Queens Domestic Violence Offense Sentencing

Domestic violence is an informal name for crimes that occur between people who have a family relationship or an intimate partner relationship. Examples of such relationships include married couples, formerly married couples, people who are dating or who used to date, people who live together, and people who share children. Domestic violence crimes include very serious criminal acts that result in the victim suffering physical injuries such as assault, strangulation, and sexual assault, to less serious criminal acts such as harassment, reckless endangerment, stalking and menacing where the victim does not necessarily suffer a physical injury. However, any act of domestic violence is a crime. As a result if you are convicted you could end up in prison for many years, face substantial financial penalties as well as other long-term consequences. Every criminal case is complex. Numerous factors will impact the outcome of your case. Thus, if you are charged with a domestic violence offense contact an experienced Queens Domestic Violence Offense Sentencing Lawyer who will review the facts of your case and who will aggressively defend you to ensure that your case is resolved in the best possible manner given the circumstances of your case.Domestic Violence Crimes

Domestic violence is not one particular crime, but is a term that use to describe crimes where the defendant and victim are family members or have an intimate relationship. Examples of crimes that are often associated with domestic violence include harassment, sexual assault, assault, reckless endangerment, stalking and strangulation.

Harassment involves 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. Sexual assault is forcing sometime into some sort of sex act. Contrary to what many believe it is possible to sexually assault your spouse or partner. Examples of the sex crime charges that you may face include: sexual misconduct, sexual abuse, and rape. Assault is one of the most common types of domestic violence crimes and involves intentionally, recklessly, or with criminal negligence physically harming 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.

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. Stalking is defined as the unwanted pursuit of another person. Strangulation involves obstructing the breathing or blood circulation of another person. N.Y. Pen. Law § 121.12

Punishment for conviction

If you are convicted of an offense related to domestic violence there is a very good chance that your sentence will include incarceration. It will also likely include a fine, fees, restitution, and perhaps a term of community supervision such as possibly post-release supervision or probation. On top of that, there will be long-term consequences such as having a criminal record and, if you are convicted of a sex crime you will have to register as a sex offender.

Incarceration. Whether or not you are sent to prison and for how long depends largely on the classification of the crime and your prior criminal record.

  • Class B misdemeanor. The maximum possible jail sentence is 3 months. The following offenses are Class B misdemeanors: harassment in the first degree, menacing in the third degree, stalking in the fourth degree
  • Class A misdemeanor. The maximum possible jail sentence is 1 year. The following offenses are Class A misdemeanors: menacing in the second degree, aggravated harassment in the second degree, stalking in the third degree, reckless endangerment in the second degree, assault in the third degree, sexual misconduct, forcible touching, sexual abuse in the second degree and sexual abuse in the third degree.
  • Class E felony. The maximum possible prison sentence is 4 years. The following offenses are Class E felonies: menacing in the first degree, stalking in the second degree, aggravated sexual abuse in the fourth degree, and criminal sexual act in the third degree
  • Class D felony. The maximum possible prison sentence is 7 years. The following offenses are Class D felonies: stalking in the first degree, strangulation in the second degree, reckless endangerment in the first degree, assault in the second degree, rape in the second degree, criminal sexual act in the second degree, sexual abuse in the first degree, and aggravated sexual abuse in the third degree.
  • Class C felony. The maximum possible prison sentence is 15 years. The following offenses are Class C felonies: strangulation in the first degree and aggravated sexual abuse in the second degree.
  • Class B felony. The maximum possible prison sentence is 25 years. The following offenses are Class B felonies: assault in the first degree, rape the first degree, criminal sexual act in the first degree, and aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree.

Probation. 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.

  • B Misdemeanor: 1 year
  • A Misdemeanor: 3 years
  • Felony: 5 years
  • Misdemeanor sex offense: 6 years
  • Felony sex offense: 10 years

For example, in the case of People v. Roppoccio, 924 N.Y.S.2d 311 (2011), defendant George Roppoccio was convicted of assault in the third degree based on punching the victim and biting the victim. Roppoccio was sentenced to 3 years probation. Likewise in People v. Gambetta, 822 N.Y.S.2d 450 (2006), the defendant Charles Gambetta received a sentence of 3 years of probation after being convicted of assault in the third degree based on throwing the victim on the floor.

