Your spouse or romantic partner may not have wanted you to get arrested. Often, the police arrive at domestic violence calls in New York because a third party, like a neighbor, felt concerned after overhearing something with limited or no context.
The police officers have a similarly limited perspective when they arrive, and they might choose to arrest one of the people present. The person that the police claim is the victim has little control over what occurs in a domestic violence case. It will be the report of the police officers and the determination of the prosecutor that decides whether you face criminal charges.
The charges brought against you can vary drastically depending on circumstances. When does a domestic violence charge become a felony in New York?
The severity of the offense and injuries determine the charges
Unfortunately for those facing domestic violence allegations in New York, what separates a felony from a misdemeanor offense is often somewhat subjective. It involves an analysis of how severe the injuries are and your mental state at the time of the incident.
For example, did you intend to cause harm or were you in a state of heightened emotionality and not particularly rational? Was there merely a bruise to show that a physical altercation occurred, or did the other person suffer a broken bone or another kind of lasting injury?
Prosecutors could charge you with offenses ranging from stalking and assaults, to menacing or strangulation. Each of these offenses has misdemeanor and felony variations depending on the circumstances.
How do you respond to domestic violence charges?
People often don’t know what to do when they find themselves accused of domestic violence. Their first reaction might be to reach out to the other person involved, even if there is already an order of protection in place.
Facing domestic violence charges could mean going to jail, paying fines, dealing with a criminal record and even losing the right to legally own a firearm. Not only could domestic violence accusations affect your freedom and your future, but they could impact your family relationships in a divorce if you have minor children.
Reviewing the charges against you and the circumstances that led to your arrest can help you better understand how to defend yourself.