Similar to other states, the New York legal system handles domestic violence cases seriously. Although some charges for violence in the home prove to be wrongful accusations, most do not end on a light note. Penalties for domestic violence charges can range from prison time of one year to 25 or more years, and typically come with costly fees, as well.
As of 2012, New York has strengthened its laws surrounding violence in the home. WNYC news reported on the details of this change, stating that New York established a new felony for repeat, low-level domestic violence offenses. Because many abusers are not deterred by the former mild charges — all of which carried minor penalties — they continued abusive behavior toward their household. Signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the measure extends to individuals who have previous misdemeanor charges involving family violence within the last 5 years, and subsequently commit a second misdemeanor. Punishment for this charge is 1 to 4 years in prison. The new measures also prevent anyone charged with a person’s death as a result of domestic violence from controlling that person’s burial.
The New York State Senate offers a resource that clarifies the changes made in 2012, adding that the new measures allow the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence to examine factors involved in these types of crimes through a domestic violence fatality review team. The update also expands the factors courts must consider when handling penalties for domestic violence crimes. As for the Aggravated Family Offense update, in which an abuser commits one or more acts of violence within a 5-year span, types of crimes considered a “special offense” include, but are not limited to:
- Reckless endangerment
- Sexual abuse
In addition to extended penalties for such crimes, the relatively new measures also work to better protect and assist victims of domestic violence in New York.