Not every complaint of domestic violence is true.
I defend people accused of domestic violence. I've been doing so for more than 25 years. In my experience, the percentage of false domestic violence complaints is high. This is troubling because being falsely accused of domestic violence charges can destroy your life.
Domestic violence charges can result in a wide range of consequences, in addition to temporarily losing your freedom: from losing your home, to losing your job, to losing custody of your children.
As your lawyer, I provide a defense tailored to your situation. Whether you've been falsely accused, truthfully accused, or somewhere in between, my goal is to achieve the best outcome possible for you.
There is no crime in New York called "domestic violence". Rather, domestic violence is a category of specified crimes committed between “members of the same family or household”.
Domestic violence charges can arise in any number of ways: an argument during a football game; a parent reacting angrily to a child’s misbehavior; a spouse making a false abuse claim to get the upper hand in a child custody matter.
Whatever the circumstances, it's important that you contact a lawyer immediately – before you're arrested, if possible.
Also, never speak with police to try to explain the accusation that's been made against you. Let your lawyer speak for you.
Typically, anyone accused of domestic violence will be directed by an order of protection to have no contact with the alleged victim.
Such restraining orders can be extremely burdensome. If you share a home with the complainant, you must immediately find a new place to live. If you share a child with the complainant, you will need a Family Court order to continue parenting your child.
The degree of restraint provided by an order of protection can range from a "limited order of protection" directing you to refrain from committing an offense against the protected person, to a "full order of protection" directing you to have no contact or communication with the protected person.
Criminal Court orders of protection have different durations. A "temporary orders of protection" will remain in place while your criminal case is pending. If you're convicted, a "final order of protection" will remain in place for 2 years (for a non-criminal offense or a class B misdemeanor), 5 years (for a class A misdemeanor), or 8 years (for a felony).
Violating an order of protection is a crime called "criminal contempt", for which you can be separately prosecuted.
I once represented a husband accused of assaulting his wife. The wife never accused her husband of assaulting her.
The wife had no physical injuries. The person who accused the husband of assaulting his wife was a complete stranger. The accuser had served 10 years in prison on a robbery conviction, and he had felony assault charges pending against him. The wife wanted the case against her husband dismissed, and she wanted the temporary order of protection removed.
Despite all this, the District Attorney refused to follow the wife’s wishes.
Throughout the case, which lasted many months, the husband and wife were prohibited from communicating with each other. They suffered financial hardship because the order of protection forced them to maintain two separate residences.
The assistant district attorney assigned to the case told the wife, “I’m ashamed for you,” because the wife refused to adopt the district attorney’s position that the husband had assaulted her.
Sad to say, the facts of that case aren't unusual.
Unfortunately, district attorneys pursue domestic violence charges even where the protected person wants the charges dropped.
For this reason, I also represent alleged victims of domestic violence who don't consider themselves to be victims. I'm committed to advocating for clients in cases where, against their wishes, the District Attorney:
I help victims have a say in their domestic violence cases. However, I never represent defendants and victims in the same case. To do so would be a conflict of interest.