When you hear the words “domestic violence,” most people have a pretty clear picture of what that means. It’s important to know that under New York law, there is not actually a crime that is referred to as “domestic violence.” Our domestic violence lawyers will explain that these words describe a violent act where the victim is related to, or cohabitates with, the assailant.

What Crimes do Domestic Violence Perpetrators Commit?

The crimes that are committed under the definition of domestic violence may include:

  • Murder
  • Harassment – Including Aggravated Harassment
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Sex Crimes – Sexual Misconduct, Rape, Sexual Abuse
  • Assault
  • Stalking
  • Reckless Endangerment
  • Strangulation

As you see, this covers a lot of different violent actions.

What Relationships are Considered “Domestic”?

Domestic violence victims can be a husband, boyfriend, wife, girlfriend, child, housemate, or another blood relative. Although anybody can get violent within a family, most violence is committed by males against females.

What are the Punishments for Domestic Violence?

If you’re convicted of a crime that is deemed to be domestic violence, there is a huge range of sentencing options that may be considered. A lot depends on what the charges are at the time of your arrest. You are facing a punishment as small as probation or as severe as life in prison.

Disorderly Conduct Charges

Some cases, but not most, are considered disorderly conduct charges, which can result in up to 15 days in jail and fines of up to $250. Again, this is not your typical domestic violence case. Most cases are either felonies or misdemeanors.

Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Charges

Less serious misdemeanor charges, or Class B Misdemeanors, will carry a maximum sentence of three months in jail, and the estimated maximum fine is $500.

More serious, Class A Misdemeanors can expect up to a year in jail and will be fined up to $1,000.

Felony Domestic Violence Charges

Felony domestic violence crimes are much more serious than the misdemeanor classification, according to our domestic violence lawyers. You will give up considerable time and money if you are convicted of one of the following:

A Class E Felony is the least severe felony charge. You are looking at up to four years in prison, and $5,000 in fines.

The next level is a Class D Felony, in which it’s possible to go to jail for up to seven years and be ordered to pay up to $5,000 in fines.

When you are charged with a Class C Felony, you’re facing up to a fifteen-year sentence, and fine up to $15,000.

Moving up in severity, a Class B Felony can result in up to twenty-five years in prison and can cost you as much as $30,000 in fines.

Class A Felonies have two subdivisions. Class A-II Felonies carry a maximum of life in prison, and the fines can reach up to $50,000.

Class A-1 Felony charges are the most severe and can carry the maximum sentence of life in prison, and hefty fines up to $100,000.

Special Restrictions for Sex Offenders

If a domestic abuser is convicted of a sex offense, they will also have their name added to the sex offender registry, and be required to register with law enforcement agencies for at least 20 years. In some cases, you will be tracked for life. There is a different protocol for sex offenders that may include getting your photo taken and submitted at designated intervals for the record, verifying your address every 90 days, advising police of your employer or school, and other special restrictions that may be deemed necessary.

For more information, seek legal representation from a domestic violence attorney.

By: Kimberly Pelesz

Family law and criminal defense attorney Kimberly A. Pelesz received a B.S. degree magna cum laude and an M.P.A. degree summa cum laude from Binghamton University. She earned her J.D. from Pace University School of Law in White Plains, where she was selected for Phi Alpha Delta. Her charitable activities include work with My Sisters’ Place in White Plains and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Humane Education Taskforce.

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