Defending Against a Domestic Violence Case
A domestic violence charge is a serious matter which can have drastic consequences impacting every aspect of your life. It is important to recognize the gravity of the situation and work with an attorney with the specific experience necessary who will vigorously defend your rights and protect your future.
What Are Domestic Violence Charges in New York?
New York does not have separate charges for domestic violence cases. Instead, other crimes such as assault, harassment, stalking, coercion, sexual abuse, larceny, and more can be charged as family offenses if the crime allegedly was perpetrated against an intimate partner. New York defines intimate partners as:
- Someone you are married or engaged to or are dating
- A spouse you are separated or divorced from
- Someone you share a child with
- A family member by genetics or marriage, including cousins, siblings, parents, and in-law relations
- A person you live with now or lived with in the past even, if you are not related to them or are not in a relationship with them
This list includes same-sex couples, seniors, and children if they fall into one of the categories above.
Penalties for Domestic Violence Convictions
Conviction of a domestic violence charge can lead to imprisonment of up to 25 years in jail as well as fines. You may also:
- Lose your firearms license
- Be forced to move out of a home you share with the accuser
- Lose custody of your children
- Lose your green card or have your immigration status changed
- Be terminated from your job
A domestic violence conviction can significantly impact the rest of your life.
Six Possible Defenses
There are a variety of defenses your attorney may consider if your case has to go to trial, which includes:
- You didn’t do it. You didn’t do anything you are accused of, and the incident didn’t happen. Period. The accuser has falsely accused you.
- Someone else did it. You have been wrongly accused of something that someone else did.
- You did some or all of it, but it was self-defense. You had to protect yourself against an attack and had no choice but to defend yourself.
- There is not enough evidence to prove you did it. It is up to the DA to present evidence that shows you did it. If there isn’t enough evidence, you cannot be convicted.
- There was police misconduct. Officers intimidated you or racially profiled you.
- You were entrapped. The police or other officials encouraged you to undertake behavior that created a crime.
A skilled attorney experienced in domestic violence defense will be able to analyze your case and construct the best possible defense to protect your rights.
Work with Your Attorney to Defend Yourself
Your attorney will develop a strategy that may include negotiations with the DA for a plea or a trial plan. You can assist with your case by:
- Be completely honest with your attorney about every element of your case. Your attorney needs to have all the information to mount the best possible defense for you. It is never a good idea to hold back because even if you believe you are guilty, there may be legal elements you don’t understand that could lead to your being cleared of all charges.
- Take photos of your body. If you are alleged to have struck or attacked someone, your hands and your body would show signs of this – bruises, scratches, cuts, etc. Photos will show this is not the case and corroborate your truth.
- Review the arrest record. If there are inaccuracies in it, be sure to share this with your attorney.
- Create a witness list. A list of witnesses who saw the alleged incident can be extremely helpful in providing testimony of what actually happened. If there was no incident at all and you are being wrongly accused, witnesses who were nearby (such as a neighbor or roommate) can testify to the fact that they saw and heard nothing at the time of the alleged attack, which they would likely have heard if it actually happened.
- Create a clear timeline. It is helpful for your attorney to know exactly where you were and what you did on the date of the alleged incident so that they can gather evidence (such as security videos or receipts) that verify your timeline.
- Avoiding contact with the accuser. You likely have an order of protection in place. It may direct you to stay away from the accuser and/or it may specify certain behaviors you are to avoid. No matter what your order says, it is in your best interest to avoid the accuser to prevent any accusations that you have violated the order. If you share children, you should spend time with them if permitted by the order, but have another adult with you when you exchange them, if possible, to avoid false accusations.
- Avoiding further arrests. Any arrest, even one not at all related to the domestic violence charge will complicate your case and not only affect a possible plea, but it can impact the outcome of your case.
The repercussions of a domestic violence charge are severe. Santana Law Firm is ready to zealously defend you and protect all of your rights in your domestic violence case. Never assume you have no defense or that you should just deal directly with the DA yourself. When you are facing domestic violence charges, you need a skillful lawyer who can garner all of the evidence available to get you the best possible plea deal or trial outcome. Your entire future hangs in the balance, so don’t wait and call us today at 212.448.0055 to make your appointment.