Domestic violence charges are always serious charges, but due to several aspects of New York law, domestic violence can be especially damaging. Furthermore, judges often issue orders of protection, that, if violated, can lead to additional charges. If you have been charged with a domestic violence charge in New York, you will need to mount an aggressive criminal defense attorney from the very beginning to have the best possible chance of beating the charges against you. Our office can also assist with negotiating surrenders to the police, prior to arrests being made.
Heiferman and Associates, PLLC is an aggressive and dedicated criminal defense law firm that handles domestic violence cases in New York City, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, and New Jersey. Justin Heiferman is a former prosecutor with extensive experience defending clients against all types of domestic violence charges. His experience on both sides of domestic violence cases makes a big difference in getting the best possible outcome in your case. Heiferman & Associates prides itself on great relationships with District Attorney Offices to provide our clients with the best possible outcome for their cases. If you are facing a domestic violence charge, contact our office as soon as possible to fight the charges against you and protect your rights.
Domestic Violence Charges
Domestic violence charges involve conduct against members of the same family or household or with whom you have an “intimate relationship.” This includes spouses, ex-spouses, domestic partners, anyone you have a child with, and even in-laws, parents, and grandparents. It can extend to people you are casually dating or in a relationship with, even if you are not living together.
The way in which your charges may be brought can vary. You might be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. It might be charged in a special family court or not. The charges could include, among others:
- Menacing (preventing 911 calls)
- Domestic violence (Family Court)
Depending on the charges you could be facing a wide range of penalties under New York law. For instance, conviction of a violent felony offense such as first-degree assault potentially carries a sentence of 5 to 25 years in prison or a fine of up to $5,000. First-degree strangulation – another violent felony offense – potentially will result in imprisonment of 3 to 15 years or a similar fine of up to $5,000.
Offenses including third-degree assault, second-degree menacing, and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation up to 1 year and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
If you have been charged, call (or e-mail) our office to find out exactly what the possible minimum and maximum penalties are for the charges you are facing.
Domestic Violence Can Lead To Mandatory Arrest
New York is now a “mandatory arrest” state. This means that in almost every case, once the police are called to a residence on the report of a possible domestic violence call, someone will be arrested. Even if the caller has changed his/her mind or even tells the officers that they made up the charge, New York law requires an arrest in almost every case.
It is extremely important, given this fact, that you do not make any statements about your involvement to the police. It is next to impossible for you to be able to “talk your way out of” getting arrested. By making statements to the police, you will likely only be hurting your case in your attempt to avoid arrest. That is why hiring an attorney even before an arrest is in your best interests.
You Might Be Barred from Returning Home
It is likely that if you are arrested for domestic violence, the judge will place a protection order preventing you from contacting the victim. This means that if you share your home with the alleged victim, you will not be allowed to return home, even if you own the home and the victim does not. You will very likely have to find a different place to live while the case proceeds.
This is why it is vital that you get aggressive representation as soon as possible to begin defending the case and helping you to get the protection order dropped, allowing you to return to your normal life. Your domestic violence attorney can seek to remove or limit the protection order sought by the prosecution.
If a protection order is ordered by your judge, any contact in violation of that order could result in new charges being brought against you, revoked bond, or a more broad protection order being put in place. This is true even if the other person initiates the contact!
Do Not Confess or Make Any Statements to Anyone
The most important thing you can do to help in the defense of your case is to remain silent.
As you can imagine, since there must be an arrest on a domestic violence call, many arrests are made with little or no evidence that a crime was committed beyond the word of the calling party. In many cases, that person recants or wants to drop the charges against their spouse or significant other after the case is filed.
In every criminal case one of the best things you can do is to remain silent. You have a constitutional right not to say anything and it is particularly important in domestic violence cases to use this right. Do not speak to the police and always ask for a lawyer.
Invoking this right is simple. If you are questioned:
- clearly, state that you want to speak to a lawyer and,
- say nothing else.
Often the case against you will worsen as it proceeds, and without your words to use against you, the prosecution will have to rely on what little evidence they have to make a case. You will not have helped them and you will have given our office an advantage in defending your case.
If you have made statements to the police, don’t lose hope. After a thorough review of the facts of your case and the investigation, it may be possible to keep any statements you made during the investigation out of evidence.
Contact Our Queens Criminal Defense Attorney
Domestic violence charges are scary and carry steep penalties. Often, individuals who have never been arrested before find themselves facing significant charges, are being prevented from going home and can’t even communicate with their spouse.
If you find yourself in this situation, contact our office immediately. You will need the best possible defense as soon as possible to get your life back and avoid fines, possible jail time, and a criminal record.
Heiferman and Associates has the experience and passion to fight your domestic violence charges. You are innocent until proven guilty. Don’t let that presumption go to waste, contact our office today!