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What is the process for a domestic violence case in New York?

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2024 | Criminal Defense

In the state of New York, addressing domestic violence is a serious matter. The legal processes in place exist to protect those who experience abuse and ensure justice.

If you are navigating through a domestic violence case, there are steps you can take to help ensure a favorable outcome. Understanding the sequence of events that typically unfold in these types of cases can lead you to the next steps you should take.

Initiating the complaint

The process begins when you report the incident of domestic violence to law enforcement. The police will investigate the matter, collecting evidence and statements from those involved. You should provide as much detail as possible to aid in the investigation.

Issuance of an Order of Protection

Following a report, the court may issue an Order of Protection. This legal document restricts the abuser’s contact with you, ensuring your safety. Violating this order carries serious consequences.

Arraignment hearing

If the authorities determine there is enough evidence to proceed, the accused appears before a judge for an arraignment. At this stage, the charges are formally presented, and the accused hears their rights. The judge will then decide whether to release the accused on their own recognizance. New York courts rarely set bail in these types of cases.

Pretrial and trial proceedings

Like many other criminal cases, it is unlikely that it will reach the trial phase. If the case progresses, there may be pretrial hearings to address specific issues, such as the admissibility of evidence. Both the prosecution and defense will present their arguments, and the judge will make rulings that shape the trial’s direction.

If the case does make it to the trial phase, both sides present their cases, calling witnesses and presenting evidence. The goal is to establish whether the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The judge or a jury will make the final decision based on the presented facts.


If the court finds the accused to be guilty, the judge will determine an appropriate sentence. This can include fines, probation, counseling or imprisonment, depending on the severity of the charges.

Post-conviction proceedings

After sentencing, the legal process may not necessarily end. The convicted individual has the right to appeal the decision, seeking a review of the case based on legal errors or new evidence.

In 2020, the NYPD responded to 233,006 domestic incident reports in New York City, to say nothing of the number of cases in the state as a whole. For anyone facing domestic violence charges, it is important to understand the process involved with moving through a case from start to finish.