafter, the NYPD report on certain domestic violence initiatives, indicators and factors in the city, including:

Monthly Complaint and Radio Run Statistics

Annual Complaint and Radio Run Statistics

Quarterly Complaint and Radio Run Statistics

Complaint Statistics in NYCHA by Precinct

Complaint Statistics in NYCHA by PSA

Division of Criminal Justice Services

Domestic Violence Data

The Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) collects information on victims of domestic violence reported through the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program.  Victim counts are reported for the following offenses: aggravated assault, simple assault, sex offenses, and violation of protective orders ( see definitions ).

Domestic violence victims are identified by their relationship to the offender and are categorized as:

Intimate Partner (Female/Male) – Includes spouse, ex-spouse, and those in an intimate relationship (including dating or formerly dating relationships, whether or not the intimate partners had ever lived together).

Other Family – Includes sibling, child, grandparent, grandchild, in-law, stepparent, stepsibling, and other blood and in-law relationships.

NOTE: New York City Police Department has provided domestic violence victim data for the purpose of this report, but offense classification differ from the UCR definitions.  Data for New York City should not be used to derive statewide counts and/or make regional comparisons ( see definitions ).

Domestic Violence Victim Data by County: 2021

Domestic violence victim data by county: 2020, domestic violence victim data by county: 2019, domestic violence victim data by county: 2018, domestic violence victim data by county: 2017, domestic violence victim data by county: 2016, domestic violence victim data by county: 2015, domestic violence victim data by county: 2014, domestic violence victim data by county: 2013, domestic violence victim data by county: 2012, domestic violence victim data by county: 2011, community resources, law enforcement.


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You Are Not Alone

The New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence honors 30 years of history as an agency with this retrospective video. A short documentary exploring the history and future of OPDV including interviews with past and present agency and state leadership including the honorable Governor Kathy Hochul.

Latest News Stay Informed

2023 state of the state.

Learn more about the proposals that will define Governor Hochul's 2023 Agenda.

LGBTQI+ Endorsement Pilot Program

OPDV is excited to announce the launch of the LGBTQI+ Endorsement Pilot Program. OPDV is working to develop the LGBTQI+ Endorsement to reduce barriers in the domestic violence delivery system for LGBTQI+ survivors of gender-based violence. During this 1-year pilot program, OPDV will work closely with 5 OCFS-approved domestic violence programs to build their capacity to meet the LGBTQI+ Program Standards and receive an endorsement at the conclusion of the program. For questions about the application, please watch the recorded  webinar .

Start the Conversation

The Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence is committed to providing access, equal opportunity, and reasonable accommodations in its programs, services, and activities. OPDV will generally, upon request, provide appropriate aids and services leading to effective communication so that all can meaningfully participate.

Requests for accommodation should be made at least two weeks prior to participating in any of our programs or scheduled events. For more information, contact  [email protected] .

Trainings and Events

Training: sexual violence 101, training: domestic violence 101, training for nys hospitals.

Publications and Reports

Survivor listening sessions.

In 2021, OPDV conducted the first Survivor Listening Sessions to inform the agency’s efforts to move New York State towards a truly survivor-centered, trauma-informed, and culturally responsive domestic violence services delivery system.

Public Hearings on Accountability Programs for Those Who Harm

In June 2021, OPDV hosted public hearings on the topic of accountability programs for those who cause harm

Blue-Ribbon Commission on Forensic Custody Evaluations

The Governor’s Blue-Ribbon Commission on Forensic Custody Evaluations was charged with providing recommendations to the Governor regarding forensic custody evaluations 

Learn About the Issues

Gender-based violence, sexual assault, domestic violence, know the facts.

Calls to the NYS Hotline increased an average of 45% during the COVID 19 pandemic.

Calls to the New York State Hotline increased an average of 45% during the COVID 19 pandemic.

In 2019 there were 237,212 domestic violence orders of protection issued in New York State.

Since 2012, the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence has trained over 20,000 professionals on intimate partner violence.

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Mandatory Arrest in Domestic Violence Cases

Call now to speak with me immediately, nys domestic violence = mandatory arrest.

