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Domestic Violence

Albany Domestic Violence Attorney 

Vigorous Defense Against Allegations of Abuse and Assault 

No one disputes that domestic violence is a serious issue. Victims deserve protection, and those who commit acts of violence, harassment or intimidation against those with whom they have or had a close relationship should be held accountable. Too often, however, innocent individuals face false or exaggerated claims of domestic violence. When that happens, those accused of such acts can see their lives upended immediately, with the loss of their families, reputations, careers, and freedom all a very real possibility. If you have been charged with domestic violence, you need an experienced Albany domestic violence attorney on your side immediately.

The experienced team of committed advocates and support staff at the Law Office of James E. Tyner knows all that is on the line for individuals facing domestic violence allegations. We also know the unique urgency of the situation when police arrive to address a domestic violence accusation. Arrests are almost automatic and common notions of due process can seem non-existent as police take immediate action to protect the purported victim.

If you need an experienced, aggressive attorney to protect your rights, family and future, contact Tyner Legal today regarding charges such as:

Assertive, Experienced Protection From Harsh Consequences

When police in New York are called to deal with a domestic disturbance, they almost always arrest one of the people involved. Although this may be the only dependable way to separate the parties and prevent escalation, another common result is an unjustified criminal charge or an order of protection that will have serious consequences in your life.

At the Law Office of James E. Tyner, we take a balanced, assertive approach to defending you against a charge or conviction that can expose you to:

  • A jail sentence and/or lengthy probation term
  • An order of protection (restraining order) that can disrupt your family relationships
  • Serious restrictions on basic rights, such as your right to possess a firearm
  • Loss of your job in law enforcement, security or other fields, and a criminal record that severely limits your future prospects for employment

False Domestic Violence Allegations Are Common

There are many motivations for leveling such devastating but untruthful domestic violence charges, whether out of spite, revenge or as a tool to gain advantage in divorce, custody or other family law proceedings. That latter reason alone results in the unnecessary and unjust disruptions of tens of thousands of lives every year. In fact, one report found that:

  • About one-fourth of divorces in the U.S. involve an allegation of intimate partner violence.
  • In about 70% of those cases, the allegation is deemed to be unnecessary or false.
  • Each year, about 175,000 children are involved in a divorce with a false allegation of domestic violence.

What Types of Crimes Can Be Considered a Form of Domestic Violence?

In New York, domestic violence charges are typically based on the same underlying criminal offenses that are committed by individuals who don’t know their victims, such as assault, disorderly conduct, harassment, rape or murder. What makes such violent acts domestic violence is that there is a current or former intimate or familial relationship between the perpetrator and the victim. That means domestic violence charges can be brought not only based on acts committed by current or former spouses or romantic partners but can also be based on violent incidents between parents and children, siblings or those sharing the same household.

Victims Don’t Drop Domestic Violence Charges

Many people accused of domestic assault in Albany mistakenly believe that if they can only get the alleged victim to “drop the charges,” they will be free and clear. But accusers don’t make the ultimate decision whether to prosecute -- prosecutors do. Even if the parties reconcile, prosecutors can and often will still seek a conviction.

Depending on the nature of the alleged domestic violence offense, penalties upon conviction can range from up to a year in jail for misdemeanor offenses to years or decades in New York state prison for felony domestic violence offenses.

Orders of Protection Can Cut You Off From Your Children and Home

As noted, police and prosecutors take an immediate and urgent approach when responding to allegations of domestic violence. That is because they know that as serious as the allegations may be, acts of domestic violence can and often do lead to even more violent crimes.

As such, New York law gives law enforcement officials a powerful and sweeping tool to keep alleged perpetrators from having any contact with their alleged victims: orders of protection.

Interchangeably called a restraining order, an order of protection can dramatically limit the rights of someone accused of domestic violence. If an order of protection is issued against you, you can be prohibited from contacting the victim, you can be forced to stay away from your children, you can even get kicked out of your own home, among other severe consequences.

As bad as that is, if you violate the terms of an order of protection, you could face additional charges and wind up behind bars even if you are ultimately acquitted of any underlying domestic violence charge. If the order was entered as part of or concurrent with divorce or child custody proceedings, it could also have a negative impact on your parental rights.

While some orders of protection are temporary, they can sometimes become permanent, restricting your rights indefinitely. Given the disruption that an order of protection can cause and the consequences of violating such an order, even inadvertently, you need to consult with an experienced domestic violence attorney in Albany immediately. Your attorney can help protect your rights and work to have the restrictions on your life lifted as soon as possible.

How Are Orders of Protection Issued?

Depending on the circumstances and relationship between the parties, orders of protection can be issued by a New York Family Court, Supreme Court or Criminal Court judge. A judge can issue an order while a case is pending or as part of a final case resolution.

