Domestic Violence in New York
Domestic violence is defined as violence or another form of abuse that occurs in a domestic setting (marriage or cohabitation). In other words, domestic violence is a pattern of abusive or coercive behaviors used by one partner in an intimate relationship that causes an imbalance of power and control. Abusive behaviors include but are not limited to physical assault and sexual abuse.
Unlike other states, New York does not have a separate statute for the crime of domestic violence. Instead, the criminal justice system in New York uses the term “family offense,” which encompasses several criminal offenses:
- Aggravated harassment
- Endangering the welfare of a child
- Criminal mischief
The above-mentioned family offenses can occur between members of the same household or family, including:
- Members who are legally married
- Members who share a child together
- People who were formerly married
- People related by affinity or blood
- Unrelated people who live together
- People who were in an intimate relationship
Possible Consequences and Penalties
New York courts take accusations of domestic violence very seriously, which is why the possible penalties associated with family offenses are so severe. Depending on the nature and circumstances of the offense, domestic violence can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony in Kingston and elsewhere in New York.
In addition to incarceration and fines, individuals convicted of domestic violence offenses may face the following types of punishment:
- Community service;
- Treatment programs;
- Anger management classes; and
- The loss of certain rights or privileges, including loss of firearm rights, loss of parenting privileges, and deportation.
Defenses to Domestic Violence-Related Charges
Since each case is unique, the appropriate defense strategy depends on the circumstances of the offense. As a skilled criminal defense attorney in Kingston, New York, I have helped hundreds of people get their domestic violence-related charges dropped or reduced with the following defenses:
- False accusation. It is not uncommon for individuals to be falsely accused of domestic violence by their spouses and domestic partners. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you get the charges dismissed by proving that the accusations are false and baseless.
- Self-defense. If the accuser attacked or endangered your child and you had to defend yourself or your child, you might be able to claim self-defense to avoid punishment for alleged domestic violence.
- Mental illness or disease. Depending on the circumstances of the offense, you might be able to use the “mental illness” defense to fight against domestic violence charges. You could raise the defense if you have a mental condition that caused you to engage in allegedly violent behavior. You could also use the defense if the accuser has a mental illness.
- Lack of intent. If you did not have the intent to cause injury or harm to the accuser, you cannot be convicted of domestic violence.