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Navigating serious and complex domestic violence charges

Offenses alleging domestic violence are often more complex and carry more substantial penalties then simple assault and battery offenses. The law has reacted to society's increased awareness and advocacy in areas of domestic violence over the years. As a result, we have continuously seen heightened penalties for these types of offenses.

Domestic violence laws vary from state to state. In New York, criminal courts and family courts have concurrent jurisdiction over domestic violence offenses, such as assault, sexual abuse, stalking, and strangulation. Victims of these offenses may bring civil charges in family court, criminal charges, or both civil and criminal charges simultaneously.

New York criminalizes various violent acts that may occur between family members. The law makes these crimes applicable to family or household members, which includes individuals who are related by consanguinity and affinity, are legally married or formerly married, have a child together, or have been in an intimate relationship. The punishments for these types of crimes vary greatly depending on the particular charge, the seriousness of the offense and other factors that may be taken into consideration. Penalties can range from less then a year in jail for misdemeanor offenses, such as menacing, to over 25 years in prison for felony first-degree assault offenses.

If you are charged with domestic violence, there may be a variety of defenses to these charges that you could pursue, such as justification, self-defense, or mental defect. It is essential to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you understand the complex nature of domestic violence charges, the significant potential penalties, and any possible defenses you might have.

Source: FindLaw, "New York Domestic Violence Laws," accessed March 20, 2018

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