What Exactly Is A Family Offense?

In New York, a family offense is a domestic violence crime that is, in effect, prosecuted in family court. The language within the Family Court Act, which is the statute that governs family law cases in New York, matches the language in the criminal statute. In fact, it merely refers the reader over to the criminal statute. It constitutes a variety of offenses and each year, that list grows. The most common traditional offenses are assault, menacing, and harassment of various forms. Over the years, it has expanded to include things like identity theft, strangulation, stalking, and reckless endangerment. A family offense is only constituted if someone proves their burden at trial that the respondent has committed an actual family offense pursuant to the statute.

What Are Some Specific Examples Of Family Offenses Under New York Law?

The comprehensive list of family offenses includes disorderly conduct, harassment, aggravated harassment, sexual misconduct, forcible touching, sexual abuse, stalking, criminal mischief, menacing, reckless endangerment, criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, strangulation, assault or attempted assault, identity theft, and grand larceny. There are varying degrees of each crime. Murder and attempted murder are not included, as the legislature decided that those serious crimes can only be prosecuted in the criminal court.

How Do I Go About Filing A Family Offense Petition And Go About Obtaining An Order Of Protection In Family Court?

The easiest and fastest way to file a family offense petition is to go to the family court in the county where you reside. The clerks will assist you with filing a family offense petition. One can also file at a domestic violence shelter, but ultimately that filing has to be brought to Family Court. In New York City, there is a program called Safe Horizons that can initiate family offense filings on behalf of domestic violence victims. There are also satellite courts set up around New York City, through which a person can file a petition.

For more information on Family Offense Petitions In New York State, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (914) 368-7580 today.