New York Domestic Violence Laws [2024 Updated]

In recent years, the state of New York has imposed stricter laws to combat the rising issue of domestic violence and provide further protections to the victims involved in domestic abuse cases. This has made it increasingly important to understand these laws, so if you are ever involved in domestic violence, it is imperative that you contact an experienced NYC domestic violence attorney to help provide clarity as you navigate the challenging waters of a criminal case.

Having a thorough understanding of these laws can not only help keep yourself protected in the event that you are a victim of abuse but also if you are ever falsely accused of domestic violence and need to know what to expect as you move forward in the legal process.

At Greco Neyland, PC, we understand the severity of domestic violence allegations in New York City. Former prosecutors Jeff Greco, Dustan O. Neyland, and their team of experienced criminal defense attorneys have vast experience on the other side of the courtroom and are familiar with the tactics the prosecution will attempt to use to convict individuals who have been accused of domestic violence.

Common Domestic Violence Charges

According to New York state law, any domestic violence or domestic abuse charge is considered a criminal charge. The majority of criminal charges for domestic violence fall into the following categories:

  • Assault: An intentional act or threat that gives an individual reasonable fear that they will be harmed by another person, combined with the ability to inflict such harm. Note that no physical contact has to actually occur as long as the person intentionally acts or intimidates the other individual in a way that causes reasonable fear.
  • Harassment: Unwanted, uninvited, and unwelcomed behavior or words that threaten, intimidate, or demean a person, causing nuisance, alarm, or emotional distress without any legitimate purpose.
  • Menacing: Threatening words or actions that put another person in reasonable fear of imminent danger, injury, or death.
  • Stalking: A pattern of repeated and intentional unwanted attention, harassment, or contact directed at a specific person that would cause them reasonable fear of violence, injury, or death.

These common charges are only a few of the different types of domestic violence charges that can occur. Sexual abuse, reckless endangerment, child endangerment, and other crimes also fall under the umbrella of domestic violence and abuse.

New York Domestic Violence Laws

Domestic Violence Penalties

The legal repercussions for someone who is convicted of domestic violence can be very acute and have lasting effects on the individual’s future. In general, the severity of the penalty attached to a conviction will depend on the legal classification of the crime that was committed. Here are the various classifications for domestic violence crimes in order of increasing severity:

  • Class B Misdemeanor: Up to three months in jail and up to $500 in fines
  • Class A Misdemeanor: Up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines
  • Class E Felony: Up to four years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines
  • Class D Felony: Up to seven years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines
  • Class C Felony: Up to 15 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines
  • Class B Felony: Up to 25 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines

Provided that the person who was convicted of domestic abuse maintains a clean criminal record after serving their probation, parole, or prison sentence, they will be eligible for New York’s Clean Slate Act, which was officially passed into law and will begin taking effect on November 16, 2024.

Under this new law, an individual’s criminal record will be automatically sealed for any convictions under New York state law. There is a waiting period for the sealing of criminal records of eight years for a felony charge and three years for a misdemeanor. Some crimes will not qualify. Class A felonies (excluding drug-related offenses), sex crimes, federal crimes, or any crimes that occurred in other states. Domestic violence cases do qualify to be sealed under this new law.

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Domestic Violence Charges in New York?

Under current New York state laws, the statute of limitations for domestic violence charges is two years, which includes civil charges for any injuries that were sustained as a result of domestic violence. The statute of limitations was increased from 1 year to 2 years in 2019, giving domestic violence victims an extended time period to come forth and press charges.

This law was put in place because it can be extremely difficult for domestic violence victims to come forward and bring the abuse to the attention of authorities. Even so, it is still highly recommended that anyone who has been victimized by domestic violence contact a reputable New York City criminal defense lawyer. Having the support of a legal professional beside you can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case and can give you the necessary confidence to follow through with charges.


Q: How Do I Get a Domestic Violence Case Dismissed in New York City?

A: In New York, domestic violence charges are classified as criminal offenses, which means that once the charges have been filed by the accuser, law enforcement officers are mandated to make an arrest, and the accuser will lose any authority to drop the charges or have them dismissed. The offense will be taken over by the state, and only the state’s court will be able to drop the charges.

However, if there is evidence that there were procedural mistakes made by law enforcement or the accuser is cooperating with the criminal defense attorney to provide testimony that the defendant did not commit any acts of domestic violence, then you may be able to get the case dismissed.

Q: What Percentage of Domestic Violence Cases Get Dismissed in the USA?

A: It’s estimated that 80%-90% of domestic violence accusers recant their original statements in an effort to drop the case. However, because domestic violence or domestic abuse is considered a crime against the state, only the state can drop the case and have it dismissed. Oftentimes, the prosecution will disregard the accuser’s attempt to recant their original statement and continue to proceed with the charges.

Q: How Long Does Domestic Violence Stay on Your Record in New York?

A: According to the Clean Slate Act, which is a new state law that will begin taking effect on November 16, 2024, an individual’s criminal record will automatically be sealed for any convictions under New York state law.

The official waiting period for criminal records to be sealed is three years for a misdemeanor and eight years for a felony. This does not include any federal crimes, sex crimes, sexual violence crimes, class A felonies (excluding drug-related offenses), or crimes committed in other states. However, it does include most domestic violence cases.

Q: How Long Do Most Domestic Violence Cases Last?

A: Exactly how long a domestic violence case lasts is dependent on a wide variety of factors, including the severity of the charges (misdemeanor vs. felony), whether there is a guilty plea by the defendant or the case goes to trial, how cooperative the accuser is with the prosecution and the criminal defense team, and many others. Some cases can be handled in just a matter of days, while others can take up to as long as a year.

Whether you are a victim of domestic violence and are seeking protection or have been falsely accused of abuse and need qualified legal representation to fight the charges, understanding the various laws and penalties associated with domestic violence is as crucial as ever. Reach out to Greco Neyland, PC, and we can support you during this distressing time while we fight aggressively for your rights. Contact our firm for a free consultation.

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About The Author

Jeffery Greco

Jeffery Greco is an attorney providing legal services covering Criminal Defense and Criminal Defense: White Collar and Criminal Defense: DUI / DWI. Jeffery Greco, who practices law in New York, New York, was selected to Super Lawyers for 2020 - 2023. This peer designation is awarded only to a select number of accomplished attorneys in each state. The Super Lawyers selection process takes into account peer recognition, professional achievement in legal practice, and other cogent factors. Prior to becoming an attorney, he studied at South Texas College of Law Houston. He graduated in 2004. After passing the bar exam, he was admitted to legal practice in 2005.

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