Being the charged with a domestic violence crime, even a relatively minor misdemeanor offense such as Stalking, Aggravated Harassment, or Assault in the Third Degree, can have far-reaching and long-lasting effects on every aspect of a person’s life well above and beyond the context of the actual criminal case itself. Reputation in the community, family relationships and involvement, job prospects, a criminal record – these are just some of the incredibly impactful aspects of of a domestic violence case that must not go overlooked. At the same time, being a victim of domestic violence, where a prosecutor’s office is pressing charges against a spouse or other family member, can also come with many related and unrelated complications and impacts even without the potential for a criminal conviction. In either situation, hiring an attorney with extensive experience in handling domestic violence cases, both as a former prosecutor and as a criminal defense attorney, is critical.
New York law specifically defines domestic violence cases, or family offenses, as those involving parties who are either married, formerly married, have a child together, or are or have been in an intimate relationship. The status of a particular criminal offense as one related to domestic violence doesn’t have any direct impact on the particular charges being brought, but it can have a tremendous impact on the case generally from being handled by specially trained and dedicated prosecutors in a DA’s domestic violence unit or bureau, to being handled in a special court part with a judge that handles only domestic violence cases, to impact on otherwise routine procedural matters such as the sealing of records. Having an attorney who can not only handle the particular charges on their face, but who also has a depth of knowledge and understanding with respect to these real-world practicalities of a DV case can be invaluable.
One aspect of domestic violence cases that comes up with much more regularity than in other contexts is Orders of Protection. These are written Orders by the presiding judge that are routinely issued in domestic violence cases that require the person accused to stay away from the alleged victim and have not contact with that person. This may seem like a straightforward and expected condition of these cases, but it can be fraught with complexity and potential peril for the defendant. Whether the alleged victim chooses to use the Order of Protection as a weapon against the accused person, or innocently contacts the accused person in an attempt to reconcile, these can have an incredible impact on the defendant both with respect to the open case and possible additional charges. Similarly, a protected party or victim in a case may be harmed or encumbered by an Order of Protection, or may wish to have it removed and the DA’s Office refuses to comply. In either case, an attorney experienced in managing and dealing with situations involving Orders of Protection can be of the utmost importance.
Contact The Law Office of Samuel S. Coe today to consult with an experienced domestic violence attorney and former Manhattan prosecutor.