These orders are usually entered when someone the accused knows petitions a judge for the order based on allegations of such acts as:

  • Domestic violence
  • Spousal abuse
  • Stalking
  • Harassment
  • Threats
  • Assault
  • Child abuse
  • Endangering the welfare of a child
  • Sexual abuse

A key point about orders of protection is that they can be issued based on allegations alone, so long as those allegations are based on credible evidence and testimony. Prosecutors do not have to meet the same high burden of proof to obtain an order of protection that they do to obtain a conviction on domestic violence charges.

What to Do If You Are Charged With Domestic Violence in Albany

If you are charged with domestic violence in Albany, there are important steps you can take to protect your rights and increase your chances of a positive outcome.

  • Call a domestic violence attorney immediately. There are many mistakes you can make once the police are called and arrive to allegations of domestic violence against you. Perhaps the biggest error you can make is to think you can talk your way out of the situation or handle it yourself. As noted, only prosecutors can decide whether to continue to seek a conviction. Believing that you can get the alleged victim to “drop the charges” or convince the arriving officers or prosecutors of your innocence is a recipe for false hope, damaging admissions, and a guilty verdict. Hiring a skilled Albany domestic violence lawyer can help you avoid digging yourself an even deeper hole and position you for the best possible outcome.
  • Document everything. While it can be hard to keep your head about you in the midst of the emotions, tension and confusion surrounding an alleged domestic violence incident, you should try to remember and document as many details as you can about what happened and when. The “he said/she said” nature of these events makes it even more important to have as much contemporaneous evidence as to the truth as you can. Take notes of what was said and take pictures of any “defensive injuries” you may have suffered, such as scratch marks, bite wounds, bruises, lacerations, and other injuries.
  • Follow any orders of protection. If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, the entry of an order of protection against you can be understandably infuriating. But no matter how baseless you feel the accusations are, and regardless of how unfair you think the judge’s order is, do not violate an order of protection, even if the alleged victim tells you that they want to drop the charges or asks you to come home. If you want to have the order’s restrictions lifted, your attorney can help you do that in a way that does not put you at risk for further consequences.

We Are Steadfast Allies for Those Accused of Domestic Violence In and Around Albany

Being falsely accused of domestic violence can shake you to your core and threaten so much you hold dear. At the Law Office of James E. Tyner, we know how traumatic and disruptive these allegations can be, and we know how scary it can be to face prosecutors determined to obtain a conviction. That is why we spare no effort in our defense against these charges.

We also know that incidents of alleged domestic violence can happen any time of day or night. That is why we are available to respond to calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We endeavor to return calls within an hour so you can get the advice, counsel and guidance you need as soon as possible. If you are facing the ordeal of domestic violence allegations and are looking for a domestic violence lawyer in Albany who will be there for you both inside the courtroom and out, contact the Law Office of James E. Tyner today to arrange for your free, confidential initial consultation.

Domestic Violence FAQs

What are Typical Domestic Violence Crimes in Albany, New York?

Domestic violence crimes are any type of crime that occurs between people with a familial relationship.  Such crimes can include crimes between spouses, intimate partners or other people related by blood or marriage.

Specific examples of domestic violence crimes include:

  • Aggravated Harassment
  • Assault
  • Endangering the Welfare of a Child
  • Criminal Contempt (breaking an order of protection, what is commonly referred to as a “restraining order”)
  • Menacing
  • Stalking

Are False Domestic Violence Allegations Common? 

The emotional highs and lows of any relationship means that sometimes, people don’t always get along. This can result in one person being charged with a domestic violence crime while the motivations of the “victim” may be what is really behind the charges. The “victim” might be using the criminal justice system as a weapon to get what they want in an ongoing divorce or to increase their parenting time. They may simply want to harass or annoy the other person and watch them go through the pains of being arrested and treated like a common criminal when, in fact, they did nothing wrong.

What Can Happen to Me if I am Convicted of a Domestic Violence Crime?

Domestic violence charges can be misdemeanor or felony level charges.  No matter what, your reputation, freedom and relationship with your loved ones and children is at risk. It is important that you retain a skilled domestic violence lawyer to help you navigate an order of protection which may be issued at the beginning of your case to help prevent your case from getting worse while it is pending in the court system.

How Can I File an Order of Protection? 

Orders of Protection can be filed in either Family or Criminal Court (or both), depending on the incident at hand. There are certain steps that must be taken in order to file a petition. Furthermore, prior to petitioning either court for the protective order, certain requirements must be met. Below are the steps and prerequisites each court requires:

To file an Order of Protection in Family Court:

  • The person who wants to establish the protective order must file a “family offense petition” in Family Court.
  • The petitioner must have an “established relationship” with the person they wish to file the order against. Examples of relationships can include an existing marriage, divorce, having a child together, any blood relation such as siblings, parents, or children, a current or former intimate relationship.
  • The petitioner must make a formal allegation against the other person, meaning the petitioner must allege that the other person committed a certain crime against them.
  • Both the petitioner and the respondent have a right to an attorney (and it is advised that both attain one). If either cannot afford legal services, the court will provide representation for either or both parties.

