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: NYCourts.gov
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
- A felony has been committed by one “member of the same family or household” against another.
- There has been a violation of an order of protection for an individual.
- A “family offense” has been committed in violation of an order of protection.
- A misdemeanor family offense has been committed.
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
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:
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