New Yorkers will be interested to know that state legislators are seeking to increase penalties for crimes related to domestic violence. The New York State Senate and Assembly recently passed a bill that names new felony and misdemeanor crimes. For the legislation to be made in to law, the next step is for the governor to give his approval.

Once the governor signs on, the law will establish two new offenses. The first is called an “Aggravated Family Offense.” As a class E felony, this charge is meant to ensure that any repeat offender is tried as a felon. The other new offense, labeled “Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree,” will be considered a class A misdemeanor.

A number of other provisions are included in the law, but not all of them would immediately take effect. Between 60 and 180 days may pass before some of the new provisions can be enforced.

One aspect of the bill is aimed at protecting the home or location of domestic violence victims. In terms of criminal defense, that provision will likely mean stricter enforcement of protection orders.

The legislation also allows for Fatality Review Teams, which could be formed and set in motion to reduce the number of homicides in connection with domestic violence. The measure is intended to guarantee that a deceased victim’s remains are properly taken care of and not left with the offender.

Our readers in Westchester County may want to follow the progression of the new legislation as it makes its way into law. Individuals on both sides of a domestic violence case should be aware of how the changes in the law could affect criminal court proceedings.

Source: Your News Now, “Harsher penalties for domestic violence crimes,” Elyse Mickalonis, June 12, 2012