Domestic Violence Charges in NYC
New York City Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been accused of domestic violence, your entire future may be on the line. A domestic violence accusation may quickly escalate to formal charges and a conviction if you do not have a competent New York City criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights and interests. You may face fines, imprisonment and even loss of custody if you are in the midst of a divorce or custody battle. Understanding the definition of domestic violence and how these cases work can help you get a better idea of what to do if you are accused or arrested.
What is domestic violence?
The general definition of domestic violence is some form of physical, emotional or sexual abuse between spouses, family members, people who live together or are in a romantic relationship with one another. The New York State Unified Court System 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.
Domestic violence offenses may be charged as misdemeanors or felonies under New York Penal Code, depending on the severity of the offense and the specific law that applies. A person may face criminal charges based upon a single event or a pattern of alleged abuse. As such, a defendant may face time in jail or prison and may face additional restrictions if convicted, such as the loss of the right to own a firearm. A person who is accused of domestic violence may also have an order of protection served on him or her, which will restrict the accused from coming into contact with or even coming within a certain distance of the alleged victim.
The Challenges of Dealing with Domestic Violence Accusations
Domestic violence is a grave issue, described by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a "serious, preventable public health problem." This does not necessarily mean, however, that every domestic violence charge stems from a true act of violence or abuse. The amount of political and other attention that domestic abuse has received through the years has resulted in the implementation of criminal procedures that could lead to unfounded charges of physical, sexual or emotional abuse.
The fact that women are most frequently the victims of domestic violence may also lead to a certain bias when it comes to these allegations. A law enforcement officer called to the scene of a domestic dispute may be too quick to side with the woman in the relationship, but what if the situation was actually simply a disagreement that got out of hand, or what if the woman wanted to take revenge against the man by accusing him of something he did not do? False accusations may fly in the heat of the moment, causing all too serious consequences.
When the police are called and arrive at the scene of an alleged domestic dispute, they must make decisions based on their observations and what they are told by the parties present. Placing the safety of the alleged victims first, they may decide to make an arrest based upon what they see and are told. Once an alleged domestic violence offender is arrested and booked, it may be extremely difficult to have the accusations dropped. It will no longer be in the hands of the alleged victim to decide whether to press charges. The case will now lie in the hands of the District Attorney, who works for the government. This prosecuting attorney will have the power to decide whether to press charges, and even if the alleged victim does not want to proceed, the prosecutor may decide to move forward.
Make sure you work with a competent attorney who is not afraid to fight for your rights in the face of domestic violence charges. Contact a New York City domestic violence defense attorney at Musa-Obregon & Associates today.