By: Passalacqua & Associates

Domestic Violence and Gun Possession: New York’s Stringent Policies

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What Constitutes Domestic Violence in New York?

If you’ve been charged with a crime of domestic violence in the Syracuse area, or if you are the subject of a court order that is based on a domestic violence situation, you must be advised and represented – as quickly as possible – by a Syracuse domestic violence defense attorney.

Domestic violence includes spousal abuse, child abuse, and more, but domestic violence doesn’t necessarily include actual physical violence. Merely threatening physical violence and prompting the fear of personal harm are sufficient to meet New York’s legal definition of domestic violence.

Federal law bans you from buying or owning a firearm after you have been convicted of a crime of domestic violence – whether the conviction is for a misdemeanor or a felony charge – or if you are the subject of an active protection order arising from a domestic violence situation.

What is the Safe Homes and Families Act?

However, New York’s state laws regarding domestic violence and gun ownership go well beyond the federal statutes. In some cases, a police officer in this state is required to confiscate a person’s firearm(s) even if that person is not the subject of a restraining order or a criminal conviction.

Under New York’s Safe Homes and Families Act, which took effect in 2020, New York law enforcement officers who are responding to a domestic dispute may temporarily take custody of any firearm that is in plain sight or discovered during a lawful search.

Additionally, the Safe Homes and Families Act requires police officers in this state to take temporary custody of any weapon (and the license for that weapon) that is in the possession of a person who has been arrested for or who is suspected of committing a domestic violence crime.

What Else Does the Safe Homes and Families Act Require?

After 48 hours, if no order of protection has been issued (or any other order prohibiting the owner from possessing a weapon), and if no criminal charge has been filed against the owner of the weapon, the weapon must then be returned to the owner.

When a New York court issues a protection order against a gun owner, it must suspend or revoke that person’s state pistol permit if the court finds a substantial risk that the person may use or threaten to use the weapon against the person for whose protection the order has been issued.

When determining a bail amount or considering the release of someone who has been charged with a domestic violence crime, a judge must take into account the defendant’s history of using and possessing firearms as well as any current or previous violations of protection orders.

What is New York’s “Red Flag” Law?

The Red Flag Law of 2019 allows courts in this state to issue Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs). These orders keep those who may be a threat to others or to themselves from owning or purchasing firearms. Anyone may request an ERPO, but you should have a lawyer’s help.

A 2022 revision to the law allows healthcare providers who’ve examined someone within the last six months to seek an ERPO, and it requires police agencies and prosecutors to file ERPO petitions when they have information that someone is likely to harm himself/herself or others.

Since September 2022, the law in New York has also required the State Division of Criminal Justice Services to review gun permit holders’ records on a monthly basis for any new criminal indictments, criminal convictions, or orders of protection.

When Will You Need an Attorney’s Help?

If you are charged with a crime of domestic violence, if you are the subject of a protection order, or if you are charged with illegally purchasing or possessing a firearm in or near the Syracuse area, you must contact a Syracuse domestic violence defense lawyer as quickly as possible.

If you are convicted of a firearms violation in this state, you could be sentenced to prison, so it is important to understand that a firearms violation in New York is like any other criminal charge. You have the right to remain silent and the right to a defense lawyer’s representation and advice.

If you are taken into police custody and charged with a weapons violation or a crime of domestic violence, and the police officers want to question you, say something like, “I prefer not to answer any questions until my lawyer can be here,” and then say nothing more. Instead, contact the offices of a Syracuse domestic violence defense attorney as quickly as possible.

Charged with a Firearms Violation? How Can You Fight Back?

You could be accused of a firearms violation due to a misunderstanding, a misidentification, or even because someone fabricated a claim against you. In New York, the most common defense against a weapons charge is that the defendant did not actually possess the weapon in question.

If you are charged with a weapons violation in the Syracuse area or anywhere else in New York State, you must be defended – aggressively and effectively – by a Syracuse criminal defense attorney who has substantial experience representing defendants charged with these crimes.

In these cases, to win a conviction, a prosecutor must link the defendant directly to the firearm, and if no link can be established, the prosecution’s case will probably fail. If you’re charged with a firearms violation, your lawyer will fight to uncover the truth and to win justice on your behalf.

Passalacqua & Associates Will Provide the Legal Help You Need

More than four thousand domestic violence incidents were reported to law enforcement agencies in Onondaga County in 2022. Many of those who were placed under arrest were innocent, but whether you are innocent or guilty, if you are charged with a domestic violence crime, you must be represented by a Syracuse domestic violence defense lawyer at Passalacqua & Associates.

The award-winning lawyers at Passalacqua & Associates have over thirty years of experience defending those accused of weapons violations and domestic violence. We routinely defend those who are charged with these crimes, and we fight for the best outcome for every client.

Our law offices are located in Syracuse, Rome, and Utica, but if you are charged anywhere in New York, now or in the future, with a weapons violation or a domestic violence crime, call Passalacqua & Associates at once – at 315-277-3548 – for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.