If you and your spouse or partner are heading for a breakup, things are probably tense between you. In fact, they may be worse than tense. When relationships deteriorate, there are often loud arguments, threats and perhaps violence. Because the situation with your partner is especially volatile, you may be facing the risk or reality of domestic abuse charges.
Whether things got out of hand or your ex is using abuse allegations as a weapon against you, these accusations are nothing to shrug off. Charges of domestic abuse can place you in a difficult predicament, and you may not realize how seriously they may affect your future and place your life as you know it at risk.
What to expect
Every state has strict laws related to domestic violence, and New York is no exception. In most cases, acts of violence fall under normal assault laws unless they occur between two people who are intimately related, such as by marriage, present or former romantic relationship, blood relatives or common habitation. Because of the intimacy of these relationships and the greater potential for an abuser to control a victim, authorities typically act swiftly when called to deal with a domestic violence situation, including:
- Mandatory arrest, especially if there is evidence that an assault has occurred, such as bruises or bleeding on the accuser
- The filing of criminal charges
- A hearing before a judge who will determine whether to release you or hold you in jail until your next court appearance
- The setting of your bail, the scheduling of your next court date and other instructions
If the judge releases you, which may happen within 48 hours of your arrest, he or she will likely warn you to avoid contact with your accuser. This may mean the forbiddance of you returning to your home to gather your belongings and preventing you from contacting your children. This last restriction may be especially difficult if you are involved in a custody dispute with your ex.
Your future on the line
The consequences of a domestic violence conviction are not an overstatement. Your chances of obtaining custody of your children, your job and future career opportunities, and many of your basic civil rights, may disappear. The loss of your reputation due to these criminal charges is also not a minor thing to consider.
It is wise to remain calm and respectful with law enforcement and to seek legal counsel before answering any questions. You will also want to carefully consider the steps you will take to build the delicate defense strategy necessary to fight domestic abuse charges.