Accused of strangling and slamming the complainant’s head into a radiator during a domestic violence dispute, a recent Crotty Saland PC client faced up to seven years in prison after being arrested for and charged with Second Degree Assault, New York Penal Law 120.05, and Second Degree Strangulation, New York Penal Law 121.12. Quite serious felony crimes in New York, the criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC had their hands full. Our client, who maintained his/her innocence, refuted the objectively serious allegations from the onset of his/her arrest. Hauled into an NYPD precinct, questioned by detectives and both booked and arraigned on these two felonies, the District Attorney’s Office asserted in the felony complaint that not only did our client strangle the complainant until he/she lost consciousness, but our client repeatedly slammed the complainant’s head into a radiator in the neighborhood of fifteen time, gouged at the alleged victim’s eyes and punched him/her in the nose. Not only did the complainant black out twice, but our client also allegedly brandished scissors while threatening to kill his/her domestic partner. Facing a minimum of two years in prison and a maximum of seven years incarcerated if convicted of either PL 120.05 or PL 121.12, the New York domestic violence attorneys at Crotty Saland PC expected the worst at arraignment, but what seemed to be an objectively horrific incident if true, slowly evolved into a case that was far from what it seemed.
Before briefly discussing this domestic violence arrest, know that if you are accused of such a crime, the criminal lawyers at Crotty Saland PC, should we agree to accept your criminal case, have an obligation not to be your friend or personal apologist. If you are looking for someone to give you the answer you want to hear so that you feel better, stop reading now and hire different counsel. Regardless of whomever you retain, however, if you perpetrate a violent crime in the domestic context, secure the help you need to get your life in order. As tough and bad as you think you may be, know there is someone in prison who is far more tough and quite bigger.
Spiel behind us, because Crotty Saland PC firmly believes in protecting a client’s due process rights and holding the People to their burden of proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt regardless of the veracity of a complainant or strength of a criminal case, our New York criminal lawyers immediately went to work for our client. One of the first red flags that the complainant might be misrepresenting what occurred was that despite the allegations, the criminal court only set $4,000 bond or $2,000 cash bail. Even more telling, and directly relevant, pictures from the complainant and a police report from the NYPD shed more light onto what did and did not transpire between the parties. The alleged dozen plus radiator slams and gouging of the eyes resulted, even if believed as true, in what appeared to be a fingernail type scratch to the cheek, red eyes and a bump on the head. Without proof that the bump was recent, red eyes consistent with the alleged victim crying (from what we admitted was an oral argument and heated dispute) and no redness to the complainant’s neck or other injuries, questions about the legitimacy of the accusation percolated more. In fact, the complainant did not ask nor receive medical treatment with a physician or at a hospital and our client had a scratched neck of his/her own. Simply, the physical evidence was not consistent with the magnitude of the allegations.
After returning to court a few times and sharing with the Assistant District Attorney assigned to the case some background information about the relationship dynamic, the complainant’s issues and other factors, what began as a serious felony was reduced to a misdemeanor. Following the steady decline of the case, the prosecution then offered our client a Disorderly Conduct violation before ultimately dismissing the case.
While the NYPD should not be faulted for making a domestic violence arrest, the judge should not be second guessed for initially issuing an order of protection and the prosecution should not be questioned for taking multiple months to investigate the case, when you are the subject of a wrongful, embellished or false criminal accusation, you need to best ensure you have the right advocacy to secure justice even if there are frightening bumps along the way. As scary as it might be and as real as accusations often are, every case, accuser, and defendant, as well as the evidence that is the foundation of a criminal case, must be examined and reviewed on its own merits. Fortunately for this client of Crotty Saland PC, our criminal lawyers and the New York criminal justice system did just that.
To learn about the above crimes of Second Degree Assault and Second Degree Strangulation, both class “D” violent felonies, follow their respective links. To better understand New York domestic violence crimes, Crotty Saland PC’s New York Domestic Violence Crimes and Law Information Page is available for review.
Crotty Saland PC is a New York criminal defense firm founded by two former Manhattan prosecutors who both served in the Domestic Violence Unit. Crotty Saland PC’s New York criminal lawyers represent clients both in New York City and the Hudson Valley region.