Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

New York State law defines domestic violence 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.”

In essence, a person is guilty of domestic violence in New York if they abuse, or threaten to abuse, any of the following:

  •     Spouse
  •     Former spouse
  •     Common-law partner
  •     A person with whom they had a child
  •     Someone with whom they are in an “intimate relationship”

Domestic violence also applies to a broad range of abusive crimes, such as:

  •     Assault (punching, hitting, kicking the victim)
  •     Stalking (following the person, monitoring their personal correspondence, etc.)
  •     Menacing (threatening to hurt the other person)
  •     Criminal mischief (damaging the victim’s possessions)
  •     Aggravated harassment (sending threatening texts, etc.)
  •     Aggravated criminal contempt (violating an order of protection)
  •     Endangering the welfare of a child (striking the victim in front of a child)

The penalties vary according to the exact crimes you are charged with. For example, Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine, while Assault in the First Degree can send you to prison for up to 25 years, even if you have no previous criminal record.

Depending on the circumstances, domestic violence can be a federal matter. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allows government prosecutors to act when interstate travel is involved. If you are accused of crossing state lines to commit an act of domestic violence or coercing an intimate partner to travel interstate before harming them physically, then you can be charged and prosecuted at the federal level.

If an order of protection is in place, then it is also a federal crime to cross from one state into the other with the intention of violating the order, or persuade the victim to travel to another state only to commit an act on them that violates the order.

Whether you are charged at the state or federal level, a felony conviction can terminate a lot of rights and freedoms that you previously enjoyed, such as exercising your second amendment rights, voting, and benefiting from government assistance programs. If you are in the military, then your career could come to an end.

Because the potential consequences are so severe and life-changing, you need to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are charged or believe you are about to be charged with a domestic violence offense. Your attorney will ensure that your rights are protected before and during any court proceedings. Julie Rendelman is a New York City criminal defense attorney who fights vigorously for the rights of her clients. Ms. Rendelman has over 20 years of experience and, as a former prosecutor, understands the workings of the criminal justice system. Call 212-951-1232 for a free consultation and visit to learn more about the types of crimes Ms. Rendelman handles.