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NYC Criminal Defense Attorney
Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Lawyer - NYC

Your NYC Domestic Violence Arrest

Being arrested and charged with domestic violence in New York City can be a frightening, stressful, and complicated experience. You can lose your freedom, home, job, and passport for simply being arrested and before the issue of your guilt or innocence has been decided. Your freedom and/or passport can be affected if bail is set at the arraignment (your first appearance in court immediately after arrest). Your home can be lost if the judge issues an order of protection (restraining order) that prohibits you from entering a shared residence where the victim lives or lived. Your employment can be affected if your employer finds out about the arrest or if your arrest and/or future court dates causes an impermissible absence from work. Misdemeanors, the least serious type of domestic violence cases, generally carry penalties of up to a year in jail and felonies carry the risk of a long state prison sentence. Domestic violence charges are the same as for non-domestic related violence but the "domestic" designation to the violence used can enhance enforcement and penalties.

At the Law Offices of Lance Fletcher, we are able to provide a tough and experienced defense for clients accused of misdemeanor or felony domestic violence charges. Regardless of the facts and circumstances of your case, we are able to take immediate action to avoid conviction, contest the order of protection, and fight to get your case dismissed. Lance Fletcher prosecuted numerous domestic violence cases while a prosecutor at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. As a former prosecutor, he is able to draw upon this experience to effectively advocate for his clients because he is experienced not only in interpreting domestic violence statues, but also in understanding how the system interprets different cases. Lance Fletcher will carefully analyze every detail of the prosecutor’s case so we can carefully explore and pursue every possible avenue to get the charges dropped. As part of this, he carefully reviews the nuances and inconsistencies of the different accounts made by the accuser.

Domestic Violence Definition. In New York, Domestic violence is a general term for crimes committed against people related by blood, a past or current marriage, domestic partnership, or living arrangement, blood (consanguinity), or having children in common. Victims can include current or former romantic partners, parents, and children.

Domestic Violence Laws. New York Domestic violence laws are a collection of laws designed to work together to prosecute offenders, enhance penalties, and protect victims. Domestic violence laws are triggered whenever a criminal offense is committed against a victim who has a past or current relationship with the accused.

The New York City Police Department (NYPD) has a tough mandatory arrest policy when investigating domestic violence. This means that if you are suspected of domestic violence, even if the facts are less than clear, you may be automatically arrested and prosecuted without a chance to tell your side. Additionally, in New York City domestic violence cases, the prosecutor often attempts to get a statement from you before you have a chance to get a lawyer. Any statement can turn into a confession and hurt your case. In court, the District Attorney is under pressure to secure a conviction with a harsh sentence because the public is increasingly concerned that domestic abusers are getting away with it.

Once the prosecution starts, you might be prosecuted even if the victim recants (takes it back) and tells the prosecutor they don’t want to press charges. This is because the District Attorney, in anticipating that many domestic violence victims recant after the arrest, uses every legal strategy available to continue the prosecution. In some cases, this means using prior statements the accuser made to the police in which the accuser detailed the crime. Depending on the severity of the charges, you could face imprisonment (up to 1 year for misdemeanors), probation, mandatory counseling, community services, as well as having an order of protection issued against you that may prevent you from communicating with your loved ones.

No actual "violence" needed. A large number of domestic violence cases involve only threats, stalking, harassment, and other non-violent accusations. We have even defended clients who were accused of theft for stealing a former intimate partner’s property and cases where our client was charged with intentionally damaging the victim’s property (such as furniture that was damaged during a loud argument). With the rise of texting, email, and social networking, there has been a steady rise in these types of cases. The penalties for misdemeanor theft, property damage (criminal mischief), stalking, harassment, or other threatening communications is largely the same as for violent misdemeanors. Both types are usually charged as class A misdemeanors which carry a one year jail maximum.

Hire an experienced and skilled trial lawyer.

Many lawyers have some experience negotiating but how many focus on criminal cases or have extensive trial experience? An inexperienced lawyer or a lawyer who is spread too thin handling family, personal injury, or civil cases may be unfamiliar with what they should and what they should not do when preparing your defense. Prosecutors are aware of this and will notice if your attorney is not taking the right steps to defend you and may offer you a less favorable outcome. Lance Fletcher, a former Manhattan prosecutor, has extensive trial experience which means he knows how to prepare your defense for the maximum benefit.

Dynamic of Domestic Violence and Why it Matters to Your Case

Situational violence – argument leads to isolated incidence of physical violence. Not part of a larger pattern of domination, abuse, or control. Here, women are more likely to be abusers as in other dynamics of abuse but women are more likely to be injured (Ooms, Theodora (2006).

Intimate terrorism – Pattern of ongoing psychological control. Physical, emotional, and other tools are used interchangeably to wear away the victim’s resistance. A power and control wheel graphic has been developed by the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence.

domestic violence info graphic nyc domestic violence lawyer

Violent resistance – situations where the victim violently lashes out against the abuser (such as battered spouse syndrome)

Common couple violence – situations where both partners routinely engage in domestic violence

Mutual violent control – both partners use violence to battle for control

Types of Domestic Violence




Murder -

History of Domestic Violence in the United States

Historically, there has been strong public pressure to track not only violent offenses, but violence that happens in the home. Although domestic violence often concerns people in the context of an intimate relationship, it may apply to other violence that occurs within the home such as violence against child by a parent, against a parent by a child, or between siblings. Domestic violence trends are monitored by national and international agencies, governmental, and non-governmental agencies. Women are the most common victims of domestic violence, suffering a disproportionate amount of the physical and mental harm. Men can also be victims of domestic violence and because they do not fit the more common victim profile (which are women), men may be more hesitant to complain because they may fear being ridiculed or not taken seriously. Some racial groups face disproportionately higher rates of domestic violence. About 60% of Native American women will be victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives.