New York dramatically changed its criminal law procedures when it implemented a “mandatory arrest” law for cases involving domestic violence. If the police are called for a potential domestic violence incident and they have probable cause to believe you committed an act of domestic violence, they are required to arrest you. Even if the alleged victim doesn’t want to press charges, new police training puts much less emphasis on the victim’s wishes.

This can make it more complicated to defend against domestic violence charges because, unlike some other criminal charges, the case can still proceed, even if the alleged victim changes his or her mind or the parties resolve the issue before the police arrive at the scene.

Why Was this Law Put into Place?

This law came about through good intentions. Unfortunately, many victims of domestic violence will change their story out of fear or love, because they feel trapped economically, or for a number of other reasons specific to their situation. Since a number of domestic violence cases end in serious injury or death, even after the victim has retracted their claims of abuse, New York no longer relies on the victim before pressing charges and making an arrest.

Sadly, by automatically arresting alleged abusers in an attempt to protect their victims, New York state has created a complicated problem for criminal defendants. If you are involved in or accused of being involved in a domestic incident, you could be automatically arrested, even if the victim has recanted their claims of abuse. Even if you and the other person were both participating in the incident, if the police believe you were the “primary” or main aggressor, you may be the only person arrested. An arrest could you leave you with a criminal record that could impact your future.

NYS Domestic Violence Mandatory Arrest Law in Practice: “What Will the Police Do?”

If the police are called in an emergency, they are required to come and investigate, whether the emergency is related to domestic violence or any other incident. Once on the scene, police must begin to investigate to see if there is enough evidence to show that you committed a crime by harming or threatening the alleged victim. If police gather enough of this evidence to have probable cause to believe, or reasonable belief, that you committed an act of domestic violence and are required to arrest you under New York law.

Police typically begin gathering this evidence by questioning the alleged victim. They will want to know what happened, in the victim’s perspective, where you are, whether any weapons were used, and where they may be, if there are any injuries, and if any children are present in the home. The police will typically take photos of any injury or property damage, confiscate any weapons, and make copies of any messages that threaten the victim, apologize for the incident, or otherwise discuss the incident.

When will Police have Probable Cause?

As noted above, police  must make an arrest  if there is probable cause that domestic violence has occurred. You can’t be charged with a domestic violence offense simply for assaulting another person. Crimes under the domestic violence statute fall under a very limited scope. The first thing police must determine is whether the alleged victim was a member of your family or household. A domestic violence victim can only be a spouse, former spouse, person you share a child with, person you share blood relationship with, or current or former intimate partner. If you do not have one of these relationships with the alleged victim, the incident cannot be domestic violence.

Your relationship with the victim is not the only thing that the state will try to prove is that you committed a crime that falls under the domestic violence statute. Police must believe that a criminal offense occurred or that you violated an order of protection by either failing to stay away from the victim or that you committed a family offense crime that was prohibited in the order.

What if We Were Both Involved?

The mandatory arrest law has one possible exception: if you and the alleged victim were both involved in the incident. If the crime is a misdemeanor, police may choose to arrest only one of the parties involved in the domestic incident. Police will investigate and determine whether you or the other party were the “primary aggressor,” meaning the party most responsible for the domestic incident. However, if both parties have committed felony crimes, this exception does not apply. In that case, the police will be required to arrest both you and the other party.

What Happens after Arrest?

After the police arrest you in New York State on a domestic violence charge, they will bring you to the police precinct for booking, and you will appear before the court for arraignment shortly after. At the arraignment, a judge will review the information surrounding your arrest and the charges. Based upon your alleged crimes, your criminal history, and the likelihood that you would appear at trial, the judge will make a determination as to your possible bail. The judge may choose to release you on your own recognizance, to set a bail that you must pay in order to be released, or to refuse to set bail. In the final scenario, you could be placed in jail to await a hearing on your charges.

As with any criminal charge, there are other consequences beyond appearing for trial and the possible sentence you could receive. The ramifications can have impact your future education, career, and even your relationships. It makes this well-intentioned law very risky for defendants. It is why I always recommend to my clients that they remain cautious if they find themselves in a domestic incident and find themselves arrested as a result.

