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Aggravated Family Offense: New York Penal Law 240.75

Domestic Violence crimes strike at the hearts of judges, juries and prosecutors. Why shouldn’t it? Both the New York Penal Law and law enforcement procedures have caught up to what in the past may have not resulted in an arrest, but merely a warning by the police. While by no means does every 911 call accurately reflect or complainant make an honest representation of a Domestic Violence crime, for the most part it is both policy and law that police officers with the NYPD or those in other municipalities will make an arrest of the alleged offender even if the evidence is weak. Because of this reality, whether you are innocent until if and when proven guilty or there is a wrongful perception of guilt from the onset of your criminal case that you may ultimately overcome, it is of critical import to understand the crimes you were arrested for and charged with, identify and secure any and all evidence, and take the steps with your Domestic Violence lawyer or criminal defense attorney to implement your best defense. Simply, any accusation of an Aggravated Family Offense, New York Penal Law 240.75, is a felony punishable by as much as four years in prison and can be overlooked, but at your own peril.

Know that when facing a criminal accusation all crimes are not created equally. In the Domestic Violence context, this rings true with crimes involving an Aggravated Family Offense. Pursuant to New York Penal Law 240.75, if you commit a specified misdemeanor and have previously been convicted of certain misdemeanors in the preceding five years, then your new offense can be considered an Aggravated Family Offense. Another way to interpret Aggravated Family Offenses is to see these crimes as law enforcement’s means to enhance or bump up repeated violations of the New York Penal Law by domestic abusers.

Aggravated Family Offense: Specified Crimes

Specified offenses identified in New York Penal Law 240.75 include ones that you would expect. These crimes include any degree of Assault, Menacing, Strangulation, Stalking, Criminal Mischief, Criminal Contempt and many other offenses set forth in NY PL 240.75(2).

  • New York Assault Crimes: NY Penal Law Article 120
  • New York Menacing Crimes: NY Penal Law Article 120
  • New York Strangulation Crimes: NY Penal Law Article 121
  • New York Stalking Crimes: NY Penal Law Article 120
  • New York Criminal Mischief Crimes: NY Penal Law Article 140
  • New York Criminal Contempt Crimes: NY Penal Law Article 215
Aggravated Family Offense: The Victim or Complainant

As a preliminary matter, the target or alleged victim of a criminal act involving an Aggravated Family Offense must be a family member as the legal term is defined. While you can explore this definition with your Domestic Violence lawyer, New York defines “family” and “domestic violence” with a wide stroke. One need not be married nor connected to the other party through blood. Intimate relationships, even those that ceased days, weeks or months before, are subject to New York’s Domestic Violence crimes and laws.

Moreover, New York Penal Law 240.75(3) does not require that the person whom the current specified offense is committed against be the same person who you were convicted of violating in the previous five years. In fact, they need not even be members of the same household.

Aggravated Family Offenses: Collateral Issues

Outside of the fact that an Aggravated Family Offenses is a class “E” felony punishable by as much as four years in prison, know that the presiding judge will issue an order of protection in favor of the complainant. Should you violate this order of protection nothing will prevent prosecutors from charging you with additional crimes including Criminal Contempt. Additionally, you should expect that the District Attorney will ask the court for significant bail. It should also go without saying that due to the nature of this crime, there is little doubt that even the accusation of violating New York Penal Law 240.75 will be a crutch in if not a debilitating blow to your career. If you are a foreign national, the concern for revocation of or limitations to your legal status in the United States should be of great concern.

Have no misgivings, New York Penal Law 240.75 may not be the harshest crime from a statutory perspective, but it is potentially a significant felony that will leave you incarcerated. Do not turn to your criminal lawyer to proverbially pat you on your back as your friend. His or her role is not to justify your conduct to you if you committed an offense, but to protect your rights. Whether the evidence is under or overwhelming, your Domestic Violence attorney has a job to protect you, hold prosecutors to their burden and to best make sure the law is upheld in your favor as innocent until if and when proven guilty.

If you are accused of an Aggravated Family Offense, be smart and put yourself in the best place to overcome the allegations or mitigate your alleged conduct. Let the New York criminal lawyers and former Domestic Violence prosecutors at Saland Law protect your rights and liberty while using their real world experience, knowledge and advocacy as your guide.

Call the New York criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan domestic violence prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today

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