Criminal Defense • Disciplinary Investigations & Hearings

Domestic Assault Charges

New York Domestic Assault Defense Attorneys

Being arrested and charged for domestic assault in New York can be a very terrible day for you. Often these incidents involve both parties being violent, but the male in the partnership is the one that is arrested and taken away to jail. Although, there are certainly horrific examples of men domestically abusing women, and those men should go to jail, there are instances where you may not be guilty of the assault charges. There are several things that you can do to help your chances of getting through this process with the charges either dropped, lowered and/or no jail time.

The allegations of domestic violence carry a social stigma and can have a negative impact on your life, your relationships and your employment. Depending on the circumstances, you can lose the right to reside in your own home or be restricted in your communication with your family and those around you, including for seemingly minor infringements such as violating a restraining order. It is extremely important to have a domestic abuse defense lawyer on your side.

There are several versions of domestic abuse that one can be charged with. Which charge you will be subjected to depends upon many factors like who was involved and how serious anyone was injured. Here are some of the actions that can get you charged with domestic assault in New York:

  • Felony and misdemeanor sexually related assault;
  • Causing the victim to fear harassment or bodily injury;
  • Causing, or attempting to cause harassment or bodily injury;
  • Felony assault;
  • Inflicting serious bodily injury (felony);
  • Threatening the victim with bodily injury;
  • Kidnapping;
  • Attempted murder and murder;
  • Stalking;
  • Reckless endangerment.

Once the police are called into a situation where someone alleges actions that could be considered domestic abuse under New York law, most likely someone is going to be arrested and taken to jail. This could happen even if the alleged victim does not actually want the alleged abuser taken out of the home. In many instances, police want to separate the two individuals merely so that the scene can be deescalated. Being taken away in police custody can be a very serious situation and can lead to serious consequences to the person arrested such as loss of employment, penalties and jail time. To protect your freedom and your rights, there are things that you can and should do if you are arrested for any kind of domestic abuse. Here are the most important:

  • Remain silent: Just like if anyone is arrested for any type of crime, if you are arrested on a charge of domestic abuse, invoke your right to be silent. If you are asked any questions by law enforcement other than your name, age and social security number, tell them you are invoking your right to remain silent and that you want to speak to an attorney. Get on the record that you are affirming their right not to answer any questions. The reason for this is that it will protect you going into the future. fWhen you talk to the police, you are limiting the options your experienced domestic abuse defense lawyer has in crafting a defense to the charges. The more information the police have from you, the less your attorney can help.
  • Remain civil with the police: Attempt to stay as calm and collected as possible with the police no matter how they treat you or no matter what they say. First, if you are agitated and yelling, etc., you may slip up and say something that can incriminate you in the future, even if you did not mean it. Also, depending upon how agitated you are, the police could file even more charges against you in how you are interacting with them. Further, they will be recording everything you do and your actions could end up in a report and used against you as evidence in front of a jury, which might help convict you.
  • Contact an experienced New York domestic abuse defense attorney: The best chance you have in defeating the charges or making it so there is less of an effect on your job, employment status, bank account and freedom, is to hire a criminal defense attorney who has experience defending people who are accused of domestic abuse. The police and prosecutors will have a team of people on their side working hard to get you convicted. You should have a team on your side fighting for your rights and trying to lesson the impact to your life, as best as possible. An experienced attorney and their team will immediately begin to gather evidence, secure recorded witness testimony and anything else that might help. Your attorney can also be the conduit to the police and prosecution, providing them with exculpatory evidence that might get the charges either lessoned or dropped altogether.
  • Collect evidence: Work with your attorney and their investigators to identify and collect evidence where you can. Your attorney will explain to you the charges filed against you and will note what types of evidence might be helpful. Make sure your attorney knows the circumstances that led to the incident and any other helpful information. Your attorney should have all of the information necessary to be able to recreate the incident in order to prove either innocence, self-dense or other defense.
  • Follow the rules placed on you by the court: Make sure to follow all of the rules that are placed upon you by the Judge. Do not contact the alleged victim if the Judge declares it. Attend any counseling or classes such as anger management classes that the Judge orders. If the Judge believes there is a drug or alcohol problem that is involved in the incident, make sure you seek whatever treatment options that the Judge requires. If you are offered an opportunity to use an alternative to jail program, perform everything that that program requires for you to successfully graduate from the program in order to avoid jail time. If you fail to perform within these programs, the agreement can be revoked and you could be sent to jail.

Those were all of the things that you should do. Here are some very important things that you should not do:

  • Do not sign any written statement: This is similar to not answering any questions from police or prosecutors. Often, the police will interview a suspect and have them write out a statement and sign it, all without the counsel of their own lawyer to advise them. The police will say that the outcome will be better for you if you volunteer information and cooperate. However, all of those things can still happen even if you have an attorney there to represent you. You can still cooperate and provide information, but you will do so with someone on your side, protecting your rights. Because making a statement without counsel can be a dangerous thing. Any written statement can be used against you at a later date, particularly in trial. Do not give a statement unless you have an experienced lawyer on your side.
  • Do not lie to the police: It is a crime to lie to the police or prosecutors. You have the right to remain silent and you should exercise that right. However, if and when you feel compelled to speak, only speak the truth and do not give false information to the police. Doing so will make matters worse. If you are caught in a lie to the police, not only can they charge you with extra crimes, the fact that you lied will cause everyone to question everything else you say, especially in front of a jury.
  • Be careful what you say on a jail phone: Jail phones are not private and can be monitored and recorded. If you say something that is questionable over the phone due to you being upset or scared, then it can be used against you, even if the statement might be taken out of context. Therefore, do not say anything on a jail phone that might incriminate you in the abuse charge.
  • Do not violate any bond conditions or conditions of release: When you are arrested on a domestic abuse charge, you will be brought before a judge. In most instances, you will probably be released on bond and/or with certain conditions placed upon you. However, if you violate those conditions, then your bond will be revoked and you will be sent back to jail. In a lot of domestic violence cases, conditions are placed on you, for example, having no contact with the alleged victim, not returning to the marital home or not possessing any firearms. Again, if any of these conditions have been violated, the judge can immediately order you back to the jail until the trial on the mater.

Legal Risks in Domestic Abuse Cases

If you are arrested and charged with domestic abuse, these charges have to be taken seriously because the ramifications of the charges can not only affect your freedom, but can also affect you for many years. Not only might you lose your current job, but you might have difficulty getting future employment because you now have a criminal record.

The penalties for domestic violence vary depending upon the nature and severity of the incident, the amount of injuries involved, as well as, if there are any reasonable arguments for a defense, self-defense. If a person is convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, such as disorderly conduct, they can expect to spend anywhere from 15 days to a year in jail, and they will be expected to pay a fine of up to $1,000.

If a person is convicted of a class B, C, D, or E felony charge, they can spend between four and 25 years in prison, and be forced to pay a fine ranging from $5,000 to $30,000. Individuals who are convicted of class A felonies can spend the rest of their lives behind bars.

The lawyers and staff at the Brill Legal Group, P.C. are here for you. We do not judge our clients — we help them. No matter what crime you are charged with, our firm delivers smart, aggressive defense aimed at preserving your freedom and insulating you from heavy-handed punishment. We have a team of dedicated professionals that will fight for your rights. There is no downside in contacting us to get your questions answered in clear and simple language. Call toll-free at 888-315-9841. The initial consultation is free.

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