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New York Domestic Violence Laws

In order to facilitate domestic violence victims' access to protective and prosecutorial resources, New York family courts and criminal courts have concurrent jurisdiction over "family offenses" such as assault, sexual misconduct or abuse, stalking, menacing, and strangulation. As a result, victims of domestic violence may bring civil charges in family court, criminal charges in criminal court, or simultaneous actions in both courts. Victims may also apply for an order of protection from either court, including an order that the defendant stay away from the victim and the children involved.

While New York's criminal laws do not differentiate between domestic-violence related crimes and other offenses, it nonetheless criminalizes several violent acts which may occur between members of the same family or household.

Overview of New York Domestic Violence Laws

The chart below contains some additional information on New York's domestic violence laws.


Domestic violence applies to crimes between members of the same family or household which includes those who:

  • are related by consanguinity or affinity;
  • are legally married
  • are formerly married
  • have a child in common
  • have been in an intimate relationship even if not living together

Family offenses such as those described above face a wide range of penalties under New York law. For instance, conviction of a violent felony offense such as first-degree assault will impose a sentence of 5 to 25 years in prison or a fine of up to $5,000. First-degree strangulation - another violent felony offense - will result in imprisonment of 3.5 to 15 years or a similar fine of up to $5,000.

Offenses including third-degree assault, second-degree menacing, and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation are classified as class A misdemeanors, and thereby punishable by imprisonment of less than 1 year or a fine of up to $1,000.


Defenses to a charge of disorderly conduct can include:

  • Justification (for assault where parent uses non-deadly force on children under 21 years old in order to discipline or restrain)
  • Self-defense (for assault where aggressor effectively communicates his or her withdrawal but victim continues the incident through the use of threatened imminent or unlawful physical force)
  • Medical or dental purpose (for strangulation and related offenses)
  • Mental disease or defect

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

New York Domestic Violence Laws: Related Resources

You can click on the links below to learn more information on related laws in New York.

Need Help With A Domestic Violence Case? Talk to an Attorney Today

Allegations of domestic violence are treated seriously, and rightfully so. If you're facing criminal charges based on allegations of domestic violence, you face not only jail time, but also the loss of access to your loved ones. Ensure that your rights are protected by speaking with an experienced New York criminal defense lawyer near you. 

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