To file an Order of Protection in Criminal Court:

  • First, the person intending on filing the Order of Protection should contact police and report that a crime has been committed against them, that they have been threatened by the other person, or that they have been harmed in any way. The harm can also be imposed upon a child and an adult petitioner can request an Order of Protection for both their own safety and that of their child/children.
  • After a formal police report has been filed, law enforcement officials may charge the alleged offender with a crime.
  • Once charges have been filed, the plaintiff and defendant may be asked to appear in court. At any point during a court appearance, a judge may issue an Order of Protection (or a Temporary Order of Protection), depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident and the severity of the alleged matter.
  • Unlike the procedure for filing an Order of Protection in Family Court, the petitioner need not attain an attorney, as they will not be actively participating in the prosecution aside from providing witness testimony. That being said, a “Victim-Witness Coordinator” may be assigned to the petitioner to advise them of their rights, legal options, and what to expect after (or if) a protective order is granted. However, the respondent will need an attorney, as they have been formally accused of a crime and must obtain legal representation.

How Long Do Orders of Protection Last? 

It is typical for an Order of Protection (also known as a restraining order) in New York to last about a year. However, depending on the circumstances of the domestic violence incident, an Order of Protection can last up to five years. Additionally, an existing Order of Protection can be extended at any point if the respondent violated the terms of order in any way or their actions escalated in such a manner as to further threaten the safety of the other party (or parties) in question. 

Can Protective Orders Be Changed or Dismissed?

In certain circumstances, yes, a protective order can be modified or even dismissed. In order to do so, either the respondent or the plaintiff can petition the Family Court to change the terms of the Order of Protection. However, if the order was issued in Criminal Court, it cannot be altered.

For protective orders issued in Family Court, the most common types of changes include the addition of an exception to the existing order. For example, an order may be modified to allow the respondent child visitation rights. Another example can involve an improved relationship between the parties in question, such as spouses making a mutual decision to reconciliate. A third example for modifying an existing Order of Protection derives from the need for both parties to have contact, such as for the purposes of making a decision regarding the sale of mutual property or decisions regarding healthcare for a child.  

Conversely, the Family Court may add additional restrictions to an existing protective order if the family’s situation has worsened in any way. Examples of actions that may increase the terms of a protective order include stalking, aggravated harassment, violent threats, physical assault, property damage, or if the respondent was in violation of the original terms of the order.   

What Is a Temporary Order of Protection?

A temporary Order of Protection is often issued before a final court decision is made if it is in the best interest of the party who suffered from domestic violence. Temporary Orders of Protection will expire once a case is closed, but if the case is ongoing, they may be extended until a final decision is made. Furthermore, a Temporary Order of Protection can be issued even if there is no proof that the defendant has committed domestic violence (or any other type of crime). It is considered more of a preemptive measure to ensure the safety of the alleged victim.

What If I Was Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence?

Oftentimes, individuals are falsely accused of domestic violence and other crimes. The reasons can vary, but among the most common are jealousy, revenge (oftentimes for cheating), an attempt to “hurt” or “punish” the person being accused for financial reasons, an attempt to obtain full custody of children, an attempt to obtain property, among other reasons.  

However, if you believe you were falsely accused of domestic violence, it is imperative that you seek legal help right away with an attorney experienced in these types of criminal allegations. Also, be sure to document any incidents that have transpired between yourself and the person who has formally accused you, such as threatening text messages, emails, or voicemails. If applicable, take pictures of any physical harm to yourself or to your property if you were assaulted by the accusing individual. Finally, take note of the dates and times the accusing party made any accusations against you during personal conversations or in public, or any time in which the person acted erratically, along with a summary of the incident. The more evidence you have, the better your chances of having the false charges dismissed.

Work With an Albany Domestic Violence Law Firm Now for Your Legal Defense

If you are facing false domestic violence accusations, an attorney at our firm will gather all available evidence and strive for a dismissal of charges. Revealing your accuser’s real motive, such as positioning for a divorce action, jealousy or basic anger, may be a critical step.

If your defense ultimately requires going to trial, you will be represented by a veteran defense attorney with extensive experience in New York criminal courts and over 15 years of experience representing individuals in domestic violence cases. Alternatively, if you know you made a mistake and want to minimize the consequences, our firm has the negotiating skills and credibility to protect your most critical interests. That is why he works tirelessly to obtain the best possible outcome for every domestic violence client he has the privilege to represent.

Please do not make the mistake of assuming domestic violence charges will go away or “get worked out.” Take a critical step to protect yourself, your relationships with your family and your future: email James today or call 518-363-6305 now to be represented by a reputable Albany domestic violence law firm.

Hear What Our Clients Have To Say

I hired Mr. Tyner last summer. Very receptive, communicated well, did everything that needed to be done, and wound up never having any charges filed after he helped out. Worth the money for peace of mind.