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New York Domestic Violence Law: How to Get an Order of Protection in Family Court

Posted on February 8, 2019 in Uncategorized

Generally speaking, domestic violence refers to behavior that one person in an intimate relationship uses to control the other. Examples of such behavior include threats, name-calling, isolation, placing someone in fear of physical harm, stalking and sexual assault. The foregoing list of abusive behaviors is far from exhaustive. Each state has unique procedural and substantive rules to protect family members from domestic abuse.

New York’s substantive domestic violence law is set forth in various sections of the state’s Penal Law, Family Court Act, and Domestic Relations Law. These statutes provide several different procedural options for someone who needs to obtain judicial protection against an abusive family member. The broad and remedial purpose of the foregoing laws is to provide the maximum level of protection for victims of domestic violence. To further this goal, New York is a “mandatory arrest” jurisdiction. This means that the police are required to arrest suspects where there is “probable cause” to believe that the accused has committed, against a spouse, former spouse, family or household member, any felony, misdemeanor family offense, or violation of an order of protection requiring the defendant to stay away from the complainant.

Under New York’s Criminal Procedure Law, members of the same family or household (so as to fall under the protections of the family offense laws) include:

  1. persons related by consanguinity or affinity;
  2. persons legally married to one another;
  3. persons formerly married to one another regardless of whether they still reside in the same household;
  4. persons who have a child in common, regardless of whether such persons have been married or have lived together at any time; and
  5. persons who are not related by consanguinity or affinity and who are or have been in an intimate relationship regardless of whether such persons have lived together at any time.

In New York, domestic violence cases are most frequently brought in the Family Court under Article 8 of New York’s Family Court Act. Unlike criminal proceedings, Family Court Article 8 proceedings are generally intended to secure practical protections for victims (such as orders of protection directing offenders to stay away from victims), as opposed to criminal convictions. Court-ordered relief frequently includes orders requiring the offender to vacate a marital residence and cease contact with the petitioner. The Family Court may also order someone to participate in an educational program specifically tailored for perpetrators of domestic abuse.

To obtain an order of protection in New York Family Court, a petitioner must establish that a family offense has occurred. Family offenses include acts constituting disorderly conduct, harassment in the first degree, harassment in the second degree, aggravated harassment in the second degree, menacing in the second degree, menacing in the third degree, reckless endangerment, assault in the second degree, assault in the third degree, or an attempted assault between spouses and/or members of the same family or household. In the context of family offense proceedings, the definition of “disorderly conduct” is broader than in the criminal context, and may include conduct not in a public space. Under Penal Law 240.20, disorderly conduct includes conduct intended to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof. Examples of such conduct include tumultuous or threatening behavior, abusive or obscene language, unreasonable noise, or making an obscene gesture.

Generally, both the New York Supreme Court and the Family Court have jurisdiction to issue an Order of Protection. However, only the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to issue a divorce. Thus, individuals who do not have a marital relationship must seek judicial relief in either the Family Court or Criminal Court.

Occasionally, a spouse may bring an action seeking an Order of Protection in the Family Court, and then subsequently initiate divorce proceedings in the Supreme Court. In such instances, it may be appropriate to consolidate the existing actions. Section 240(3) of New York’s Domestic Relations Law (DRL) authorizes the Supreme Court to enter an order of protection in a matrimonial action.

Given the overlapping remedies and jurisdiction of New York’s Family and Supreme Courts, and the broad array of procedural options, selection of venue and other strategic decisions should be carefully considered and evaluated at the outset of order of protection proceedings with the advice and assistance of an experienced New York family law attorney. In addition to considerations regarding venue, a family law attorney will be able to guide the complainant about important issues regarding preservation of evidence. Frequently, proof of domestic violence hinges on preservation of key communications, such as text messages, voice mails, and emails. Ultimately, these communications will need to be introduced as evidence at trial. Giving careful consideration to strategic and evidentiary considerations at the earliest possible stage is crucial to obtaining a permanent order of protection against an abusive spouse or household member.

What Type Of Criminal Injury Can Victims Of Crime Be Compensated For?

Posted on February 5, 2019 in Uncategorized

If you have been the victim of an act of crime or violence, you may be able to claim compensation. The offender does not have to have been caught and prosecuted for you to make a claim for compensation, you are usually entitled to compensation if: If the crime took place within the last 2 years. However, cases of abuse may be considered over this time period. You have been injured physically, mentally or psychologically as a consequence of a violent crime. If a member of you immediate family has died as a result of a violent crime, for instance your partner, parent, wife or child. If you were a witness to a violent crime and later suffered psychological injury and had to receive counselling. Physical and/or psychological injuries are graded according to their severity. Relatively minor injuries, such as scratches, cuts and bruises will not qualify for an award.

