Suffolk County Domestic Violence Offense Sentencing

Each year New York law enforcement responds to thousands of calls related to domestic violence. Domestic violence is a type of crime occurs in the context of an intimate relationship. Such a relationship could be a marriage, boyfriend-girlfriend, or could involve people who cohabitate. Domestic violence can also occur between people who share children. In some cases a domestic disturbance is no more than a loud argument that disturbs neighbors. In other cases physical violence or the threat of physical violence occurs. Depending on the actions of those involved, a domestic incident may be more than a simple argument, but could amount to criminal activity. 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 and menacing. If you are convicted of any crime related to domestic violence you could end up in prison for many years. Plus, you will be required to pay hefty fees, fines and restitution. 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 Suffolk County 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

There is no one crime in the New York criminal code that is called "domestic violence." Domestic violence is a catchall term used to describe criminal offenses where the defendant and the victim have a domestic relationship. crimes include such offenses such as sex crimes, harassment, stalking, assault, and child endangerment. Specific criminal offenses that commonly result from domestic disputes include disorderly conduct, harassment, aggravated harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual abuse, rape, assault, reckless endangerment, stalking, strangulation, and murder. These offenses range from violations to Class B misdemeanors to Class A felonies.

Punishment for conviction

While there are a few charges that commonly result from domestic incidents that that are violations and misdemeanors, by far most crimes are felonies. Thus, if you are convicted of an offense related to domestic violence there is a very good chance that your sentence will include 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. Regardless of whether or not your sentence includes incarceration, it is likely to include some sort of community supervision such as probation or post-release supervision.

There are also financial consequences to being convicted of a domestic violence crime. The judge has the authority to also require you to pay a fine and restitution. Plus there are mandatory fees that you will have to pay.

  • Class B misdemeanor. The maximum possible sentence is 3 months days in jail. 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 sentence is 1 year in jail. The following offenses are Class A misdemeanors: menacing in the second degree, aggravated harassment in the second degree, stalking in the third degree, criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, 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 sentence is 4 years in prison. 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 sentence is 7 years in prison. 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 sentence is 15 years in prison. 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 sentence is 25 years in prison. 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.

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

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 associated with probation vary from person to person, but may include that:

  • You must not commit a crime
  • You cannot leave the State of New York without permission
  • You must consent to warrantless searches
  • You must not associate with people who you know have criminal records
  • You must not patronize unlawful or disreputable places
  • You must complete an alcohol or substance abuse program
  • You must stick to a curfew
  • You must have job or attend school
  • You must submit to electronic monitoring
  • You must perform community service
  • You must notify your Probation Officer of a new address
  • You must 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

Fines, Fees and restitution

The amount of fine that a judge may order you to pay as part of your sentence depends on the crime. For a Class B misdemeanor the fine is up to $500, for a Class A misdemeanor the fine is up to $1000, while for a felony the fine is up to $1,000.

In addition to having to pay a fine you will also be required to pay certain fees including a "mandatory surcharge" of $300 for felonies and $175 for misdemeanors as well as a victim assistance fee of $25. N.Y. Pen. Law § 60.35. If you are convicted of a sex crime then there are additional fees, including a sex offender registration fee. You may also be required to pay fees related to probation and post-release supervision of $30 per month.

Another financial consequence is that you may be ordered to pay restitution to the victim. Generally, the maximum amount of restitution is $15,000 for felonies and $10,000 for misdemeanors. However, the restitution may be considerably more as medical expenses for knife wounds can be significant and the court may require you to pay those expenses.

Failure to pay a fine, fee or restitution may result in your being charged with a misdemeanor and sent to prison for up to a year, your wages being garnished or a judgment being filed against you. However, the court may lower the amount of restitution or modify payment terms if you show the court an inability to pay.

Sex offender registration

If you are convicted of almost any sex crime you will be required to register as a sex offender under the New York Sex Offender Registration Act. As a registered sex offender several restrictions will be placed on you. You will not be able to move out of New York state without informing the New York Department of Criminal Justice Services. If you do move, you must let the local law enforcement that you have moved to that jurisdiction, and you then be required to follow the sex offender registration rules of that jurisdiction. Even if you do not leave the state you will have to keep law enforcement informed of your address. You will also have to report to the local police and have your photograph taken every three years. You may have to let the police know the name and address of your employer, and the name of the school you are attending. 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.

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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