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What Happens When Someone Reports a Domestic Violence Case in NYC?

 Posted on July 23, 2020 in Criminal Defense

New York City criminal defense attorney domestic violence

In New York State, “domestic violence” is an umbrella term used to define a wide range of crimes between members of the same family or household. Although the term domestic violence is used broadly, there is no mention of it in New York State law. Domestic violence, being a broad subject, applies to any of a person’s actions intended to control or harm a family member or someone with whom he or she is in an intimate relationship. New York courts refer to these crimes as “family offenses,” which all have corresponding definitions according to the Penal Law. These crimes include but are not limited to:

  • Assault

  • Stalking

  • Harassment

  • Reckless Endangerment

  • Strangulation/Criminal Obstruction of Breathing or Circulation 

  • Disorderly Conduct

  • Sexual Abuse/Sexual Misconduct/Forcible Touching

  • Identity Theft

  • Grand Larceny

  • Coercion

Mandatory Arrest

States have different procedures for what police officers are required to do when they answer a domestic violence call. New York is a “mandatory arrest” state, so officers are required to arrest the alleged offender if he or she committed a felony, disobeyed an order of protection if there was a stay-away order in place, or committed a family offense crime that breaks the terms of an order of protection. The only instances in which New York police officers do not have to make an arrest is if the alleged victim does not have an order of protection, and the accused abuser only committed a misdemeanor. 

Although it is common in some states for law enforcement to ask an alleged victim for their interest in pressing charges, that is not the case in New York. Arrests do not have to take place immediately; police officers will search for the alleged offender if he or she leaves the scene before they arrive.

Temporary and Final Orders of Protection

To help protect victims of domestic violence, the District Attorney will ask a judge to grant a Temporary Order of Protection. This typically happens within 24 hours of the alleged abuser’s arrest so that if he or she makes bail or is released until a future court date, there is already a legal safeguard for the alleged victim. If and when an abuser is convicted, a judge can issue a final Order of Protection that has a broad scope, even protecting the victim if he or she is out of state.

Contact a Manhattan Domestic Violence Attorney

Domestic abuse cases can be complicated, so if you are facing charges for a family violence offense, it is essential to have legal representation to protect your rights in a court of law. Attorney Gregory J. Watford has 25 years of experience in the criminal justice system as well as more than 10 years in law enforcement. He will use his knowledge to build a vigorous defense on your behalf to clear your record. As a skilled New York City criminal defense lawyer, Attorney Watford will do everything in his power to reduce your charges or dismiss them altogether. Learn more by calling our Manhattan office today at 646-580-6675 to schedule a private consultation.




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