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Domestic Assault / Spousal Abuse

False allegations of domestic assault or spousal abuse are more common than people think. Especially during a breakup, divorce, or child custody battle, one side might make a false allegation to gain an advantage. Other times a person will call the police for help without any desire for an arrest only to learn that the police do not take into consideration the complaining witness's wishes.

The penalties for domestic assault depend on the way the crime is classified. Domestic assault in the first degree is classified as B violent felony which carries a statutory penalty of 5-25 years in prison. The penalty for domestic assault in the second degree, which is classified as a D violent felony, is between 2-7 years.

Most assault charges are classified as a misdemeanor. For instance, third-degree assault, second-degree menacing, and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation are classified as class A misdemeanors which are punishable by imprisonment of less than 1 year or a fine of up to $1,000.

Attorney for Domestic Assault Crimes in Queens, NY

Domestic assault is considered a form of domestic violence (sometimes called "spousal abuse.") If you were accused of any form of domestic assault against a girlfriend / boyfriend, husband / wife, parent, sibling, or child, then contact attorney Rochelle Berliner in Queens, N.Y., to discuss your case.

Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner represents both men and women in domestic assault cases throughout the five boroughs of New York City: Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Many of Rochelle Berliner's clients are professionals working in New York City who never imagined such an allegation would be made against them.

Any charge of domestic violence has serious repercussions and collateral consequences that can last a lifetime if the case is not fought aggressively.

After an arrest for domestic assault, college students are subject to disciplinary action including expulsion. Professionals such as members of the military, nurses and doctors, lawyers and law school students, and certified educators and teachers face the most serious collateral consequences. Without proper representation, the allegations can sometimes be career-ending.

Call 718-261-5600 today.


Domestic Assault Information Center


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Definition of Domestic Assault and Violence in New York

Under Section 120.00, assault in the third degree is classified as a class A misdemeanor, which requires proof beyond all reasonable doubt that:

  • the defendant causes injury to a person or to a third person with the intent to cause physical injury to another person; or
  • the defendant recklessly causes physical injury to another person; or
  • the defendant causes physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument with criminal negligence.

The State of New York defines domestic violence (DV) as:

"A pattern of coercive tactics, which can include physical, psychological, sexual, economic and emotional abuse, perpetrated by one person against an adult intimate partner, with the goal of establishing and maintaining power and control over the victim."

Domestic assault constitutes a serious threat to the safety of women and children in this country. Any allegation is treated very seriously. The Justice Department estimates that two million women are severely assaulted by their partners annually.

The Justice Department estimated that nearly one-third of emergency room visits by women stem from domestic abuse. Many argue, however, that the pendulum has swung too far in favor of individuals making false allegations.


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Domestic Violence Bureau in Queens, N.Y.

In Queens, N.Y., domestic assault cases are funneled through the Domestic Violence Bureau. The DV Bureau was established in August of 2000 to prosecutes misdemeanor and felony cases involving domestic partners. The prosecutors in these divisions do nothing but prosecute these difficult cases.

The prosecutors in the Domestic Violence Bureau are specially trained to deal with the complex inter-personal dynamic involved in these types of cases. Misdemeanor and felony domestic assault cases are often difficult to prosecute for the following reasons:

  • the alleged victim is the only witness to the offense and other than that testimony, no other evidence exists to support the allegations;
  • the alleged victim DOES NOT want to prosecute because:
    • he or she only wanted the other person removed from the house and did not realize that the other person would be arrest;
    • the allegations were exaggerated by the police;
    • the contact was only an accident but the police made an arrest anyway;
    • the District Attorney's Office is prosecuting the case more aggressively than deserved which is more devastating to the family than the original incident.
  • the alleged victim DOES want to prosecute because;
    • it will give the complaining witness an advantage in a pending divorce or child custody battle;
    • the allegation of made out of spite to get the person accused out of the house;
    • it is the only way for the alleged victim to avoid deportation because the pending charge allows the alleged victim to apply for a U-Visa.

If you need a domestic assault attorney in Queens, call the Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner to talk about your pending criminal charges.


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Domestic Assault Cases in Brooklyn, N.Y.

In New York City, Brooklyn had the highest rate of reported domestic assault and violence cases last year, according to the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services. Those domestic violence cases included 22 homicides. See People v. Martinez, 40 Misc.3d 1204(A), Unreported Disposition, Supreme Court, Kings County, New York (July 2, 2013).

In 2014, prosecutors in Brooklyn handled more than 8,000 domestic violence cases. At least four people have been killed in Brooklyn in crimes involving intimate relationships in 2014.

About 3,000 cases of domestic violence are opened at any one time. See "In Brooklyn, a Move to Thwart Deadly Domestic Abuse," Stephanie Clifford, September 26, 2014.


Additional Resources

Brooklyn Family Justice Center - In 2005 by the New Your City Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office established the Brooklyn Family Justice Center. The center is funded by the United States Justice Department's Office on Violence Against Women. The family justice center in Brooklyn coordinates various services for alleged domestic violence victims in one location.

New York's Section 120.00 for Assault in the Third Degree - Visit the website of the New York Senate to find the statutory language for offenses against the person involving physical injury including assault and related charges in Article 120 including Section 120.01 for Reckless Assault Of A Child By A Child Day Care Provider and Section 120.00 for Assault in the third degree.


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Finding a Domestic Assault Attorney in Queens

If you were charged with domestic assault after a fight with a loved one, hire an aggressive and experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you in the case. Queens domestic assault lawyer Rochelle Berliner is experienced in all types of domestic violence cases throughout the greater New York City area.

When you call 718-261-5600 or submit an online form, you can schedule a free consultation either in the office or over the phone to discuss the facts of your case.

Your consultation with Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner is completely free and confidential.


This article was last updated on Friday, March 19, 2021.

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Rochelle Berliner
Rochelle Berliner

Rochelle Berliner grew up in Queens, NY. She started New York Law School in January 1989 and graduated in June 1991. Immediately after law school, she started working at the New York County District Attorney’s Office, where she stayed for approximately 14 years...

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