Interviewer: We’ll talk about domestic violence charges in New York. Is that just between a husband and wife, or it could be between siblings or other relations?
Eric: In New York a domestic violence case is any case between a husband and a wife, a boyfriend and a girlfriend, ex-husband and ex-wife, ex-boyfriend and ex-girlfriend, or anybody who has a child in common, whether or not they were ever officially married. Any crime that entails those parties will be classified as a domestic violence case.
What Is a DVM Charge?
Eric: They have an integrated part for cases that would otherwise be handled by any other party of the District Attorney’s office. These cases are handled by a domestic violence part, and then there are certain courtrooms and certain judges that are designated the domestic violence judges.
We have an actual part that is referred to as, instead of just in the old days DV, for Domestic Violence, and now they put an M at the end for DVM, for Domestic Violence Multipart.
Can An Altercation Between a Parent and a Child Be Classified as Domestic Violence?
Interviewer: Can domestic violence be classified for an altercation between parents and children, or vice versa, or siblings?
Eric: Yes, it absolutely can, and again, depending on the age of the siblings or age of the child and the parents, actually determines what court it can go to.
We have come across a situation that involved a divorced couple during a visitation. One child, who was an older teenager, didn’t want to go to the mother for visitation. She resides with the father, and a fight ensued between the mother and the daughter, where actual fighting and a regular assault case came out of this.
Where the mother was beating the child and the child actually beat the mother. The police were called. The mother got arrested. So, domestic violence can occur between siblings, or parents and children, as well. Absolutely.
What Happens If the Police Are Called to a Scene of Suspected Domestic Abuse
Interviewer: When the police are called will someone always be arrested? Or do the police try to settle people down and leave without making an arrest?
Eric: In times past the police could act as mediators and try and calm things down. However, the police are no longer authorized to do that. They will have to make an arrest and somebody will get arrested.
Then, of course, that creates the next issue, which is does somebody go to jail and where are they held during the arrest process? Again, in times past, there was the option of issuing somebody what’s called the desk appearance ticket to come back to court another day, however, the police are not authorized to do that, either.
If You Are Arrested, You Will be in the Jail or Holding Cell Before Seeing a Judge
Whoever gets arrested is going to spend the night or several hours in a holding cell, whether it’s in the jail or in the police department until they get in front of a judge. The police do not even have the discretion to make an arrest or not; they have to make the arrest, and then the case has to go in front of a judge.
Next, fact-finding or research will be performed; depending on what court it’s in. Orders of protection will be issued, and then, again, if it’s in the Family Court, that will go into the Family Court process. If it’s in the Criminal Court, or in the county court, or in the Supreme Court, depending upon what county we’re in, it’ll go along the criminal process that way.
What Actions Are Classified As Domestic Violence?
Interviewer: All right. Is domestic violence only when you’re hitting somebody, or can it be just verbal abuse, such as yelling, or threats? What is it exactly?
Eric: Well, again, everybody has the thought that domestic violence cases have to involve an act of violence, but it does not. It can be any criminal action that takes place between, again, the parties that we discussed earlier. Even a threat can be an aggravated harassment, which a lot of times comes into stalking cases, the phone calls made by the prior boyfriends and girlfriends.
One of the two of them doesn’t really want to break up, where one party does. They follow the other person, and it becomes a stalking case. One party sends repeated text messages and will make repeated phone calls.
By Eric Sachs