Domestic Violence Defense
Cases involving domestic violence are taken very seriously. In many ways, those arrested for a New York domestic violence offense face an uphill battle from the very beginning. In fact, the moment a family member or intimate partner tells a police officer that a crime was committed, most New York police departments require the officer to arrest you. Such a policy gives little meaning to the presumption of innocence.
New York Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
Skilled Criminal Defense Attorneys Handle All Types of New York Domestic Violence Cases
At Brill Legal Group, we defend men and women charged with serious New York domestic violence cases. We know that cases involving family offenses are emotional, and that passions can run high. Often, both sides rely on words and actions that they wish they could take back. Our dedicated team of New York criminal defense attorneys knows how to skillfully guide clients through the many thorny and potentially complex issues these cases present.
Domestic Violence Statistics
- In 2018, there were 341,909 reports of domestic violence and sexual violence in New York.
- In 2018, New York courts issued 228,769 orders of protection.
- Just 18 percent of the orders of protection issued in New York City involved intimate partners.
- In 2018, there were over 10,000 prosecutions for violations of protective orders.
- Approximately half of all New York homicide offenses involve intimate partners or family members.
- Those who have been convicted of a stalking offense are prohibited from obtaining a firearm.
- 80 percent of domestic violence cases are filed as misdemeanors.
- Several studies have shown that fewer domestic violence cases end up going to trial, either because the case ends up not being prosecuted or the defendant accepts a plea agreement.
- One-third of all violent felonies are charged as domestic violence crimes.
- Of those cases that go to trial, prosecutions in domestic violence sexual assault cases result in a 98 percent conviction rate. In comparison, non-domestic violence sexual assault cases resulted in a conviction just 87 percent of the time.
What Constitutes a New York Domestic Violence Offense?
For the most part, domestic violence cases are labeled as such based on who the alleged victim is in relation to the defendant. In New York, courts refer to domestic violence charges as family offenses. A family offense is a crime that is committed against “members of the same family or household,” even though in reality the definition is far broader than that. More specifically, this includes:
- Blood relatives
- People who are legally married
- People who used to be married, regardless of whether they live in the same home
- People who have a child together, regardless of whether they were ever married or in a long-term relationship
- People who were involved in an intimate relationship
Often, when someone reports an incident of domestic violence, they will seek an order of protection. Typically, these orders are obtained through the family court; however, a criminal court can issue a temporary order of protection. Orders of protection are issued in certain cases, including:
- Assault or attempted assault
- Identity theft
- Reckless endangerment
- Forcible touching
- Sexual abuse
- Harassment or aggravated harassment
- Sexual misconduct
- Unlawful dissemination or publication of an intimate image
- Disorderly conduct
Any of these charges can be the basis for criminal domestic violence charges. By their nature, domestic violence cases involve family members. As a result, these cases bring up a lot of emotion. In fact, it is common for tempers to cool down over time and for witnesses to either admit that the allegations were not truthful or exaggerated or lose interest in cooperating with the authorities. However, once the police get involved, and a case is filed, a witness does not have the ability to withdraw the case. That decision is up to the prosecution, and while the prosecutor may listen to what the witness says, it will not necessarily mean the case will be withdrawn.
At Brill Legal Group, we have assembled a team of dedicated, passionate New York criminal defense attorneys who are skilled at exposing the bias, exaggeration and outright lies that are often the basis of domestic violence allegations. We skillfully handle felony and misdemeanor domestic violence cases on behalf of clients throughout the New York City and Long Island area.
Helping Clients Deal with New York Orders of Protection
When someone is arrested with a New York domestic violence case, a criminal court may issue a temporary protection order. Temporary protection orders, however, are not required in every situation, and often judges have discretion in when to use them. However, in many domestic violence cases, the prosecution will attempt to convince the judge that a temporary order of protection is necessary, and a judge may issue such an order as a condition of pre-trial release.
New York temporary orders of protection vary; however, under state law, they can require a defendant to:
- Stay away from the complaining witness’s home, school or place of employment;
- Stay away from certain witness’ home, school or place of employment;
- Permit a parent or another party with visitation rights to visit any minor children in the defendant’s custody;
- Refrain from committing any family offense;
- Refrain from acts that put family members at an unreasonable risk of harm;
- Permit designated parties to enter the defendant’s home to retrieve the personal belongings of family members;
If a court orders an order of protection – either permanent or temporary – and the defendant violates the order, additional criminal charges may be filed. In this way, orders of protection increase someone’s likelihood of being arrested again on separate charges. Such charges may include victim intimidation charges or other serious felony offenses. Thus, to reduce the chances of future issues, it is crucial to minimize any conditions contained in an order or protection.
At Brill Legal Group, we understand the interference that a temporary order or protection can have on your family. For example, frequently, those facing family violence allegations have to find new housing, leave their jobs, and are unable to see their children as often as they would like. Our team of experienced attorneys has a firm grasp on the law as it pertains to temporary orders of protection. Not only that, but because these orders largely allow a judge to exercise their own discretion, we will be prepared to present a convincing case for minimal restrictions, allowing you to continue living your life as best as possible.
We also have extensive experience representing clients who are facing criminal contempt charges related to the violation of a New York order of protection. To the surprise of many of our clients, these are very serious cases that can carry the potential for a sentence of incarceration. These violations may also be the basis for a violation of probation or parole.
Changes to the New York Bail System May Not Help Those Arrested on Domestic Violence Charges
Often the first issue on many people’s minds after being arrested is whether they will be able to post bail. Staying out of custody during the pre-trial process is imperative to maintaining your way of life. Additionally, studies have shown that defendants who are not in custody at the time of trial end up with better results. At Brill Legal Group, one of the first things we work toward is getting our clients out of jail pending trial.
In January 2020, New York’s bail reform law went into effect. Before the new bail rules, New York courts relied primarily on cash bail or secured bonds. While many of the changes that were implemented were designed to ensure that more people were not incarcerated unnecessarily before trial, those charged with New York domestic violence offenses may not realize the benefit. Below are a few essential changes to the New York bail laws:
Misdemeanor offenses: Pre-trial detention without bail is eliminated in all misdemeanor cases. Cash bail is also eliminated except for misdemeanors involving sexual offenses and those involving criminal contempt charges for violating an order of protection in a domestic violence case.
Non-violent felony offenses: For most non-violent felonies, both cash bail and pre-trial detention without bail have been eliminated, with the following exceptions:
- Felony criminal contempt charges involving allegations of domestic violence
- Certain sex offenses
- Charges related to terrorism
- Some offenses against children
- Conspiracy to commit murder
- Witness tampering or intimidation
Violent felony offenses: Both cash bail and pre-trial detention without bail are still allowed in most violent felonies, with the exception of certain burglary and robbery offenses.
While the New York bail reform laws will help many arrested on serious charges avoid pre-trial incarceration, those facing domestic violence allegations will often fit within the exception. Prosecutors will usually ask for bail on qualifying domestic violence cases, and judges will often decide to set bail based on the prosecution claim that the defendant is a threat to the life of the complainant. Thus, having an experienced New York criminal defense attorney by your side is imperative to ensure that, if bail is set, that it is fair. Under the new bail reform laws, judges must consider other, less restrictive alternatives to pre-trial incarceration. At Brill Legal Group, we understand how to effectively advocate for your release under the guidelines and will do everything we can to ensure that you can fight your case from the street.
Plea Agreements in New York Domestic Violence Cases
Many New York domestic violence cases do not end up going to trial. While some cases are withdrawn by the prosecution, often, the reason a case does not go to trial is that the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for a negotiated sentence. This can provide certain defendants with the certainty they desire. Of course, plea agreements are not the answer for every case, as it is a highly personal decision to plead guilty to serious domestic violence charges.
At Brill Legal Group, we have assembled a team of skilled negotiators who have extensive experience working with prosecutors to secure our clients’ favorable plea agreements. While every case is unique and requires its own approach, we routinely create compelling mitigation reports, allowing the prosecution to more fully understand our client as an individual, rather than as a “the defendant.” Our firm’s founder, attorney Peter Brill, is a former prosecutor with over 20 years of experience handling New York criminal cases on both the defense and prosecution side. Throughout this time, he has come to understand how prosecutors think and what motivates them to make fair, reasonable offers for his clients facing serious allegations of domestic abuse. Our promise to you is that we will put the full extent of knowledge and skill into your case to get you the results you are comfortable with. And as experienced trial attorneys, if the prosecution refuses to make a fair offer, we will not hesitate to take your case to trial.
Contact us today for a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. 888-315-9841
Brill Legal Group Delivers Results
Our client was charged by the Nassau County District Attorney with Aggravated Harassment against his estranged wife in Nassau County District Court. After a bench trial before the Hon. Norman St. George, he was found Not Guilty of all charges.
Contact a New York Criminal Defense Attorney for Help
If you are facing New York domestic violence allegations, contact Brill Legal Group. At our New York criminal defense firm, we represent clients who are facing all types of serious crimes, including domestic assault, violations of domestic orders of protection, stalking, child abuse and more. From the moment you allow us to work on your case, we will zealously defend you at every stage of the process. We understand that having serious charges hang over your head makes it difficult to live your life as you normally would, and we do everything we can to minimize the effects that the case has on your life, before, during, and after the trial. We offer free initial consultations to all prospective clients. To learn more about how we can help you defend your freedom against the allegations you are facing, call us today at 888-315-9841. We have offices conveniently located throughout the New York City area, including in Manhattan, Suffolk County and Nassau County.