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New York Domestic Violence FAQs

Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer in The Bronx

Lawyer in Manhattan for Clients Charged With Family Offenses

The issue of domestic violence is one that affects millions of families throughout the country, including countless households here in the greater New York City region. Family-related violence can destroy lives, ruin relationships, and cause serious long-term mental and emotional problems for victims. Unfortunately, there are also many very real problems caused by exaggerated or false allegations of domestic violence, especially if those allegations result in an arrest and criminal charges. At The Law Firm of Gregory J. Watford, Esq., PLLC, we are often asked many similar questions by individuals facing charges related to domestic violence.

Q. What Is Considered Domestic Violence in New York State?

A. There is not a criminal offense called "domestic violence" in New York state law. Instead, domestic violence refers to a variety of offenses, including assault, harassment, stalking, menacing, burglary, sexual misconduct, and others when they are committed against a family member or a member of the perpetrator's household. In such cases, these offenses may be considered "family offenses," and they can range in severity from misdemeanors to felonies.

Q. If the Police Are Called to My House for Domestic Violence, Will I Be Arrested?

A. Thanks to mandatory arrest laws in New York, there is a good chance that someone is going to be arrested if the police respond to a domestic violence call at your home. The responding officer is required to make an arrest if he or she has reasonable cause to believe that a domestic violence-related offense has been committed. This often means that the police will make an arrest without asking too many questions, and it will be up to the courts to figure out the details. If the police were called to your house, and you were arrested as a result, you need an attorney at your side to protect your rights.

Q. What Are the Criminal Penalties for Domestic Violence in New York?

A. Because domestic violence includes a number of different offenses, the penalties for a domestic violence conviction can vary dramatically depending on the circumstances. Many domestic violence offenses are misdemeanors that could result in up to 364 days in jail, but probation and other penalties are often more likely—especially for a first offense. Some offenses, however, are felonies, which could result in much longer prison sentences, as well as hefty fines. We will help you analyze the severity of the charges against you and the possible consequence that you are facing.

Q. What Does an Order of Protection Do?

A. An order of protection is intended to protect a victim of domestic violence from continued abuse. Such an order can be issued by a criminal court or family court. If you are named as the alleged abuser in an order of protection, you will be required, at the very least, to refrain from violent or threatening behavior toward the person who requested the order. Depending on the situation, you could be prohibited from making contact with that person altogether, even if you shared a home prior to the order being issued. It is extremely important to comply with the terms of an order against you, or you could face severe consequences.

Q. What Happens if I Violate an Order of Protection?

A. Violating an order of protection is a serious situation, and the consequences associated with a violation will depend on the nature of your alleged behavior. For example, if you are not permitted to contact the person named in the order, and that person initiates contact and you respond, you could face misdemeanor charges for criminal contempt in the second degree. If you violate a protective order by committing an act of violence, however, you could face felony charges for first-degree criminal contempt or aggravated criminal contempt. A protective order violation could also affect any pending family court case in which you are a party, which means your rights regarding your children could be in jeopardy.

Contact a NYC Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

If you have more specific questions about defending against domestic violence charges in New York City, contact our office. Call 646-580-6675 for a confidential consultation at The Law Firm of Gregory J. Watford, Esq., PLLC today. Our team serves clients in Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, Mineola, New City, White Plains, Mt. Vernon, New York County, Kings County, Queens County, Nassau County, Westchester County, Rockland County, and the surrounding areas.

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