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NYC Domestic Violence Lawyers

The state of New York and NYC both take domestic violence very seriously. Domestic violence is not a defined crime by itself; a person will never be charged with, simply, “domestic violence.” However, “domestic violence” is an umbrella term used to describe a multitude of different crimes.

For a crime to qualify as domestic violence, it must meet the following criteria:

  • It must be perpetrated against a family member, significant other, child, roommate, or anyone else that the perpetrator lives in close quarters to
  • It must involve violence of some kind, including but not limited to assault, sexual violence, and threatening with a deadly weapon

New York Penal Law has a great number of sections that outline different domestic violence crimes and their punishments. Most crimes are considered felonies. Class E felonies, the most minor type of felony, carry maximum potential punishments of 3 years in prison and hefty fines. Because the penalties are so severe, if you’ve been accused of any domestic violence crime, it’s important to contact a NYC lawyer immediately following your arrest.

Basic Penalties for Domestic Violence Convictions

The range of penalties is wide and depends largely on the severity of the crime. If you have previous violent convictions, this will also impact the severity of your charges. People with previous convictions are more likely to face long prison sentences. If a serious injury was caused, the chances of jail time are far more likely. Similarly, sentences become much longer when the victim was a child.

Because there are so many types of domestic violence crimes, it’s unlikely that you will be charged with just one thing. Instead, you might be charged with three to five interrelated crimes. If you’re convicted of multiple crimes at once, you must serve your sentences concurrently rather than simultaneously. This means that if one assault conviction carries a 3 year prison sentence, and another carries a 5 year prison sentence, you’ll be facing 8 years in prison.

If you’re convicted of first-degree assault, your potential prison sentence will range from 5 to 25 years in prison. You might also face a fine of several thousand dollars, with a maximum of $5,000. Another violent offense, first-degree strangulation, carries sentences of between 3.5 and 15 years, and fines up to $5,000.

Some domestic violence crimes are considered class A misdemeanors rather than felonies. A class A misdemeanor is the most serious type of misdemeanor. Offenses in this category include, but are not limited to:

  • Criminal obstruction of blood circulation or breathing
  • Second-degree menacing
  • Third-degree assault

If you’re convicted of a class A misdemeanor, you might face an imprisonment sentence with a maximum of one year. Fines can be up to $1,000.

Domestic Violence Defenses

If a person faces a disorderly conduct charge, the following defenses are viable in court:

  • In cases where non-deadly force was used to restrain or discipline a child under age 21, a justification defense
  • Self-defense justifications when the perpetrator withdrew from the conflict, but the victim continued to escalate it through force or threats
  • Dental or medical emergencies, in cases involving offenses related to strangulation
  • Mental defects or disease

Even if there’s a strong case against you, it’s important that you get the advice of an experienced attorney. Your attorney will understand the ins and outs of the criminal justice system. They can ensure your rights are upheld and speak for you to law enforcement. If you tell law enforcement that you want your lawyer, they’re legally obligated to stop questioning you. Prior to your invocation of your attorney, law enforcement officers will be trained to trick you into making incriminating statements.

A lawyer will be able to take you through the negotiation process. Oftentimes, the prosecution is willing to accept a guilty plea to a lesser charge as an alternative to trial. If you do decide the case should go to trial, your lawyer will prepare the best criminal defense and representation possible. When you’re facing such serious potential penalties, you shouldn’t leave anything to chance. Make sure your lawyer can help you get through this situation.