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Prosecution of New York City Domestic Violence Cases

After a person is arrested on charges of domestic violence, they will inevitably be forced to face a prosecutor in court. New York state does not allow individuals to drop domestic violence charges, and even if they are false, the state will attempt to assemble evidence against the alleged offender.

Defending oneself against domestic violence charges is never easy, and without the aid of an established defense lawyer, most defendants will find themselves at the mercy of the court.

If you or someone you care about has been charged with domestic violence, speak with a skilled domestic abuse lawyer who can defend you, and explain the prosecution of New York City domestic violence cases.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence?

The prosecution of New York City domestic violence cases is relatively straightforward, and if a person is charged with the crime, they will face a plethora of charges and penalties.

Contrary to what many people think, the term domestic violence actually refers to a wide range of criminal acts committed by family members, spouses, romantic partners, and roommates. The following crimes can be placed in a domestic violence context:

Less serious crimes are usually tried in family court, but serious felonies, such as murder and kidnapping, often warrant a criminal trial. Prior to the proceedings, the alleged victims may elect to file a protective order against the alleged perpetrator.

Factors Impacting Domestic Violence Cases

During the prosecution of New York City domestic violence cases, several factors will impact the outcome of the trial. The court will take the following factors into consideration:

When a person goes to trial, the prosecution will introduce evidence collected by law enforcement officials. If the evidence proves the alleged offender committed an act of domestic violence, the court will issue a punishment. During the trial, the lawyer for the defendant will attempt to question the validity and collection of the evidence. If they are successful, the charges against the defendant may be dropped

Criminal History of the Defendant

Individuals with a history of violent crime convictions may have difficulty defending themselves. The court will examine the criminal record of the alleged perpetrator, and individuals who do not have a record will usually fare better and receive lesser sentences if they are convicted

Witness Testimony

If anyone saw or overheard the alleged violent incident, they will provide testimony to law enforcement agents and possibly testify before the court. Witness testimony is very important, and both the prosecutor and defense attorney will have a chance to ask questions to witnesses

If the court believes the defendant is guilty, they will be convicted and sentenced. The severity of the sentence will depend largely on the criminal background of the defendant and the extent of the violent act.

In New York City, individuals can serve anywhere from a few months to a lifetime in prison, depending on the crime they are convicted of.

Learn More About the Prosecution of New York City Domestic Violence Cases

There are many elements of a successful domestic violence defense, and if you have been charged with the crime, you will need a lawyer who knows how to handle such cases.

Domestic violence convictions can have a lasting impact on your life, but a New York City domestic violence lawyer can help get your charges reduced or dismissed completely.

Contact an attorney today to learn more about the prosecution of New York City domestic violence cases.

How We Can Help? Please leave this field empty.

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Manhattan District Attorney's Office

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Domestic Violence

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What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic Violence is abusive behavior that occurs between family members or intimate partners. Intimate partners include your current or former husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend, your child’s mother/father, or a partner that you live with or used to live with. Domestic violence can take the form of physical, sexual, psychological, or economic abuse.

The abuser has been arrested. What happens now?

After an arrest, the abuser will appear before a judge. This is called an arraignment. An attorney will represent the abuser, and an Assistant District Attorney will represent the People of the State of New York. The case against the abuser is brought in the name of the People of the State of New York, not your name. At arraignment, the judge can either set bail, hold the abuser in jail without bail, or release the abuser, who must then return to court on a future date. Usually the abuser is arraigned within 24 hours of his or her arrest. CAUTION: The abuser may be released at any time after arraignment

What is an Order of Protection?

At arraignment, the Assistant District Attorney can ask the judge to issue an Order of Protection. An Order of Protection is a court order that instructs the abuser to refrain from certain conduct, including harassing, intimidating, threatening, assaulting, or stalking you. In addition, the order of protection can instruct the abuser to refrain from having any contact with you, whatsoever. If the abuser violates the order of protection, he or she can be re-arrested.  Learn more about Orders of Protection.

How can I stay safe?

