Being convicted of a domestic violence charge can have long-lasting negative effects on your ability to obtain employment, own a firearm or even see your children. If you have been charged with the crime of assault or battery against a family member, you must meet with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure your rights are protected.
Domestic violence and abuse crimes
Domestic violence is a specific type of assaultive behavior which is directed toward members of a person’s family or household. It generally includes spouses, parents, children, romantic partners, step-family members, grandparents, and grandchildren. Allegations of assault against a neighbor, plutonic friend or co-worker cannot be categorized as domestic violence even if the parties maintain a close relationship.
The term domestic violence refers to several criminal acts when committed against any of the above-listed family members. One may face domestic violence penalties as a result of committing the crimes of offensive touching, menacing, sexual harassment, trespass, criminal mischief, sexual assault, terroristic threatening or reckless endangerment. In other words, if the prosecution can demonstrate that you committed these crimes against a family member, the penalties and sentence may be enhanced under applicable domestic violence laws.
Penalties for domestic violence
Judgement will be mostly concerned with ensuring the safety of the alleged victim. Depending upon the relationship of the parties, the judge may order a temporary or permanent no-contact order. If the complainant in your case is the parent of your children, this could result in a difficult situation in terms of custody and visitation. Individuals convicted of domestic violence also have difficulty obtaining or maintaining primary placement of their children and may even lose visitation rights as a result of the conviction.
In addition to the civil penalties described above, one could face an enhanced incarceration period due to present aggravating factors. Including loss of right to to see family for weeks or months, restrictions on continuation of employment and others. Domestic violence defendants are not permitted to own or possess firearms and many are forced to undergo lengthy anger management courses and counseling as a provision of their sentences.
Given the life-altering nature of a domestic violence conviction, it is imperative to retain an experienced attorney who can work to protect your freedom and relationship with your family.
If you have been accused of domestic violence, call The Law Offices of Joseph S. Gulino, Jr., Esq., PLLC for a free consultation
Protecting your rights in family and criminal court
Charges of domestic abuse are often complicated as hearings may involve two different courts, family court, and criminal court. Both courts have different functions and can impact your life in different ways. Family courts are responsible for issuing orders of protection or restraining orders. This court may do so even if you are not present. Many people feel that they can handle this on their own and hire a lawyer for criminal court, but it is important to have an attorney every step of the way.
The criminal court usually defers to the judgment of family court. Therefore, an experienced domestic abuse defense attorney should represent your interests at the family court stage. This way, even if the family court issues a restraining order, it may be easier to get the order modified in criminal court.
When do you need to hire a Westchester domestic violence lawyer?
Here are some things you need to keep in mind when you hire a domestic violence lawyer:
- If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, and you fail to hire a domestic violence lawyer, the consequences could be devastating for all involved. You may be looking at extensive jail time, a felony conviction, and unnecessary court fees and costs that you otherwise would not have to incur.
- In New York, one of the first things that will happen with an accusation of domestic violence – especially in the case of a cohabitation and/or marriage situation – is that the accused party will receive a full stay-away order of protection (restraining order), and not be allowed to have any contact with minor children who live in the home. This can be especially devastating for the accused. For that reason, you’ll need to hire a domestic violence lawyer the minute you’ve been accused – or, worse, arrested – of the crime. The Law Offices of Joseph S. Gulino, Jr., Esq., PLLC is the Westchester domestic violence lawyer you can believe in to handle even the worst cases.