Domestic violence often results from relationship power struggles that result from both partners struggling for control, one partner unilaterally seeking total control, or something in-between. Violent and non-violent tactics may be used by one or both partners. In some countries, domestic violence is more rampant than in the Unites States. The rate of Domestic violence in Central America, India, Africa, and the Middle East is particularly high.

About 1 to 3 million incidents of domestic violence happen annually in the United States. Women report abuse about six times more often than men. Sadly, domestic violence happens against pregnant women which can lead to the death of the fetus. About one in four women in the US will be victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives and domestic violence is a leading cause of injury for adult women.

Mandatory Arrest Policies. New York City, like many other places in the US, have mandatory arrest policies. Typically, a police officer can make an arrest when he/she has probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. Probable cause is the subjective but reasonable belief that a particular person did particular things that constituted a criminal offense. If a police officer sees certain things that give him/her probable cause, the police officer is, legally, able to make an arrest but is not typically required to make the arrest. For example, sometimes people have had experience talking police officers out of making an arrest in a situation where the officer was allowed to (such as with suspected DWI, a bar fight, being disorderly in public). Mandatory arrest policies prevent a police officer from not making an arrest if he has probable cause. Under a mandatory arrest policy, the police officer’s personal desire to not make the arrest (such as because he doesn’t want to be bothered, or “likes” the accused) can’t prevent the officer from making the arrest and the arrest must proceed. In 1981-1982, the Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment was done which looked at several possible ways to handle a domestic violence complaint including (1) sending the abuser away for 8 hours, (2) giving advice and mediation to both parties, and (3) making an arrest. Making a domestic violence arrest was found to be the most effective response. In the years that followed, 23 states and Washington DC adopted mandatory arrest policies as a way to respond to domestic violence arrests.

Perpetuators of domestic violence are subject to arrest and criminal prosecution in New York Criminal Court. Although assault is the most common type of charge, strangulation, harassment, theft, criminal mischief, and other charges can be added depending on what is alleged to have happened. Domestic violence allegations can have significant impact on child custody proceedings because if one parent is viewed as being abusive, a family court may decide to award custody to the non-abusive spouse to protect the child from past or possible future abuse.

Common Domestic Violence Charges

P.L. 120.00 – Assault in the First Degree 
P.L. 110/120.00 – Attempted Assault 
P.L. 240.26 – Harassment 
P.L. 240.30 – Aggravated Harassment

Domestic Violence Case Results

Manhattan (3028) - Client was arrested for assaulting his wife with whom he has a young

child. He was seen hitting her by the doorman. His wife received treatment in a hospital. He was later arrested for violating the order of protection. Client faced up to a year in jail and loss of his professional license. Prosecutor initially offered 90 days in jail. Result: no jail, no permanent criminal record, and no probation.

Queens (1100) - Client arrested for harassing his wife. He faced up to a year in jail. Result: No jail, all criminal charges dropped, small fine.

Manhattan (1778) - Client arrested for stabbing boyfriend. Client arrested after police spoke to her boyfriend in the hospital. Client charged with felony assault in the first degree and faced possible attempted murder charges and up to 20 years in prison and a felony conviction. Result: Case dismissed.

Brooklyn (3260) - Client arrested for assaulting his girlfriend and causing physical injury. Client faced up to a year in jail and international travel problems if convicted. Result: Case dismissed.

Queens (1226) - Client arrested for intentionally damaging her boyfriends car by scratching the paint and mirrors and lights. Client faced up to a year in jail. Result: Case dismissed.

Manhattan (3034) - Client arrested for punching his wife and threatening her with a knife. Client faced up to a year in jail. Client later threatened with felony charges for allegedly raping her (marriage is not a defense to rape) and could have faced up to 20 years. Result: Case dismissed.

Queens (2530) - Client arrested for assaulting and pushing wife. Client faced up to a year in jail, immigration consequences, and loss of his nursing license if convicted. Result: All criminal charges dropped, no jail, no probation, small fine.

Manhattan (3019) - Client arrested for assaulting girlfriend. Initially, client faced felony charges, up to 5 years in state prison, permanent loss of professional license and investment banking job. Client later arrested for violating order of protection and faced an additional year in jail. Result: No jail, no felony conviction.

Brooklyn (2226) - Client arrested three times for assault and related offenses regarding his girlfriend. Because he had three misdemeanors, he faced up to three years in jail if convicted. Result: All criminal charges dropped, brief program, small fine.

Manhattan - (936) - Client arrested for burglary and domestic violence. Client faced a possible state prison sentence. Result: No felony, no criminal record, all criminal charges dropped.

The Bronx - (3123) - Client arrested for assaulting his girlfriend. She presented many photos to the NYPD documenting the assault and client partially confessed. He faced up to a year in jail if convicted. Result: No jail, no criminal record, small fine and a brief program.

Manhattan - (3210) - Client arrested for allegedly punching his wife. Client faced up to a year and immigration consequences. Result: No jail, no criminal record, case ultimately dismissed.

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Arrested or contacted by NYPD? Contact us today. Call or text: (212) 619-3900

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