Queens Domestic Violence Against a Wife

In New York if you commit a violent crime or make threats against your wife, you would have committed a crime that is also classified as a domestic violence. Domestic violence is a term used to describe crimes where the defendant and the victim are in a domestic or intimate relationship such as being spouses, former spouses, partners, former partners, co-parents, family members or roommates. In New York such crimes are collectively referred to as family offenses. Because the incidence of domestic violence against wives is so high and when wives are victims the entire family may be placed in jeopardy, law enforcement is quick to arrest and charge husbands accused of domestic violence. Why generally calls regarding a domestic disturbance are made because a crime has been committed, in some cases the facts are unclear. However, if you are arrested for a domestic violence crime against your wife, what is at stake is quite clear. If convicted you could end up in prison for years, pay a steep fine, lose custody or visitation of your kids, and you will have a permanent criminal record. Thus, if you are charged with a domestic violence offense based on an incident involving your wife, contact an experienced Queens Domestic Violence Against a Wife Lawyer who understands the law related to domestic violence crimes and who will work closely with you to defend you against all criminal charges.

What are Domestic Violence Crimes?

Examples of crimes that are often associated with domestic violence include harassment, sexual assault, assault, reckless endangerment, stalking and strangulation.

Harassment and aggravated harassment. It can also involve physical contact that does not result in injury such as kicking or shoving. In some cases the defendant's harassing behavior includes filing false reports against someone or disseminating untrue information about someone. N.Y. Pen. Law § 240.25 and 240.26. The more serious charge of aggravated harassment involves harassing someone using written or electronic means of communication such as a letter or telephone. N.Y. Pen. Law § 240.30.

Sexual assault. Contrary to what many believe it is possible to sexually assault your spouse or partner. If you have sexual intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, or perform any other type of sexual act with someone without that person's consent, you would have sexually assaulted that person, regardless of the relationship you have with that person. Examples of the sex crime charges that you may face include: sexual misconduct, sexual abuse, and rape.

Assault. You have committed assault if you cause physical harm to another person regardless of whether it was done intentionally, recklessly or with criminal negligence. It does not matter if you did not intend to injury. All that is required is that your recklessness or negligence resulted in the physical harm to another person. N.Y. Pen. Law § 120.00. There are different assault offenses in the New York criminal code based on the extent of the victim's injury and who the assault was accomplished. For example, if you shoot your boyfriend with a gun, causing him to suffer life-threatening injuries, you would face a charge of assault in the first degree. N.Y. Pen. Law § 120.10. On the other hand, if you kick your ex-wife in the abdomen cracking her rib you may face a charge of assault in the second degree. N.Y. Pen. Law § 120.10. If you shove some against a wall resulting in a bump on the head that is painful for only a couple of days, you may only face a charge of assault in the third degree. N.Y. Pen. Law § 120.00

Reckless endangerment. Reckless endangerment is different from assault in that assault involves causing a victim injury, while reckless endangerment involves engaging in conduct that creates a significant risk of causing another person serious injury. N.Y. Pen. Law § 120.20. To be charged with reckless endangerment in the first degree, the prosecution must establish that not just that your actions posed a substantial risk of serious injury to another person, but that your actions showed a depraved indifference to human life and posed a risk of death to another person. N.Y. Pen. Law § 120.25

Stalking. Stalking is defined as the unwanted pursuit of another person. Stalking is a common charge related to domestic violence. There are 4 stalking offenses: stalking in the fourth degree, third degree, second degree, and first degree. Stalking in the fourth and third degrees are misdemeanors, with penalties of up to one year in jail.

Stalking in the second degree is a Class E felony with a possible sentence of up to 4 years in prison, while stalking in the first degree is a Class D felony with a possible sentence of up to 7 years in prison. You will be charged with felony stalking if one of several aggravating factors exists including injuring the victim, displaying a weapon such as a gun or knife, or committing a sex crime against the stalking victim.

Strangulation. Strangulation involves obstructing the breathing or blood circulation of another person. To face a charge of strangulation in the second degree, when causing the obstruction of the breathing or blood circulation of another person you also cause that person to lose consciousness, fall into a stupor, or cause a physical injury. N.Y. Pen. Law § 121.12. A strangulation charge will be raised to the more serious charge of strangulation in the first degree if the victim suffers serious injury. N.Y. Pen. Law § 121.13.

What is an Order of Protection?

One of the first things that will likely happen once you are accused domestic violence against your wife is that the criminal court judge will put an Order of Protection in place against you in order to ensure that the victim is safe while the criminal case proceeds. The initial granting of an Order of Protection does not necessarily mean that a permanent Order of Protection is justified and will be granted. Nor does it mean that you will necessarily be convicted of a domestic violence crime. However, while it is in place you must abide by it.