An order of protection cannot guarantee your safety. Therefore, it is important to have a safety plan. Our Office can assist you in obtaining court-related information and social services to help provide for your safety and ease any emotional trauma. Our Witness Aid Services Unit can help you:

Can you still help me if I don’t want the abuser arrested?

In order to proceed in Criminal Court you must have a criminal case. You also have the option to file a petition in Family Court when a family offense has been committed against you. You can request an order of protection in Family Court. However, Family Court is a civil court, and a proceeding will not result in a criminal record for the abuser. In order to proceed in Family Court, you and the abuser must:

For more information regarding Family Court proceedings, contact:

Manhattan Family Court

60 Lafayette Street New York, NY 10013 646-386-5200 [email protected]

Report an Incident

In an emergency, call 911. If you are unable to do so, you should go to the police station nearest to where the abuse has occurred.

If you have suffered an injury, you should seek medical attention and have photographs of your injuries taken. You should also photograph any potential evidence of the abuse, such as broken furniture, torn clothing, or a damaged phone. Finally, you should take “screen shots” to preserve any messages (voice mail, text, or email) which may be helpful in the investigation and prosecution of your case.

Manhattan Family Justice Center

Our Manhattan Family Justice Center at 80 Centre Street has a child-friendly waiting room and play area so that children and families can be at ease in our Office. We have social services staff on-site, including a Child Victim Specialist who helps children feel comfortable and helps parents and families understand the justice process and get the services they need. Referrals are available for individual counseling, family counseling, medical treatment, housing issues, and safety planning.

New York Police Department

The NYPD has a domestic violence unit in every precinct in New York City. Officers in this unit are specially trained to handle domestic violence cases. Call your local precinct to speak with the domestic violence officer. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

Adult Protective Services Central Intake Unit

212-630-1853 – Central Intake Adult Protective Services (APS) is a state-mandated case management program that arranges for services and support for physically and/or mentally impaired adults who are at risk of harm. APS seeks to promptly resolve the risks faced by eligible clients with service plans that will enable these individuals to live independently and safely within their homes and communities. Prospective clients may be referred by anyone.

New York City Anti-Violence Project

1-800-799-7233 (24 Hour Hotline) New York City Anti-Violence Project provides services to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender victims, including counseling, advocacy for legal issues, support groups, and community education.

Barrier Free Living, Inc.

800-799-7233  | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) *This hotline will connect to Safe Horizon, which can connect Victims to BFL Barrier Free Living provides services to disabled domestic violence victims, including advocacy, individual counseling, support groups, skills training, shelter referrals and help in obtaining orders of protection. Services are available citywide in English, Spanish, Creole, and American Sign Language.

Manhattan Legal Services, Domestic Violence Project

917-661-4500 Manhattan Legal Services provides victims of domestic violence with legal representation in Family court (for custody, visitation, and child support matters) and help in obtaining orders of protection. Services are available in English and Spanish.

212-732-0054 888-888-7702  (Hotline) WOMANKIND provides crisis intervention, safe shelter, counseling, advocacy, and community education with specific consideration to unique issues faced by Asian battered women. Services are available in English, Chinese, Hindi, and other Asian language or dialects.

Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation

212-822-8300 Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation provides domestic violence victims with crisis counseling, shelter/housing assistance, court accompaniment, referrals and legal services. Services are available in English and Spanish.

Sanctuary for Families, Inc.

212-349-6009 Sanctuary for Families provides domestic violence victims and their children with shelter/housing assistance, counseling, advocacy, referrals, support groups and legal services. Services are available in English, Spanish, French and other languages.

CONNECT Legal Advocacy Program

212-683-0605 CONNECT Legal Advocacy Program provides domestic violence victims with advocacy for criminal and family court issues, shelter, public assistance and immigration. Services are available in Spanish and English.

Violence Intervention Program

800-664-5880 Violence Intervention Program provides domestic violence victims with crisis counseling, advocacy, support groups, community education, referrals, and shelter. Services are available in English and Spanish.

