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

Last updated on May 12, 2022

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.

Sometimes the person making the accusation was actually the victim of domestic violence, however often one person in a relationship falsely accuses the other of abuse.  Sometimes the motive for a false accusation of domestic violence is jealousy or revenge.  Other times, there is a pending divorce and one spouse accuses the other of domestic violence to gain a tactical advantage.

The state of New York takes allegations of domestic violence very seriously, with prosecutors often seeking the maximum penalties for those who accused of having perpetrated acts of abuse.  If you are facing charges of domestic violence, it is important to speak with a Long Island criminal lawyer before making any decisions.  Call the Law Offices of Jason Bassett today (631) 259-6060.

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

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.

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