- New York Domestic Violence
- New York Domestic Violence Laws
- Assault & Related Offenses
- Strangulation & Related Offenses
- Sex Offenses
- Kidnapping, Coercion & Related Offenses
- Penalties for Family Offenses in New York
- New York Domestic Violence Restraining Order
- Contact a New York Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
New York Domestic Violence
New York’s domestic violence laws make it a crime to commit violent or threatening offenses against any person with whom you have a certain specified relationship, such as a current or former spouse, parent, child or any other member of your family or household. These so-called “family offenses” carry severe, life-altering criminal penalties and a conviction for stalking, sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment, assault or any other crime against a family or household member can have devastating consequences that persist long after you have served your sentence. If you have been accused of committing a domestic violence offense in New York, do not wait to see if charges are filed to hire legal representation. If you retain the services of an experienced New York domestic violence defense attorney right away, you may be able to avoid prosecution altogether.
New York Domestic Violence Laws
Some states have separate criminal statutes that deal specifically with domestic violence crimes, while in other states, any crime can be classified as domestic violence if the person accused of committing the crime has a “family or household” relationship with the alleged victim. New York law considers the following individuals to be family or household members:
- Current or former spouses,
- People related by blood (i.e. children, siblings, parents and cousins),
- People related by marriage (i.e. step-relatives and in-laws),
- People living in the same household,
- People who have a child in common, whether or not they were ever married or lived together, and
- People who have been or currently are in an intimate relationship, even if they have never lived together.
Although many crimes classified as “domestic violence” involve violent or physically abusive acts or the threat of violence or abuse, some do not. In the state of New York, any of the following offenses can result in domestic violence charges if the alleged victim is a member of the defendant’s family or household.
Assault & Related Offenses
- Assault – NY Penal Law § 120.00 – 120.12
- Menacing – NY Penal Law § 120.13 – 120.15
- Reckless endangerment – NY Penal Law § 120.20 – 120.25
- Stalking – NY Penal Law § 120.45 – 120.60
Strangulation & Related Offenses
- Criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation – NY Penal Law § 121.11
- Strangulation – NY Penal Law § 121.12 – 121.13
- Sexual misconduct – NY Penal Law § 130.20
- Rape – NY Penal Law § 130.25 – 130.35
- Forcible touching – NY Penal Law § 130.52
- Sexual abuse – NY Penal Law § 130.55 – 130.65
Kidnapping, Coercion & Related Offenses
- Unlawful imprisonment – NY Penal Law § 135.00 – 135.15
- Kidnapping – NY Penal Law § 135.20 – 135.30
- Coercion – NY Penal Law § 135.60 – 135.65
Penalties for Family Offenses in New York
In New York, crimes involving violence, abuse, threats or intimidation perpetrated against family or household members carry a wide range of penalties, possibly including a jail or prison sentence, hefty fines, a domestic violence order of protection and other severe consequences. The specific penalties associated with a family offense in New York can vary a great deal depending on the nature of the crime and the severity of the alleged victim’s injuries.
For example, if you intentionally cause injury to a family or household member, recklessly cause injury to that person, or, with criminal negligence, cause physical injury to that person by means of a deadly weapon, you could be convicted of assault in the third degree under NY Penal Law § 120.00. In New York, this offense is a Class A misdemeanor, carrying possible penalty of up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
On the other hand, if you engage in sexual intercourse with a family or household member who is either younger than 15 or incapable of consent by reason of being mentally disabled or incapacitated, you could be convicted of rape in the second degree under NY Penal Law § 130.30. In New York, this offense is a Class D violent felony, punishable by a term of imprisonment between two and seven years.
If you commit the crime of criminally obstructing a family or household member’s breathing or blood circulation and thereby cause serious physical injury to that person, you could be convicted of first-degree strangulation under NY Penal Law § 121.13. In New York, this offense is a Class C violent felony, a much more serious crime than a Class A misdemeanor, and the penalty upon conviction increases significantly to a maximum of 15 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
New York Domestic Violence Restraining Order
In addition to facing criminal prosecution, a person charged with committing a family offense against a current or former spouse, family member or household member in New York may also be named in a domestic violence restraining order, or an order of protection. If the court grants an order of protection against you, you may be ordered to stay away from the home, school or workplace of the alleged victim and refrain from contacting, harassing, threatening, intimidating or otherwise interfering with that person. The order may also force you to: give up any firearms, give the alleged victim temporary custody of any minor children, and pay temporary child support in an amount that is “sufficient to meet the needs of the child.” If you fail to comply with the terms set forth in a New York order of protection, you could face additional criminal charges for contempt.
Contact a New York Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
Like many states, New York has significant protections in place for domestic violence victims and that can make it difficult to defend against these types of charges. In some domestic violence cases, the alleged victim may have second thoughts after the police arrive on the scene and start asking questions. Unfortunately, the state of New York has a mandatory arrest law for cases involving domestic violence, which means if the police show up at your home and have probable cause to believe that you committed an act of domestic violence, they are required to arrest you. And once you have been arrested for a domestic violence incident, the decision to dismiss the charges or move forward with the case is up to the prosecutor, not the alleged victim. If you are facing criminal charges for domestic violence in New York, your best chance at beating the charges is to consult a knowledgeable New York criminal defense lawyer who specializes in domestic violence cases.