Domestic Violence Allegations

If you find yourself under arrest for allegations relating to domestic violence, it is critical that you contact a New York City Domestic Violence lawyer immediately.

Domestic Violence crimes are classified as crimes in which the perpetrator of the crime has a familial or sexual relationship with the victim of the crime. While most people consider the classic example of a physically abusive husband as being the perpetrator of domestic violence, the term encompasses all situations in which the victim is someone who is related to the perpetrator. So if a person gets into an argument with his brother and then angrily punches him in the face, that is technically considered a domestic violence crime. Although called "domestic violence," there doesn't even need to be violence for a case to fall in this category. So if a daughter steals her mother’s ring and pawns it off, it is technically considered a "domestic violence" case by the police. Indeed, the classification of domestic violence is so broad that it can even encapsulate a situation in which a woman had a brief and consensual sexual relationship with a man years ago and the woman now used his identity to buy some things online without his permission. There is no requirement that the the people involved live together, are married, or even in a current relationship. In fact, there isn't even a requirement that the people ever were in a relationship. The only requirement is that there is a familial or a past or present sexual relationship between the perpetrator and the alleged victim.

What is considered to be “domestic” is determined by rigid guidelines followed by the New York City Police Department (NYPD). However, once they made a determination that the case is “domestic” then they and the District Attorney’s Office treat the case differently than they would other cases. The difference in classifying a case as domestic is significant for a number of reasons. First, the police are in a “must-arrest” situation where the allegation is domestic. In other words, the officer has no discretion in whether to place the person under arrest. For example, if two brothers get into a fistfight and one brother decides in anger to call the police, the police must arrest the other brother. Second, once the person is arrested, the police are not allowed to issue a Desk-Appearance Ticket. This means the person is probably going to spend a night in jail. Third, the police are ordered to bring the arrested person to the District Attorney's Office so the officer can write the case up in person and so the prosecutor can take a video statement from the suspect with the goal of incriminating him. Fourth, the individual Assistant District Attorney assigned to the case is likely going to be divested of discretion in how to handle the case. This means the uniqueness of the circumstances or whether the evidence proves that a crime was even committed is often ignored by the DA’s Office because of politics. Simply put, no DA wants to appear soft on domestic violence. Therefore, all decisions tend to favor an aggressive prosecution. The distinctions in how the individual cases are handled ultimately falls upon where the incident occurred. Different boroughs have different District Attorneys who may have different policies. However, one thing is consistent. Each office handles all cases of domestic violence aggressively.

The important point to remember when there is an allegation of domestic violence is that the victim in the case has no discretion in whether to “drop the charges.” The discretion of whether to pursue a prosecution is solely within the purview of the District Attorney’s Office. So all decisions regarding how the case proceeds are made by the District Attorney’s Office.

Therefore, if you, or a loved one, are accused of committing a domestic violence crime, it is critical that you hire an experienced New York criminal defense attorney who can help. Contact John Buza today for a free consultation.