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How Is A Domestic Violence Charge Defined In New York?

New York defines domestic violence by the relationship of the people who are involved in the alleged crime. They look at whether or not a spouse allegedly committed a crime against another spouse, or whether it was a parent who commits a crime against a child. Some prosecutors’ offices will look at whether it was a sibling on another sibling. I’ve seen cases of stepparents on stepchildren, or cases where it is an ex against a new spouse. Different District Attorneys’ offices define domestic violence based off the relationships of the people that are involved in a crime. There has to be some sort of familial relationship. How the particular District Attorney’s office defines a family is what leads to whether or not it leads to a domestic violence charge or whether or not it is treated outside the realm of a domestic violence charge.

How Is A Domestic Violence Charge Determined To Be Either A Misdemeanor Or A Felony?

Domestic violence is more or less an umbrella that cases are put under, but in Westchester domestic violence cases tend to be assigned to a domestic violence Court and are handled by prosecutors who mainly handle domestic violence cases. The Integrated Domestic Violence Court it in the White Plains Courthouse and handles domestic violence cases that arise throughout Westchester County, including Port Chester, White Plains, Yonkers and Greenburgh, among others. The specific charges that individuals are facing aren’t defined by the fact that they are domestic violence charges. If somebody were charged with assaulting their wife, they would be facing domestic violence assault charges. The terminology would be used to define their relationship. It would have all of the same factors as regular assault charges as to whether or not something would be a misdemeanor or a felony. So whether a weapon was used and the extent of the injuries that the victim suffered.

However, in terms of domestic violence, they are all additional felonies. One of the more common felonies that our Westchester domestic violence defense lawyers see in domestic violence scenario is strangulation, which is when somebody restricts the breathing capacity of another person to the extent where that person passes out. Another typical domestic violence charge you will see is the assault with a weapon domestic violence charge, or a repeated failure to abide by orders of protection. This means an ex-spouse who habitually violates the court orders directing that person to stay away from another person could be charged as a felony, as a result of the failure to honor the order of protection that was issued by the court.

Does The Alleged Victim Have To Show Physical Injury In A Domestic Violence Case?

The alleged victim does not necessarily have to show physical injury in a domestic violence case. For example, an alleged victim merely telling an officer that they were punched in the face is sufficient to charge somebody with assault in New York State. That is a sufficient basis in the eyes of the police to make an arrest. This leads to issues where people can be arrested when there is a significant lack of evidence that an assault ever occurred. When that happens, the individual who has been accused of these charges has a built in defense where they can show the lack of injury. Injury is a necessary component for a conviction in an assault charge. The lack of injury can be very damaging to the prosecution’s case and can be very fruitful for the defense. However, police departments typically will make an arrest, even if they can’t substantiate the injury. Since our White Plains domestic violence lawyers also handle personal injury cases, we know a lot about medicine and can effectively challenge whether an injury rises to the level of an assault and through our knowledge of medicine, can expose when an injury is being fabricated to justify an assault charge.

What Happens If The Alleged Victim Recants Allegations Of Assault?

It is not uncommon for alleged victims of domestic violence to recant their previous accusations against the defendant, and that can have a significant impact on a case. Our Westchester domestic violence defense lawyers know that is extremely difficult to prove a domestic violence case if the alleged victim does not wish to cooperate with law enforcement and refuses to testify. In that case, you have a very good chance of getting an extremely favorable disposition, and possibly even dismissal of the charges. Our White Plains domestic violence lawyers have even seen instances where an alleged victims reach out to us directly to tell us that they have spoken to the District Attorney’s office and explained that their initial account of what happened was less than truthful.

If that is the situation, it can be very good case for the Westchester criminal defense attorney and for the defendant, in terms of getting the most favorable outcome for their charges and for their case. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the case will be dismissed. The District Attorney’s office is not required to dismiss a case if the alleged victim changes his or her story and says that the initial account they gave to law enforcement was inaccurate.

Read on to find out about Domestic Violence In New York. Call the law offices of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC for a FREE Initial Consultation at (914) 574-8330 and get the information and legal answers you are seeking.

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