Just a generation or two ago, domestic violence was something that was largely swept under the carpet in the United States. Even situations where the victim was in serious, imminent danger from an abuser were often ignored by law enforcement as well as by family and neighbors. Today, however, the pendulum has swung to the other side, making it possible to be arrested for domestic violence without even actually touching an alleged victim. If you have been accused of domestic violence in Queens, you need to understand your rights as an accused as well as some of the potential consequences of a conviction.
The term "domestic violence" doesn't refer to a single law or statute. Instead, it is a category of criminal offenses. A prosecuting attorney could decide to charge an alleged perpetrator with a wide variety of criminal offenses, such as battery, rape, stalking, or violation of a protective order. What makes a criminal offense a "domestic violence" crime is the relationship between the alleged perpetrator and victim. For example, if you hit a co-worker, you could be charged with battery; however, if you hit your spouse, it would be considered domestic battery because of your relationship. In New York, a crime is considered domestic if the parties are related by blood or marriage, or they are in an intimate relationship or have a child in common. Some of the more common offenses that are charged as domestic violence include:
- reckless endangerment
- criminal mischief
- sexual misconduct
- forcible touching
- sexual abuse
These are also actions that can serve as the basis for an order of protection, also referred to as a "family offense petition" in New York.
Conviction for any domestic violence offense can have far reaching consequences beyond those imposed by the court. For example, you may be prohibited from owning a firearm because of a domestic violence conviction, which also means you cannot enlist in the Armed Services. You may also be prevented or restricted from visitation with minor children if you are convicted of a domestic violence offense. For all of these reasons, it is crucial that you consult with the experienced attorneys at Simon & Gilman, LLP as soon as possible if you are charged with a domestic violence crime in New York.