New York Federal Domestic Violence Lawyer

If someone is being accused under a provision of the Violence Against Women Act, that means the person is being charged with a federal crime. Being accused of any crime is serious but being accused of a federal crime is especially serious because a federal criminal record is something that is very difficult to explain to a potential employer or a potential school or a bank if a person is trying to get a loan or a mortgage.

Being able to effectively resolve a federal case, is extremely important. Having an experienced family violence attorney who is familiar both with the Violence Against Women Act. A New York federal domestic violence lawyer knows that these cases should be handled with an extreme sense of importance.

What is VAWA?

The Violence Against Women Act is a piece of federal legislation from the early 90’s which devoted significant resources from the federal government to both federal and state agencies to combat violence against women in the form of either domestic violence or a sexual violence. 

It initially created avenues for women to sue their alleged either batterers or rapists civilly, but this provision was struck down in a later court case. The main substance of the legislation creates certain federal penalties for acts of violence against women.

It also creates an entire agency to combat women’s violence issues and it demonstrates the recognition of the federal government that violence against women is an important thing that they needed to address. The Act attempted to effectively allocate resources into combating the issues that are presented in the acts of domestic violence and sexual violence.

Application of Federal Law in Domestic Violence Cases

Many feel they need a better understanding of when to expect federal intervention in a case. Speaking with a New York federal domestic violence lawyer can clarify similar questions before someone begins their defense. 

With federal law versus state law, the distinction occurs when the acts that are charged violate a federal statute versus a state statute. Sometimes they can overlap, depending on if the federal statute encompasses state statute. At which point, either the federal or state government may bring charges. In general, if a person commits an act that is prohibited under the Violence Against Women Act, federal law will be applied. 

Who is Protected Under VAWA?

The Violence Against Women Act protects everybody who is the victim of either domestic or sexual violence. New York federal domestic violence lawyers know that the act is specifically designed to protect women, but it is the violent acts themselves that are prohibited are any sort of domestic violence or sexually abusive act, not violent acts specifically directed towards women.

Definition of an Intimate Partner

Similar to New York law, the federal definition of an intimate partner is an individual who has a child in common with somebody else, lives with them, is a spouse, or is living as a common law spouse.

Family Violence Federal Penalties

The federal penalties vary depending on what the actual charges and what the person’s sentencing guidelines are. Any time a person is convicted of a federal crime, their sentencing is dependent on a number of factors which are computed through a rubric that the federal government uses through their sentencing guidelines.

Depending on the severity of the crime, the nature of the victim, the person’s criminal history, the report that is generated by the Department of Probation, all of these things will go into an algorithm that will determine what the range is, and a judge will usually sentence the person within that range. 

Federal penalties can be anything from zero month or non-release supervision to significant jail time with significant post-release supervision. For more information on how to defend these kinds of charges, contact a New York federal domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible.