What are the penalties if someone is found guilty – or enters a guilty plea – to a charge of domestic violence in the state of New York State? The penalties will depend on the precise charge.

Here in New York, domestic violence may include spousal abuse, child abuse, family violence, and a number of other crimes.

WHAT BEHAVIOR CONSTITUTES DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?

A domestic violence charge does not have to be based on an actual incident of genuine physical violence; intimidation and a threat of violence is enough to constitute a crime of domestic violence in New York.

Anyone can be accused of domestic violence. If you are charged by the authorities with any crime of domestic violence on Long Island or in New York City, you will need to seek legal assistance as quickly as possible from a criminal defense attorney.

HOW DOES NEW YORK DEFINE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?

In this state, a crime of domestic violence is a crime in which both the alleged perpetrator and the alleged victim are:

1. members of the same family or household
2. related by blood or marriage
3. are legally married or are legally divorced
4. have a child together
5. have been involved in an intimate relationship

No single crime is actually called “domestic violence” in New York. The crimes in this state that are considered crimes of domestic violence include disorderly conduct, harassment, sex crimes, assault crimes, reckless endangerment, stalking and menacing, murder, and attempted murder.

WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CONVICTIONS?

Because domestic violence covers such a wide range of crimes, specific domestic violence penalties will depend on the precise charges and on the particular details of each alleged domestic violence incident.

A conviction on a charge of first-degree assault, for example, can be punished with five to twenty-five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

On the other hand, offenses including third-degree assault and second-degree menacing are Class A misdemeanors punishable upon conviction with up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

WHAT ABOUT “EXTRA-LEGAL” PENALTIES?

Of course, the criminal penalties are not the only penalties a defendant will face for a domestic violence conviction. A convicted offender’s future job prospects, that person’s right to own or carry a firearm, and that person’s child custody arrangements will all be negatively affected.

If you hold a professional license in this state, a conviction for a crime of domestic violence will put that license at risk for a suspension or a revocation.

HOW CAN A CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER HELP?

Of course, a domestic violence charge is in no way the equivalent of a conviction. Like any other criminal charge, to convict you for a crime of domestic violence, a prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury of your peers.

Sometimes, a false domestic violence accusation can be entirely debunked by a savvy defense attorney. Self-defense and the defense of your personal property are also sometimes offered as legal defenses against domestic violence charges.

WHY IS IT VITAL TO HAVE YOUR OWN ATTORNEY?

This is important: You should not settle for representation from a public defender if you are accused of domestic violence. A public defender may only want to move you through the system as smoothly and quickly as possible.

If the charge is a crime of domestic violence, you will need a criminal defense lawyer with proven skill and expertise in domestic violence cases to advocate on your behalf.

In fact, in any domestic violence case in New York, getting the charge dismissed – or winning an acquittal from a jury – will require the skills and expertise of a knowledgeable defense lawyer in New York.

The right attorney will provide an aggressive defense for a domestic violence defendant. Your attorney will interrogate the pertinent witnesses, scrutinize the facts, and provide a persuasive, powerful defense while defending your rights and working for the best possible final result.

WHAT CAN HAPPEN IF YOU ARE ARRESTED FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?

If you are arrested and charged with a crime of domestic violence, the court will issue an order for protection to keep the alleged victim or victims safe from further potential harm. Judges in New York have the discretion to order a variety of protections and restrictions.

A protection order may require the defendant in a domestic violence case to refrain from any personal, written, or electronic communication with the alleged victim or victims.

A domestic violence defendant may also in some cases be ordered to move out of the residence and to surrender any firearms he or she may possess.

WHO ARE THE VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?

Women from every walk of life – from the penthouse to the homeless shelter – report charges of domestic violence, but in the last two decades, men have accounted for roughly fifteen percent of New York’s domestic violence complaints.

It is imperative for the authorities to take domestic violence allegations seriously. When they don’t, tragedies happen. Nevertheless, New York’s attorneys and judges are familiar with false domestic violence accusations.

If you are falsely accused of a crime of domestic violence, you are not alone. It happens all too frequently, and for any number of reasons.

That is why you must be represented by an experienced criminal defense lawyer who routinely advocates on behalf of defendants accused of domestic violence.

WHAT IS NEW YORK’S IDV COURT?

Your domestic violence case may be tried by a special court called the Integrated Domestic Violence (IDV) Court if you are also involved in a proceeding divorce or in another family court case. This allows a single judge to oversee the cases to make sure the outcomes are consistent.

IDV Courts also facilitate access to community services for domestic violence victims and to mental health and counseling services for domestic violence offenders.

Every case and every allegation of domestic violence is unique. If you are charged with any crime of domestic violence in New York City, let an experienced Long Island criminal defense lawyer learn precisely what happened and advocate for justice on your behalf.

A false allegation of domestic violence can genuinely wreck your future, and in some cases, take your freedom. Don’t let that happen. If you are charged with a domestic violence crime, you have the right to legal counsel, and you’ll need to exercise that right immediately.