Domestic violence lawyers provide legal representation to individuals charged with domestic assault or other violent crimes. They also assist with issues related to restraining orders and child custody.
Domestic violence lawyers conduct thorough case assessments, examine evidence and witness testimonies, and develop strategic approaches to their clients’ defenses. They attend arraignments, hearings and trials and represent clients through the entire legal process.
The purpose of a restraining order is to keep an abusive person away from you and your family. It can include provisions on staying away, no contact, restraining their weapons, and a warrant to have law enforcement search their homes and confiscate any weapons they have. It can also contain emergency monetary relief, such as the payment of rent, a change of locks, or purchase of airplane tickets and vehicles.
A restraining order has legal force as soon as it is approved by a judge in either civil or criminal court. An emergency protective or temporary restraining order can be obtained after just one phone call to the court by you, your attorney, the police officer who responded to your abuse report or other people.
Many jurisdictions allow for a hearing within 30 days of service to decide whether a final restraining order will remain in effect. This is where you will need to present your evidence to the judge, including statements from friends and neighbors or digital communication records.
In addition to assisting with domestic violence-related issues like restraining orders, a criminal defense lawyer can help defend against domestic assault charges. The consequences of a conviction can have far-reaching impact on your life, including jail time and fines. Domestic violence charges can be either a misdemeanor or felony offense depending on the case’s specific circumstances and your abuser’s criminal history.
A New York City domestic violence attorney can use the government’s own strategy against it to get your charges reduced or dismissed. This can be done by discrediting the alleged victim’s account of what happened, or focusing on evidence that proves an element of the crime did not occur. Unlike Family Court cases, criminal cases involving domestic violence are often funneled into the Integrated Domestic Violence (IDV) part of Manhattan Criminal Court. As a result, prosecutors and judges in this division take allegations much more seriously than they do in other parts of the city or suburban counties such as Long Island, Westchester and Rockland.
Child custody is one of the most important issues for parents when a divorce occurs. It also affects unmarried couples who separate. In some cases, domestic violence allegations can play a significant role in custody and visitation disputes.
A court can award joint legal and physical custody or sole legal and physical custody. In joint custody, both parents share responsibility for making major decisions on the child’s behalf. This includes matters like healthcare, education and religious upbringing. The Judge will also consider the actual day-to-day supervision and care of the child (this is often referred to as physical custody). The parent who has physical custody will usually be known as the custodial party. The other parent may have rights to visitation time which are outlined in a visitation schedule and agreement.
Typically, the past conduct of a spouse will not be taken into consideration for custody or access arrangements unless it directly affects their ability to act as a parent. For example, if a spouse has an extensive history of domestic violence against their partner or children, this could lead to a finding of abuse and prevent them from getting custody or access to their kids.
Depending on the circumstances, an allegation of domestic violence can be handled in either family or criminal court. An experienced attorney can help determine where a case should be filed and whether the alleged victim is reliable.
A common defense strategy is to show that the prosecution failed to meet its burden of proof. Since the state must prove every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, this is a strong argument that can help a defendant get their charges dropped.
In addition, a lawyer may argue that a client was falsely accused of domestic violence for a variety of reasons. For example, an abusive spouse may accuse their partner of abuse in order to gain a financial advantage, obtain custody, or carry out a vendetta against them. In such cases, an attorney can highlight inconsistencies in the alleged victim’s story or other evidence to discredit her allegations. If a trial is necessary, a family law lawyer can also prepare for the case to be heard by a judge or jury.