Long Island Criminal Lawyer Explains: What Is Domestic Violence in New York?

Last updated on April 13, 2023

Under New York law, domestic violence includes allegations of “a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.” In many cases, the alleged victim claims to have suffered a series of physical, mental, and emotional abuses by the accused.

However, in some instances, false accusations of domestic violence are made by one partner against the other. This may be motivated by jealousy, revenge, or the desire to gain a tactical advantage in divorce proceedings. Even if the partner recants their allegations, it may be too late to prevent the legal system from pursuing charges against the accused, as the initial accusation can have lasting effects on the case.

Prosecutors in New York take allegations of domestic violence seriously, and those accused may face severe penalties if convicted. If you are facing charges of domestic violence, it is important to seek the guidance of a skilled Long Island domestic violence lawyer before making any decisions. The Law Offices of Jason Bassett can provide the legal support and representation you need. Contact us at (631) 259-6060 to schedule a consultation.

Domestic Violence Basics

In New York, domestic violence is termed a “family offense” and thus an action can be brought in family court while also charges are brought in criminal court.  The allegations made by an alleged victim of domestic violence can include:

  • Physical and sexual assault
  • Physical restraint or imprisonment
  • Threats of violence
  • Psychological threats
  • Threats of economic abuse
  • Verbal abuse and intimidation
  • Stalking
  • Harassment

With a varying degree of each carrying different potential sentences, the most common  criminal charges brought in the context of allegations of domestic violence include the following:

  • Assault
  • Menacing
  • Stalking
  • Strangulation
  • Criminal Obstruction of Breathing
  • Harassment
  • Criminal Contempt

Depending on a variety of factors, including the degree of injury alleged, domestic violence charges can be misdemeanors or felonies.

What “Intimate Relationships” Are Covered Under Domestic Violence Laws in New York?

When hearing the term “intimate relationship”, most people assume that would only cover people engaged in a sexual relationship.  However, what are considered intimate relationships and thus fall under New York domestic violence laws include the following:

  • Married and divorced couples
  • Domestic partnerships
  • Same-sex couples
  • Dating couples
  • People who have children in common (including adopted children)
  • People who are unrelated but have lived together for an extended period
  • Family members who are related by blood
  • Family members who are related by marriage
Long Island domestic violence lawyer

New York Domestic Violence Laws

Historically, it was challenging for domestic abuse victims to bring charges against their abusers in New York. Accusations were difficult to prove, and the law offered little protection for a victim after accusations were made and charges were filed.  Recent “reforms” to New York domestic violence, with the intent of giving legitimate victims an easier route to bring charges and seek protection, have unfortunately made it easier to bring false accusations.

An accuser will often (almost automatically) get an order of protection against the accused party, preventing them from returning home or seeing their children. Although these new policies have resulted in much good for victims and families suffering real domestic violence situations, the broad scope of the definition of domestic violence and the mandatory arrest policies enacted have resulted in numerous false charges brought against innocent people.  These well-intentioned reforms have enabled some accusers to make false claims and use the criminal justice system as a weapon to carry out their own personal agenda.

Because domestic violence charges carry severe penalties and may impact an individual for the rest of his or her life, it’s critical for anyone accused to get the representation of an experienced New York domestic violence attorney. If you have been accused of domestic violence in New York, contact the law firm of Jason Bassett Criminal Attorney for a free consultation.

Sentences For Domestic Violence

If you’re arrested and charged with a crime involving your current or former spouse, your parent or child, or any member of the household, one of the initial actions taken by the court will be to issue an order for protection. This order is intended to keep victims safe from violence, abuse, harassment, or threats. The judge has the authority to grant various types of protections and restrictions, such as refraining from communication with the victim, paying child support or expenses related to hospitalizations resulting from abuse, and surrendering any firearms in possession. Failure to comply with the order may lead to further legal consequences.

If you’re ultimately convicted of a domestic violence offense, the severity of your punishment will depend on the charge. Disorderly conduct is the least severe offense and is classified as a violation, with a maximum sentence of 15 days in jail and a fine of up to $250. However, most domestic violence offenses are classified as misdemeanors or felonies, with sentences ranging from 3 months to life in prison, depending on the severity of the offense. 

The maximum possible sentence for each classification of felony is as follows:

  • Class E felony (4 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000)
  • Class D felony (7 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000)
  • Class C felony (15 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000)
  • Class B felony (25 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000)
  • Class A-II felony (life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000)
  • Class A-I felony (life in prison and a fine of up to $100,000).

If you are facing domestic violence charges, don’t hesitate to seek the help of a skilled domestic violence defense lawyer. At the Law Offices of Jason Bassett, Long Island domestic violence defense attorney Jason Bassett may be able to provide you with legal guidance, support, and the best defense possible in your circumstance. Don’t face domestic violence charges alone – contact us today at (631) 259-6060 to schedule a consultation.

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