Understanding Domestic Violence as a Criminal Charge

“Domestic Violence” is a term used to describe a variety of nonviolent and violent acts between individuals in the same household, family members, and those in an intimate relationship. In Westchester County, these charges are taken very seriously, so much so that the District Attorney has an entire division of Assistant District Attorneys solely dedicated to investigating and prosecuting domestic violence cases. This division is referred to as “Special Prosecutions.”

Domestic violence cases are complicated in many ways. For example, an individual accused of domestic violence can also be summoned to appear in the New York State Family Court to defend a “Family Offense Petition.” Additionally, these cases are regularly the subject of a divorce or custody proceeding, which means they can overlap between criminal and family court. When searching for an attorney to defend or prosecute domestic violence matters (the prosecution of these matters occurs in the civil court of the Family Court or Supreme Court), finding a legal professional with experience in both criminal and family court is ideal.

What Types of Crimes are Classified as Domestic Violence Crimes?

New York courts define domestic violence as a pattern of coercive tactics, which can include physical, psychological, sexual, economic, and emotional abuse perpetrated by one person against an adult intimate partner to establish and maintain power and control over the victim. Domestic violence is not gender specific, as both men and women can be the victims of domestic violence.

  • Domestic violence criminal charges include:

  • Assault

  • Stalking

  • Harassment and Aggravated Harassment

  • Menacing

  • Reckless Endangerment

  • Strangulation

  • Obstruction of Breathing

  • Criminal Mischief

  • Sexual Abuse,

  • Sexual Misconduct

  • Forcible Touching

  • Identity Theft

  • Unlawful Dissemination or publication of intimate images

  • Criminal Contempt (Violation of Orders of Protection)

Domestic violence extends into financial exploitation, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, and emotional manipulation. These are additional common issues in criminal and custody/divorce proceedings.

Domestic Violence Arrest and Conviction Consequences

If you are charged with a crime, and it is defined as a domestic violence offense, you will be held in custody and later brought before a judge. In most instances, the judge will issue an Order of Protection in favor of the complaining party. This Order of Protection can include provisions prohibiting access to the protected party, including an order barring communication with the protected party. In some instances, you can be excluded from your residence. The Order of Protection will also include the suspension of a permit to carry or possess a firearm, which can result in termination of employment if you need to carry a firearm for your job. The consequences of a domestic violence conviction include jail, probation with special probation conditions, fines, orders of protection, loss of custody, CPS investigation, loss of employment, prohibition for travel internationally, and negative impact on family and social relationships.

Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

Just as the facts of each case are unique, so are lawyers. When facing domestic violence criminal charges or investigations, you need a lawyer you can trust to understand the process, your rights, and your options going forward in your legal fight. Ideally, you want a lawyer with extensive criminal defense experience, an excellent reputation, and who you can trust to develop a sound legal strategy on your behalf and work hard to meet your legal goals. When hiring a criminal defense attorney, you need to get answers! Your attorney needs to understand your situation and be ready to fight for you on day one. Our criminal defense attorneys are former Westchester County prosecutors, published authors in criminal defense, highly reviewed by former clients, and each has decades of experience representing clients facing criminal charges.

Schedule a Consultation Today

When you need legal representation from attorneys with a sterling track record with their peers and the legal industry, look no further than Proto, Sachs & Brown, LLP. Attorneys Sachs and Proto offer free initial consultations if you are charged with a domestic violence crime in Westchester County. Call (914) 840-5104 to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in White Plains and downtown Peekskill.