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 are that you must:

  • Avoid injurious or vicious habits
  • Refrain from frequenting unlawful or disreputable places
  • Refrain from consorting with disreputable persons
  • Have a job or be enrolled in school
  • Undergoing available medical or psychiatric treatment and remaining in a specified institution, when required for that purpose
  • Complete an alcohol or substance abuse program, if ordered by the court
  • Support your family
  • Pay restitution
  • Perform community service
  • Post bond or other security for the performance of any or all conditions imposed;
  • Install an ignition interlock device on any vehicle that you use
  • Refrain from consuming alcohol
  • Regularly report to your Probation Officer
  • Obtain permission before traveling or moving outside of New York
  • Notify your Probation Officer if you move or change employment
  • Submit to electronic monitoring

N.Y. Pen. Law § 65.10

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. There are several possible consequences if judge determines that you did indeed violate the terms of your probation:

  • Modify the terms of your probation to add additional conditions such as requiring you to attend counseling
  • Order you to spend a few days in jail and then resume probation
  • Order you to pay additional fines
  • Revoke your probation and send you to prison

For example, in the case of People v. Brandel, 924 N.Y.S.2d 311 (2011), the defendant was sentenced to probation after being convicted of stalking in the fourth degree. However, the court found out that Brandel violated the terms of his probation by possessing a pellet gun. As a result the judge revoked Brandel's probation and resentenced him to a 30-day jail term.

Post-release supervision

If convicted of a violent felony part of your sentence will include a term of post-release supervision of up to 5 years. Like probation, while you serve your term of post-release supervision there will be several rules that you must follow. If you violate any of the terms of your post-release supervision you will receive a revocation hearing before a judge. Based on the evidence presented, the judge may allow you to continue with the post-release supervision with the terms undisturbed, require you to go back to jail for a period and then return to post-release supervision status, or require you to return to prison to complete your original sentence plus additional time for violating your post-release supervision.

Fines, Fees and Restitution

Your sentence may also include the payment of a fine of up to $1,000. If you are convicted of a crime in New York, you will be required to pay certain fees. You will have to pay a mandatory surcharge of $25-$300 as well as a victim assistance fee of $25. N.Y. Pen. Law § 60.35. You may also be required to pay a probation supervision fee of $30 per week.

Restitution is paid to the victim to cover out-of-pocket expenses that result from a crime. Generally, the maximum amount of restitution is $15,000 for a felony conviction and $10,000 for a misdemeanor, plus a 5% surcharge. N.Y. Pen. Law § 60.27. For example, in People v. Tehonica, 847 N.Y.S.2d 257 (2007) the defendant was ordered to pay $10,889.40 in restitution after being convicted of assault in the second degree. However, the court has the discretion to order that you pay a higher amount, provided that the excess amount is limited to returning the victim's property or paying for the victim's medical expenses. N.Y. Pen. Law § 60.27(5)(b).

There are serious consequences to failure to pay court ordered fines, fees or restitution. For example, typically the payment of restitution is a condition of probation. If you fail to make restitution payments as ordered, the prosecutor may file a motion to revoke your probation.

Long-Term Consequences. Even after you serve your prison term, probation term and pay your fees, fines and restitution, there will be additional long-term consequences to being convicted of vehicular assault in the second degree.

  • Criminal record
  • Difficulty finding a job as most employers perform criminal background checks
  • Barred from certain careers and professional licensing such as teaching, practicing law, and operating a child day care business
  • Barred from owning a gun
  • Barred from serving on a jury
  • Ineligible for certain government benefits such as welfare or federally funded housing
  • Deportation, if you are not U.S. citizen- even if you are in the U.S. legally
  • Temporarily barred from voting

If you are convicted of a domestic violence sex offense such as rape or sexual abuse, another long-term consequence is that you will have 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.

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 domestic violence are complex, often involving complicated emotional and family issues. In order to resolve such cases it is necessary to understand both the fine details of criminal law as well as the sensitive 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, sexual 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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