Relationships that Qualify as Domestic

Family offenses, more commonly known as domestic violence, include criminal acts such as stalking, assault, and sexual abuse committed against a household member. Under New York Family Court Act §812, household members can include:

  • People who are married
  • People who were formerly married
  • People related by blood
  • People with a child in common
  • Any two people currently, or formerly,
    involved in a romantic relationship, regardless of whether they ever lived together
  • Roommates

Essentially, a household member is any person with whom you have or had a deep relationship with. This definition goes beyond the traditional concept of family to form a wide umbrella of protections for any person who lives or lived with an alleged abuser.

Domestic Violence Charges in Albany

Allegations involving domestic violence are considered very seriously by the court. Common charges resulting from domestic violence incidents include:

  • Rape and sexual assault
  • Assault
  • Murder and attempted murder
  • Stalking
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Kidnapping
  • Harassment

Albany domestic violence cases can be heard in family or criminal court, as criminal courts and family courts have concurrent jurisdiction. Both court systems are meant to end the threat of violence and secure protection for the alleged victims, commonly through a protective order. These orders generally prohibit any contact with the alleged victim. This can have an especially harsh effect on people who are living together or those who have children.

Oftentimes, a person must move out of their home or will lose the ability to visit their children. If someone is convicted, these protective orders may become permanent. In addition, a violation of a protective order is another offense that can be brought on top of the other charges.

Penalties for Domestic Violence

The penalties for domestic violence depend largely on the specific charge the individual is facing. However, courts will take any allegation of family violence very seriously.

Rape and Sexual Assault

The penalties for rape vary depending on the age and mental capacity of the alleged victim at the time of the incident. However, rape generally falls into three degrees with associated penalties.

According to New York Penal Code §70.80, third-degree rape is a class E felony punishable by up to four years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. Second-degree rape is a class D felony punishable by one to seven years in prison and $5,000 in fines. First-degree rape is punishable by five to twenty-five years in prison and $5,000 in fines making it important that an Albany domestic violence attorney is contacted.


Similar to rape, assault varies by degree. The most serious assault charge resulting from domestic violence is a class B felony and may result in anything from five to twenty-five years in prison. A class D felony assault can result in three to seven years in prison and a class E felony assault carries penalties of 1 ½ to four years in prison. Finally, a misdemeanor assault charge is punishable by up to one year in prison. All of these charges also carry potential fines of up to $5,000.


Stalking is another common charge associated with domestic violence. As per New York Penal Code §70.15, most stalking charges are misdemeanors that will not result in more than one year in prison. However, if the alleged victim is injured either recklessly or intentionally, the charge can become a class D felony punishable by two to seven years in prison.

Our Albany Domestic Violence Attorneys Can Aggressively Fight For You

Facing allegations of domestic violence can be very concerning. Not only are there potential criminal penalties if convicted, but a conviction could result in a permanent protective order that controls where someone lives and how they raise their children.

The skilled Albany domestic violence lawyers at Tully Rinckey is experienced in defending against all types of alleged domestic offenses. We understand these charges and can help guide you through the legal process every step of the way.

A powerful defense is essential. If you are facing domestic violence allegations, call us today to learn how we can get to work fighting for you.

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