New York State Hotlines

800-942-6906  (Multi-Language Accessibility) Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 711

VINE (Victim Information and Notification Everyday)

888-846-3469 A service which provides victims of crime through the telephone or internet information regarding release dates for inmates in the custody of the New York City Department of Correction and New York State Department of Correctional Services.

E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy LLP

Domestic Violence Charges and Sentencing in New York State

Domestic violence is a very serious offense. Any person that believes they are in danger of facing domestic violence in an emergency situation should immediately call 911 for assistance.

Anyone facing domestic violence charges is entitled to professional legal representation; regardless of occupation, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, faith, socioeconomic status, or level of education.

Every day, domestic violence impacts citizens from every walk of life in the State of New York. Domestic violence is a serious crime that can result in physical injury or death. Some forms of Domestic Violence are not as visible, such as financial exploitation, sexual assault, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, or psychological abuse. New York State requires “automatic arrest” for Domestic crimes and as a result, domestic violence charges can be quite complex to defend.

Definition of Domestic Violence in NY

New York State defines Domestic Violence (DV) as:

“A pattern of coercive tactics, which can include physical, psychological, sexual, economic and emotional abuse, perpetrated by one person against an adult intimate partner, with the goal of establishing and maintaining power and control over the victim.” Source:

In other words, domestic violence includes acts of abuse, as well as the threat of abuse of a spouse, former spouse and could include relatives, unmarried persons living together, persons with a child in common, or those in an “intimate relationship”, according to the laws in New York State.

In NY State, law enforcement is required to make a “mandatory arrest” for Domestic Violence calls and a conviction brings serious consequences.

NY Sentencing Guidelines for Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Felony

As the most serious level of a crime punishable by law, a felony assault conviction requires more than one year in jail.

Sentencing Chart for Felony Convictions in New York State

NY State Felony Charge and Conviction reference chart

A felony conviction will result in the termination of rights and freedoms that most U.S. citizens enjoy, like voting, exercising one’s 2nd amendment rights, and access to government assistance programs.

In addition to employment, financial and educational opportunities, a felony domestic violence conviction will directly impact personal, family, and social relationships, especially when a Separation, Divorce, Family Court, or Family Services are involved.

A felony conviction could also result in a longer sentence when additional charges are filed when there are prior Drug Charges, DWI or DWAI, and/or sexual assault charges or convictions.

Domestic Violence Misdemeanor

A misdemeanor assault conviction is punishable by up to one year in jail. Law enforcement will only arrest the “Primary Aggressor” in domestic violence situations. For misdemeanor charges (not felony), law enforcement must determine who the primary aggressor was. If both persons are believed to have committed a misdemeanor-level crime, the police will attempt to determine who the primary aggressor was and file charges accordingly.

Domestic Violence Violation

Sometimes referred to as a “Petty Offense,” a Domestic Violence violation is punishable by up to 15 days in jail and does not create a criminal record.

Assault Charge Conviction

Due to the sensitive nature of domestic violence and the mandatory arrest policy, an experienced criminal defense attorney should be retained as soon as possible.

Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

Just as each case is unique, so are lawyers. You will want to find an attorney that you trust to understand your rights and fight for your future.

Choose your attorney wisely. Looking for extensive criminal defense experience and good standing in the legal community is a good place to start. Make sure to ask a lot of questions and get a feel for how the attorney would handle your case. Most attorneys, including ours, will be open to working out a payment plan, so ask for a quote and then hire the criminal defense attorney you feel would be the best fit for your situation.

Our Criminal Defense Attorneys live and work in the Capital Region and we have been representing clients facing criminal charges since 1898.

Our firm has been continuously recognized by our peers and the legal industry as a whole, for our excellence and overall success. We make a point to listen to our clients’ needs and always work with them to provide the representation they can afford.

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E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy also represents clients with the following criminal charges :

Our Criminal Defense Attorneys are available for a Free Phone Consultation or a confidential in-person meeting at one of our convenient offices in Albany, Schenectady, Troy, and Saratoga Springs.

If your situation is urgent, Call Us Now . Our attorneys are available 24/7/365 and will return your call promptly, if after hours. We are always here to help.

