Domestic violence is a serious issue that affects individuals and families in communities across the country, and New York is no exception. The state has enacted several laws to protect victims of domestic violence and to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. These laws have been established to ensure that those who experience domestic violence are able to receive the help and support they need to escape abusive situations and live safe and healthy lives. This Eastcoastlaws.com article will explore the New York domestic violence laws in detail, including their scope and provisions, as well as how they are enforced and the resources available to victims.
New York Domestic Violence Laws
New York State has enacted several laws to protect individuals from domestic violence. These laws aim to provide support and safety to victims and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. The following are the key domestic violence laws in New York State:
The New York State Domestic Violence Victims Protection Act: This act provides legal protections for victims of domestic violence by allowing them to obtain an order of protection. An order of protection is a court order that requires the abuser to stay away from the victim and not harm or threaten them. The act also allows for the removal of the abuser from the shared residence and the awarding of temporary custody of children to the victim.
Family Court Act: The Family Court Act provides for the jurisdiction of the Family Court over domestic violence cases. The act provides for the issuance of temporary orders of protection, which can be extended to a full order of protection. The act also provides for the appointment of a Law Guardian to represent the interests of any children involved in the case.
Penal Law: The Penal Law of New York State defines various crimes related to domestic violence, including assault, stalking, and menacing. These crimes are punishable by imprisonment and/or fines.
Criminal Procedure Law: The Criminal Procedure Law provides for the arrest and prosecution of individuals charged with domestic violence crimes. The law also provides for the issuance of arrest warrants and the use of bail in domestic violence cases.
Civil Rights Law: The Civil Rights Law provides for the protection of individuals from discriminatory practices, including those based on domestic violence. The law also provides for the recovery of damages in cases of domestic violence.
In addition to these laws, New York State also provides services to victims of domestic violence through its Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV). OPDV provides assistance and resources to victims, including emergency shelters, legal assistance, and counseling services.
It is important to note that if you are a victim of domestic violence, it is recommended that you seek help from the authorities or a local domestic violence organization. These organizations can provide you with support and assistance in obtaining an order of protection and navigating the legal system.
Family Offense Defined
The following crimes are considered family offenses when committed between current or former spouses, parents, and child, or members of the same family or household:
- disorderly conduct
- harassment in the first and second degree
- aggravated harassment in the second degree
- sexual misconduct
- forcible touching
- sexual abuse in the third degree
- sexual abuse in the second degree when the victim is incapable of consent for some reason other than being under the age of 17
- stalking in the first, second, third, and fourth degree
- criminal mischief
- menacing in the second and third degree
- reckless endangerment
- criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation
- strangulation in the first and second degree, and
- assault in the second and third degree and attempted assault.
The following persons are considered “members of the same family or household”:
- persons related by blood or marriage
- current or former spouses
- co-parents of a child, regardless of whether the persons have ever been married or lived together, and
- persons who are in or have been in an intimate relationship, regardless of whether such persons have ever lived together
The nature of the relationship, how frequently the couple interacts, and how long the relationship has lasted may all be taken into account by the court when evaluating whether two persons are engaging in an intimate relationship. The relationship need not be sexual in order to be deemed intimate, and the court may take into account other criteria. (N.Y. Family Court Act § 812)
The harshness of sentences for family offense convictions can vary. For instance, first-degree strangling is a Class C felony that carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence and a $5,000 punishment, while third-degree assault carries a maximum one-year imprisonment sentence and a $1,000 fine.
Temporary Orders of Protection
A court may issue a temporary order of protection when someone is accused of committing any offense against their present or former spouse, a family member, a parent or child, or a member of the same household in criminal court. In a family court case, a victim may also submit a petition for an order of protection. Even if the perpetrator has not yet been apprehended, the victim may nonetheless ask for an order of protection. If the court determines that the victim requires an order of protection, the interim order will be issued after considering the petition and speaking with the victim. Ex parte means that the judge may issue the temporary order of protection without first telling the criminal.
