When a New York Misdemeanor Domestic Violence Arrest Becomes a Felony: Aggravated Family Offenses

New York Penal Law 240.75 is a section of New York’s criminal law that is somewhat of an unknown in the non-legal community. There is much support behind the concept that if you repeatedly commit and are convicted of domestic violence crimes or family offenses, at some point an order of protection and some degree of incarceration in a local or county jail is not enough.

To combat this concern, New York State created the crime of Aggravated Family Offense pursuant to New York Penal Law 240.75. Whether your New York domestic violence lawyer advises you on this statute or you missed the opportunity and you are standing before a criminal court judge for sentencing, know that your exposure on this class “E” felony is quite serious. In fact, what was only a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in a county jail can no be a felony with a potential sentence of up to four years “upstate.” If you have a prior felony regardless of whether its violent, domestic or white collar and you were convicted of that offense in the prior ten years, because Aggravated Family Offenses are class “E” felonies, a conviction would not merely be as great as four years, but you would also face a mandatory one and a half to three years in prison. Regardless, living within the confines of the New York State or local county department of corrections for any period of time is a miserable way to tick away the days of your life.

For the purpose of providing a basic understanding of New York Penal Law 240.75 know that if you commit certain misdemeanor crimes – Third Degree Assault, Third Degree Menacing, Fourth Degree Stalking, Fourth Degree Criminal Mischief, among others – and this is not your first “rodeo” in terms of criminal convictions for specified offenses such as those just listed, the District Attorney prosecuting your case has the ability to kick up your otherwise misdemeanor infraction to a felonious one. Obviously, both this new arrest and your prior conviction must constitute a domestic violence crime and family offense. However, its equally important to recognize that the prior family offense conviction need not involve the current complainant.

In sum, the following should be your guide:

Aggravated Family Offenses are not crimes distinct from the misdemeanors they are born from, but an enhancement of those same illegal acts when you, the accused, have perpetrated a domestic violence crime in the previous five years and are now alleged to have perpetrated any of the specified offenses in the domestic context once again.

To better understand New York domestic violence crimes and laws, New York Family Court orders of protection, and any of the crimes referenced above, follow the respective link.

Founded by two former Manhattan prosecutors, Crotty Saland PC represents clients who are both accused and victims of domestic violence crimes and family offenses throughout New York City and the Hudson Valley.