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domestic violence cases ny

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Stephen Bilkis

New York Domestic Violence

The incidence of domestic violence has reached an alarming rate. With many high profile cases dominating the media, New York law enforcement as well as law enforcement agencies across the country are under increased pressure to aggressively prosecute those accused of domestic violence. Domestic violence is a catchall term to describe crimes involving people who are in a romantic relationship, are members of the same family, or who live in the same household. Types of domestic violence range include stalking, harassment, assault, rape, murder, as well as other crimes. A victim of domestic violence can be a wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, child, other relative, or housemate. While domestic violence is clearly a problem, in their zeal to punish alleged perpetrators of domestic violence prosecutors do not always get it right. If you are charged with a domestic violence offense contact an experienced New York Domestic Violence Lawyer who will listen to the facts of your case and vigorously defend you against the criminal charges.

Under New York law there is no one crime that is called "domestic violence." In other words, you cannot be arrested and charged with domestic violence. Domestic violence is a broad term for violence that occurs between people who are related or who have a social relationship such as being married, living together, or dating. In order for a crime to be termed domestic violence, it does not have to involve people in a romantic relationship or who have a past romantic relationship. It also refers to violence between family members or those sharing the same household. While anyone can become a domestic violence perpetrator or victim, where a victim suffers a serious injury from domestic violence, the victim is typically male and the perpetrator male.

Domestic violence can involve a number of different crimes such as disorderly conduct, harassment, aggravated harassment; sex crimes such as sexual misconduct, sexual abuse, and rape; assault crimes such as assault, reckless endangerment, and stalking; strangulation and murder.

Disorderly conduct is a common domestic violence charge. It involves acting violent towards another person in public. Thus, if you have an argument with your wife or girlfriend public, for example, and the argument gets loud or if physical violence ensues, then one or both you will likely face a charge of disorderly conduct. Disorderly conduct is not considered a crime, but a violation. N.Y. Pen. Law § 240.20.

Harassment and aggravated harassment are also common charges related to domestic violence. Harassing someone involves annoying or violent behavior toward another person such as striking, shoving, kicking, engaging in other physical contact, following, or engaging in other alarming conduct. N.Y. Pen. Law § 240.25 and 240.26. Such harassment becomes aggravated harassment if it is accomplished using a written or electronic means of communication such as a letter or telephone. N.Y. Pen. Law § 240.30. For example, in People v. Bohlman , 913 N.Y.S.2d 497 (2010), the defendant faced several charges, including aggravated harassment in the second degree based on calling, texting and mailing letters to the victim, defendant's ex-girlfriend.

Under the New York Penal Law you have committed sexual misconduct if you engage in sexual intercourse, oral sex, or anal sex with another person without that person's consent. Even if you are in a romantic relationship with the person such as marriage, cohabitating or dating, if you have sex with that person without his or her consent, then you have committed an act of domestic violence involving the crime of sexual misconduct.

The New York sex crimes statute has specific definitions for sexual intercourse, oral sex and anal sex. Sexual intercourse has its ordinary meaning-- a penis penetrating a vagina. It does not matter if the penetration was not complete. Any penetration is enough for there to be sexual intercourse for the purpose of a charge of sexual misconduct. Oral sex refers to sexual contact between the mouth of one person and penis of another person, the mouth and the anus, or the mouth and the vagina or vulva. Anal sex means contact between the penis and the anus. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.00(1)

Sexual misconduct is a Class A misdemeanor. If you are convicted of sexual misconduct the maximum sentence that you could face is up to a year in jail. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.20.

Sexual abuse is defined as having sexual contact with another person without that person's consent. Sexual contact is touching of the sexual or intimate parts for sexual gratification. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.00(3). Sexual or intimate parts refer to the vagina, penis, anus, rectum, buttocks, breasts, lips and mouth. There are three degrees of sexual abuse: sexual abuse in the first degree, second degree or third degree. The charge you will face depends on the basis for the lack of consent. For example, if you used physical force or threats to have sexual contact with your wife or girlfriend, then the charge will be sexual abuse in the first degree, a Class D felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.65. On the other hand, if you have sexual contact with your cousin who was 13 years old, the charge would be sexual abuse in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.60. In both cases the acts of sexual abuse would also be classified as acts of domestic violence.