A temporary order of protection may contain provisions that:
- require the defendant to stay away from the home, workplace, or school of the household or family member or any witness designated in the order
- set a child visitation schedule for a parent
- prohibit the defendant from committing criminal offenses against a family or household member or a child
- prohibit the defendant from committing acts that create an unreasonable risk to the health, safety, and welfare of a child or a family or household member
- require the defendant to allow a designated person the right to enter the residence at a specific time to remove personal belongings, and
- prohibit the defendant from harming any pet kept by the victim or a child residing in the household.
Beyond Temporary Orders of Protection
The defendant is given a copy of the petition and order as well as a summons for the hearing after the court grants a temporary order of protection. If there is enough evidence to support a longer-term order of protection, the judge will issue one after hearing testimony from both the victim and the defendant. Unless the court finds that there is an aggravating condition or that the conduct in question breaches an earlier order of protection, in which case the order may be extended for up to five years, an order of protection granted in a family court procedure may be effective for up to two years. (N.Y. Family Court Act § 842)
Orders of protection may last longer during criminal court procedures. The order of protection will endure for eight years from the date the sentence is entered, or eight years after the sentence has expired if the defendant is found guilty of a felony family violence offense. The length of a protection order based on a felony conviction is either five years or three years from the end of the term, depending on which is longer.
The duration of the order for a Class A misdemeanor is five years from the date of sentencing or three years from the end of a sentence of incarceration, whichever is longer. In the event of a Class A misdemeanor conviction, an order of protection cannot last longer than three years. An order of protection is issued upon a conviction for any offense other than a felony or Class A misdemeanor, and it lasts for either two years from the sentencing date or two years from the end of the prison term, whichever is longer. A sentence handed down as a result of such a conviction cannot last longer than one year. (N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 530.12)
Warning And Resources For Victims
If you’re being abused by a family or household member, you can find help by contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline. However, keep in mind to think about how private your phone, Internet, and computer use are. For instance, some victims may share a computer or other device with the abuser or may have a phone plan that enables the abuser to view the calls the victim makes and receives. Technology from other fields, such as home security cameras and GPS in mobile devices and automobiles, can also provide abuser surveillance. Use a friend’s device or a computer at the library, or at the very least, delete your search history after conducting research online, to prevent your abuser from finding out that you are looking for help or doing research. And if you aren’t eligible to get an order of protection but you’re worried that someone you know poses a risk of gun violence, you may be able to get an extreme risk protection order under New York’s red flag law.
Statute Of Limitations New York Domestic Violence
The Statute of Limitations (SOL) refers to the time period within which a legal claim must be brought to court. In New York, the SOL for domestic violence crimes is different from other crimes.
For crimes such as assault, stalking, and menacing, the SOL is generally five years from the date of the crime. This means that a victim has five years from the date of the crime to file a complaint and have the case brought to court. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, if the victim was under the age of 18 at the time of the crime, the SOL may be extended until the victim turns 23.
In the case of sexual abuse, the SOL is generally five years from the date of the crime, or five years from the date the victim turns 18. However, there is a recent change to the law in New York State, where the SOL for civil cases of sexual abuse has been extended to 10 years from the date of the crime, or 10 years from the date the victim turns 18, whichever is later.
In addition to the SOL for criminal cases, there is also an SOL for civil cases of domestic violence in New York. For civil cases, the SOL is three years from the date of the incident.
It is important to note that the SOL for domestic violence crimes in New York is subject to change and may be extended in certain circumstances. For example, if there is new evidence that comes to light, the SOL may be extended. Additionally, if the victim was under the age of 18 at the time of the crime, the SOL may be extended until the victim turns 23.
In conclusion, the SOL for domestic violence crimes in New York can vary depending on the type of crime and the circumstances of the case. If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is recommended that you seek help and consult with an attorney to determine the SOL for your case. It is also important to remember that the SOL is subject to change and may be extended in certain circumstances.