The order of protection may require that you:

  • Not contact your wife. If you and your wife live together, you will have to move out of the residence you share.
  • Not contact your children. It may also require that you stay away from the children you share with your wife, particularly if there are also allegations that you abused your children
  • Pay child support and other bills. Even though you will not be permitted to see your children or live in your home, you will be required to financially support your children as well as pay at least a portion of the household bills. In addition, if your wife incurred medical expenses as a result of the domestic violence, you may be ordered to pay those expenses as well.

If you violate the terms of an Order of Protection you will be arrested and face additional criminal charges. N.Y. FCT. LAW § 846. For example, in the case of People v. Worthy, 972 N.Y.S.2d 122 (2013), defendant Devine Worthy violated a no-contact Order of Protection and was subsequently convicted of criminal contempt in the first degree, a Class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 215.51

What is the Punishment for Conviction?

A conviction for a crime related to domestic violence can result in a sentence of a fine, probation, jail, or prison. The sentence that you receive depends on a number of factors including whether the crime is a misdemeanor or a felony and whether you have a prior criminal record. In addition, domestic violence defendants commonly face more than one criminal charge. Your overall sentence will be more severe if you are convicted of multiple offenses.

  • Class B misdemeanor: Up to 3 months days in jail.
  • Class A misdemeanor: Up to 1 year in jail.
  • Class E felony: Up to 4 years in prison.
  • Class D felony: Up to 7 years in prison.
  • Class C felony: Up to 15 years in prison.
  • Class B felony: Up to 25 years in prison.

For example, in the case of People v. Russell, a jury convicted the defendant of assault in the first degree and assault in the second degree based on a domestic violence incident. Because the defendant was a persistent violent felony offender, he was sentenced to two concurrent terms of 20 years to life in prison.

In addition to being sentenced to time in jail or prison or instead of being sentenced to jail or prison, your sentence may include probation. The length of your probation term depends on whether the crime was a misdemeanor or a felony. If the crime was a sex offense, then the probation term will be twice as long as it otherwise would be.

  • Misdemeanor: 3 years
  • Felony: 5 years
  • Misdemeanor sex offense: 6 years
  • Felony sex offense: 10 years

Prison and probation sentences are served concurrently. This means that if you are sentenced to 3 years in prison and 5 years probation for a felony conviction, you will serve the first 3 years of your probation term while you are in still in prison, leaving you to serve 2 years probation after you are released from prison.

If you are placed on probation, there will be many rules that you will be required to follow or risk being sent to prison. The rules will include that you must not commit a crime, must not associate with people with criminal backgrounds, must not go to disreputable places, must not drink alcohol excessively, must not use illegal drugs, must have a job, and you must support your family. You will also be required to regularly report to your probation officer. Under New York Criminal Procedure Law, if your probation officer suspects that you have violated the terms of your probation, you will be summoned to court. The judge will determine whether to revoke your probation, continue it, or modify the terms of your probation. N.Y. CPL. Law § 410.70

There are also quite a few long-term consequences to being convicted of a domestic violence crime. You will have a criminal record that will make several aspects of your life more challenging such as getting a job. In addition, you will be barred from working in certain professions such as being a teacher, lawyer, or security guard. In addition, you will no longer to be able to own a gun in the future, serve in the military, or serve on juries. Some schools may refuse admission or ban you from living on campus. You will also not be able to receive certain government benefits such as welfare or federally funded housing. Furthermore, a felony conviction may cause you to lose custody of your children or restrict the visitation arrangement. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you may be subject to deportation.

In addition, if you are convicted of a sex offense such as rape or sexual abuse, you will be required to register as a sex offender under the New York Sex Offender Registration Act. Such registration means that you must supply certain personal information and information related to your crime to law enforcement which will be added to a sex offender database. N.Y. Cor. Law § 168. Such information includes your name, aliases, date of birth, sex, race, height, weight, eye color, home address, internet screen names and email addresses. If you are a student you will have to provide its name and address. In addition, you will have to be regularly photographed. If you do not follow these rules, you can be arrested and charged with a Class D felony that could result in jail or prison time.

What is Domestic Violence Court?

When you are involved in a domestic violence crime, your case may be transferred to a special court called the Integrated Domestic Violence Court (IDV). To be eligible for IDV court, in addition to the criminal domestic violence case, you and your wife must also have a family court case or a matrimonial case. While each case will be handled separately, the same judge will oversee all cases to makes sure that the outcomes are not inconsistent.

In addition, IDV cases have staff members assigned to them to ensure that victims have easy access to victim assistance services, to facilitate family counseling and to ensure intensive defendant monitoring. Thus, if your case is transferred to IDV and as part of your sentence you are placed on probation, the court will designate someone to work closely with you and the IDV to oversee compliance with the terms of your probation.

Accusations of violence between a husband and wife are complex, often involving complicated family dynamics. In order to resolve such cases it is necessary to understand both the fine details of criminal law as well as the sensitive, emotional issues involved in family conflicts. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with crimes related to domestic violence such as stalking, reckless endangerment, rape, assault, strangulation, child endangerment and murder. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of domestic violence in the following locations:

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