Domestic Violence

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Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, is considered one of the most underreported crimes, which became more widely recognized during the 1980s and 1990s.

A noncitizen is deportable under the "domestic violence deportation ground” if he or she is convicted of the following: A) a crime of domestic violence; B) a crime of child abuse, neglect or abandonment, or C) stalking; or D) if found in civil or criminal court to have violated certain sections of a domestic violence protective order. 8 USC § 1227(a)(2)(E).

What is Domestic Violence under New York laws?

New York family courts and criminal courts have concurrent jurisdiction over "family offenses", such as assault, sexual misconduct or abuse, stalking, menacing, and strangulation. As a result, victims of domestic violence may bring civil charges in family court, criminal charges in criminal court, or simultaneous actions in both courts.

Domestic violence can take many forms, which include but are not limited to:

  • Assault or attempted assault;
  • Choking or Strangulation;
  • Menacing;
  • Stalking;
  • Reckless endangerment;
  • Harassment or aggravated harassment;

Abuse can occur without regard to the parties' sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, race, age, socio-economic status, disability, education level, culture or religion. Domestic violence victims may apply for an order of protection from either court, including an order that the defendant stay away from the victim and the children involved.

Family offences face a wide range of penalties under New York Law. For instance, conviction of a violent felony offense such as first-degree assault will impose a sentence of 5 to 25 years in prison or a fine of up to $5,000. First-degree strangulation - another violent felony offense - can result in imprisonment of 3.5 to 15 years or a similar fine of up to $5,000.

Domestic Violence in New Jersey

New Jersey domestic violence laws are very strict. In fact, in New Jersey domestic violence is the actual or threatened physical, sexual, emotional, or economic abuse of an individual by someone with whom they have or have had an intimate relationship.

Following 14 criminal offenses upon a person are prohibited under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (PDVA) of 1991:

  • Homicide;
  • Assault;
  • Terrorist threats;
  • Kidnapping;
  • Criminal Restraint;
  • False imprisonment;
  • Sexual assault;
  • Burglary;
  • Criminal trespass;
  • Stalking;
  • Criminal sexual contact;
  • Lewdness;
  • Criminal mischief;
  • Harassment.

In domestic violence cases, the plaintiff is a person who seeks or has been granted relief under the PDVA. The defendant is a person at least 18 years old or emancipated who is alleged to have committed or who has been found to have committed an act of domestic violence under the PDVA. The parties must have had a specific relationship at present or in the past.

As said, a conviction for a domestic violence offense is an aggravated felony under U.S. immigration law.

However, in Popal v. Gonzales, 416 F.3d 249(3d Cir. 2005) the Court held that simple assault is not an aggravated felony, crime of violence, but it is a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) if the crime is committed knowingly or intentionally.

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