In New York, both the family courts and the criminal courts have concurrent jurisdiction over domestic violence cases. Those offenses are broken down into four basic sections in the New York Penal Code. Those are assault in Sections 120-120.12, menacing in Sections 120.13 to 120.15, stalking in Sections 120-145-160 and strangulation in Sections 121.11 to 121.14.
What is Domestic Violence?
The New York Unified Court System uses a broad generic definition for what constitutes domestic violence. It consists of a an instance or pattern of coercive behavior that might include physical, sexual, psychological, economic and emotional behavior by one person against an adult or child family member or intimate partner coupled with the goal of establishing and maintaining power and control over the victim. The alleged victim need not be a present or past intimate partner of the accused either. The courts also recognize the rights of family members and roommates sharing a residence.
If a police officer responds to a call and has a reasonable belief that either felony or misdemeanor domestic violence has occurred, New York requires the immediate arrest of the suspect. Along with potential incarceration, such a conviction can impact any professional licenses that a person might have. Individuals who are conditional or permanent residents of the United States should be aware of the fact that a domestic violence conviction can also impact their ability to remain in the country.
A person commits an assault when he or she causes physical harm to another person. The intent to commit physical harm or injury isn’t an element of the offense. For example, hitting a spouse, intimate partner, a child or other family member constitutes a domestic assault. There are different levels of assault ranging from misdemeanors to felonies.
The crime of menacing involves threating a person with physical harm so that the victim is in fear of actual physical injury. It consists of the threat and resulting reasonable fear of an actual physical assault. The threat must be accompanied by a physical act, and the intended victim is required to be aware of the threat.
If you follow a boyfriend, girlfriend, ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend or present or former intimate partner around, or you communicate with that individual in a manner that triggers their reasonable fear for their own safety, you’ve committed the crime of stalking. There are four degrees of the crime. Stalking in the first degree is a felony.
If one individual grabs another person by the neck, he or she can be charged with strangulation. The crime involves interfering with the breathing or blood circulation of another person. Second degree strangulation occurs when interference with breathing or blood circulation causes the victim to become faint, lose consciousness or suffer a physical injury. First degree strangulation is charged if the victim suffers a serious injury.
Orders of Protection
If you’re charged with a crime of domestic violence in New York, one of the first steps that a court will take will be the issuance of an order of protection in favor of the alleged victim and against you. The purpose of such an order is to protect the alleged victim from further threats, harassment, intimidation or physical harm. The protection authorized by such an order can be broad. It might provide for no direct or indirect communication with the victim or other protected persons, remaining a certain distance from him or her, moving out of any shared residence with the victim or even surrendering any firearms that you might possess.
If you’ve been taken into custody on allegations of domestic violence in any of New York’s boroughs, don’t give a statement or confession of any kind. They’ll only be used against you. Immediately invoke your right to an attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC at 718-682-7650 to arrange for a free consultation and case review. There are two sides to every domestic violence case, and we’ll listen to your side of the story carefully. After that, we’ll answer your questions and advise you of your complete range of legal choices. Call us right away after any domestic violence arrest.