Rape involves having sexual intercourse with another person without that person's consent. Lack of consent can be based on exerting physical force against the victim, threatening the victim. Lake consent can also be based on having sex with someone who is physically helpless or mentally incapacitated. If you have sex with a minor, that is also considered rape regardless of whether or not the minor appeared to have agreed to have sexual intercourse with you.

There are 3 degrees of rape: rape in the first degree, second degree and third degree. Rape in the first degree is the most serious rape charge. You will face this domestic violence charge if you exert physical force on a member of your household in order to have sex with that person, if the victim was physically helpless, or if the victim was less than 13 years old. Rape in the first degree is a Class B felony. If convicted, you will face up to 25 years in prison. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.35. Rape in the second degree and rape in the third degree also involve having sex with someone without that person's consent, however, for a second degree charge the lack of consent is based on the victim being mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or because the victim was less than 15. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.30. You will have committed rape in the third degree if the victim's lack of consent was based on the victim being less than 17 years old or for any other reason. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.25.

You have committed assault if you cause physical harm to another person. It does not matter if you did not intend to injury. All that is required is that your recklessness or negligence resulted in the physical harm to another person. N.Y. Pen. Law § 120.00. If you hit your spouse, girlfriend, roommate, child, or other family member, for example, then you would have committed an act of domestic violence that included assault.

There are several different offenses related to assault. If when you assault someone you intend to cause serious harm and you in fact do cause serious harm, the charge you will face is assault in the second degree. N.Y. Pen. Law § 120.05. This type of assault often involves the use of a deadly weapon such as a gun or a knife. For example, in People v. Thurnquest , 938 N.Y.S.2d 749 (2012), defendant Chet Thurnquest was arrested on a charge of assault in the second degree as well other domestic violence charges after being accused of repeated striking his wife and pushing her out of a moving vehicle, resulting in serious injuries to his wife.

Assault in the first degree is similar to assault in the second degree except that the assault was with a dangerous weapon and caused the victim a serious injury, the intent of the assault was to permanent disfigure, or the assault was with depraved indifferent to human life. N.Y. Pen. Law § 120.10. In the case of People v. Thurnquest , where the defendant pushed his wife out of a moving car, the defendant was also charged with assault in the first degree. In People v. Khan , 906 N.Y.S.2d 782 (2010), a first degree assault charge was based on the defendant hitting his wife in the torso with a large cleaver causing injuries. In People v. Russell , 824 N.Y.S.2d 684 (2006), the defendant punched victim several times, causing her to lose her right eye.

Reckless endangerment is different from assault in that assault involves causing a victim injury, while reckless endangerment involves engaging in conduct that creates a significant risk of causing another person serious injury. N.Y. Pen. Law § 120.20. To be charged with reckless endangerment in the first degree, the prosecution must establish that not just that your actions posed a substantial risk of serious injury to another person, but that your actions showed a depraved indifference to human life and posed a risk of death to another person. N.Y. Pen. Law § 120.25

If you follow another person such as your girlfriend or boyfriend, or if you communicate with that person in a way that makes that person fear for his or her safety, you are a stalker. N.Y. Pen. Law § 120.45. There are 4 stalking offenses: stalking in the fourth degree, third degree, second degree, and first degree. The most serious stalking offense is stalking in the first degree. You will face this charge if while stalking someone you also intentionally or recklessly caused the victim physical injury, or if you also commit a sex crime against the person you stalked. N.Y. Pen. Law § 120.60.

Stalking in the fourth and third degrees are misdemeanors, with penalties of up to one year in jail. Stalking in the second degree is a Class E felony with a possible sentence of up to 4 years in prison, while stalking in the first degree is a Class D felony with a possible sentence of up to 7 years in prison.