However, if a criminal injury victim has suffered a combination of minor injuries resulting in numerous visits to see their GP or a medical establishment, received treatment and the injury has lasted more than six week, they may be entitled to claim compensation. Every case is different. In England Scotland and Wales, the minimum amount of compensation you could expect to receive would be £1,000, moderate to severe injuries can be up to £500,000 compensation, dependant on the severity of the injury/injuries sustained.

Other Types of Compensation.

If for instance you property has been damaged as the result of a crime or theft, you may be able to claim compensation. If the person that committed the crime is caught and found guilty, the court can order them to pay you compensation. In regards to making a claim for any type of criminal injury, you will have needed to have contacted the police within 24-48 hours of the incident having taken place. You will not be eligible to make a claim for criminal injuries compensation if the crime has not been reported to the police.

Victims who have reported the incident to the police can apply. The police will pass the information to the Crown Prosecution Service who will make the court aware of your claim when the case is heard. The type of loss you can be compensated can include:

  • Out of pocket expenses (financial loss, loss of earnings due to time off work because of the crime).
  • Loss via fraud
  • Loss through damage or theft of property
  • Injury from a stolen vehicle

How to make a criminal injury claim

In England, Scotland and Wales there are many personal injury solicitors that also specialise in criminal injury compensation. You have two options;

Contact a recommended or reputable personal injury solicitors. They will take care of all the legal jargon and fight for the justice that you deserve. Most solicitors charge a small percentage fee if the claim is settled, usually between 20-25% – a small price to pay for the expertise and knowledge of a reputable criminal injury solicitor who can recover the maximum compensation that you are entitled to by law.

Another alternative would be to apply direct with the CICA (Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority). You can download the form from their website: www.cica.gov.uk or call them on 0141 331 2726. Your application will be processed usually within 12 months. If you accept the compensation that is offered to you, this will be paid out to you within 28 days.

It is highly recommended that you sought the legal advice and guidance of a criminal injury solicitor. A reputable, successful firm will usually recover the compensation for you as quickly as possible to make sure that you make a healthy recover from you injuries both physically and financially. Many solicitors offer free advice with no obligation to make a claim. It would be worth you while to consider this initial course of action in the first instance and it won’t cost you a penny.

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Domestic Violence Rears Its Ugly Head

Posted on February 2, 2019 in Uncategorized

Domestic violence and domestic abuse assault are alive and well in the United States. From the time that we first wrote about this issue over eight years ago the only thing that has changed is that it appears that law enforcement officials are more aggressively pursuing domestic violence complaints. After all, they are a felony.

From a recent article about domestic violence comes this quote:

“Silence is part of the problem. Time and again it’s been shown that the secrecy shrouding domestic violence can allow it to escalate to more severe physical confrontations and tragic consequences. Silence also bolsters society’s illusion that domestic violence is not a more significant social problem, further isolating victims and abusers from getting help.”

If you think you’re doing your intimate partner a favor by keeping quiet about his assaults on you, you’re not. If you feel it’s too embarrassing to talk to a friend and help them in a domestic abuse assault situation, you’re not doing them any favors either.

Silence is not golden-especially in a domestic violence situation.

One out of every four women in the United States experiences intimate partner violence and this is not just limited to adult women. One in three high school age girls experiences violence in a dating relationship.

The percentage of women under the age of 18 who are raped by a family member is an absolutely disgusting 34%, and women who are homeless or have disabilities are especially vulnerable with their percentages over 50% likely that they will be the targets of domestic abuse assault.

The percentage of teen rape and abuse victims who report their assailant as an intimate partner is 76%.

Especially since law enforcement is taking these complaints more seriously, the chances of getting help from the law enforcement community is greatly increased. It used to be as recently as five or 10 years ago that domestic abuse or domestic violence complaints were given a wink and a nod by law enforcement-they just weren’t taken seriously. But thankfully those days appear to be over.

Women who are in a domestic abuse situation should not only arm themselves with a self-defense product like a stun gun or pepper spray, but they should seriously develop an escape plan.

A self-defense product can provide you precious minutes of relief in an assault so you can seek help. An escape plan would entail trusting a friend, neighbor or relative to harbor you in an emergency. You don’t want to leave your future in the hands of a shelter that may or may not be able to admit you.

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