Strangulation involves obstructing the breathing or blood circulation of another person. To face a charge of strangulation in the second degree, when causing the obstruction of the breathing or blood circulation of another person you also cause that person to lose consciousness, fall into a stupor, or cause a physical injury. N.Y. Pen. Law § 121.12. For example, in People v. Fairman , 957 N.Y.S.2d 265 (2012), the defendant, who was the father of the victim's children, charged with strangulation in the second degree based on twisting a shirt around the victim's neck. The victim testified that she was unable to breathe and experienced blurry vision. The couple's children were witnesses to the defendant's actions.

A strangulation charge will be raised to the more serious charge of strangulation in the first degree if the victim suffers serious injury. N.Y. Pen. Law § 121.13.

In the most severe cases of domestic violence, the victim is murdered. Murder in the second degree is the charge you will face if you cause the death of your spouse, significant other, roommate or someone else in your household while you were under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance. N.Y. Pen. Law § 125.25. Murder in the first degree involves intentionally causing the death of another person. N.Y. Pen. Law § 125.27

If you are arrested and charged with a crime where the victim is involved in domestic relationship with you, once of the preliminary actions of the court will be to issue a order for protection. An order of protection is issued in order keep victims of violence, abuse, harassment, or threats safe from harm or further harm. To keep the victim safe the judge has the power to grant a variety of different types of protections and restrictions. For example, the order may require you to refrain from communicating with the victim via telephone, mail, or electronically, refrain from injuring your pets, pay child support, pay expenses related to your hospitalizations that were the result of his or her abuse, move out of the residence, and to surrender any guns he or she may possess. N.Y. FCT. Law § 842; N.Y. FCT. Law § 842-A.

If you are ultimately convicted of a crime based on a domestic relationship, your punishment may range from probation up to life in prison. It depends on the charge. One of the least severe domestic violence offenses is disorderly conduct. Disorderly conduct is classified as a violation. This means that if you are convicted the maximum possible sentence that you will have is 15 days in jail and a fine of up to $250. However, the vast majority of crimes related to domestic violence are either misdemeanors or felonies. In most cases, if you are convicted you face the possibility of going to prison for many years.

In addition to possible jail or prison term, probation and fine, if you are convicted of a domestic violence related crime, if the crime is a sex offense, you will also be required to register as a sex offender. This means that upon conviction, you will have to register certain information with a designated law enforcement agency. N.Y. Cor. Law § 168. You will have to register for at least 20 years. In some cases, you will be required to remain on the sex offender registry for the rest of your life. As a registered sex offender several restrictions will be placed on you. For example, you will not be able to move out of New York state without informing the New York Department of Criminal Justice Services. If you do move, you must let the local law enforcement that you have moved to that jurisdiction, and you must follow that jurisdiction's sex offender registration rules. Even if you do not leave New York, you will have to keep the Department of Criminal Justice Services informed of your address. Some sex offenders will have to verify their address to the police every 90 days. You will also have to report to the local police and have your photograph taken every three years. You may have to let the police know the name and address of your employer, and the name of the school you are attending. If you do not follow these rules, you can be arrested and charged with a Class D felony that could result in jail or prison time.

When you are involved in a domestic violence crime, your case may be handled by a special court called the Integrated Domestic Violence Court (IDV). To be eligible for IDV court, the parties involved must have a criminal domestic violence case as well as a family court case or a matrimonial case. While all cases will be adjudicated separately, a single judge will oversee all cases to ensure that the outcomes are coordinated and not inconsistent.

Furthermore, cases handled in IDV have systems in place to facilitate access to community services such as victim assistance services and to ensure intensive defendant monitoring. For example, if you are on probation, the court will designate someone to work closely with you and the IDV to oversee compliance with the terms of your probation.

The consequence of being convicted of a domestic violence crime is that you will likely end up incarcerated for an extended period of time. In addition, even if you are not incarcerated, but receive a sentence that includes just probation and a fine, you will end up with a criminal record that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Furthermore, if you are convicted of a sex crime, you will have to register as a sex offender for a minimum of 20 years. Thus, if you have been charged with any crime related to domestic violenc, it is important that you are represented by someone with experience. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts, including those accused of domestic violence involving stalking, reckless endangerment, rape, assault, sexual assault, strangulation and murder. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of domestic violence in the following locations:

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