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Family Offenses under the NY Family Court Act

Family Offenses Under the NY Family Court Act

In the state of New York, it’s common for people to mix up juvenile delinquency cases with family offenses cases. Family offenses and juvenile delinquency are considered very different areas of the law in practice, but they are both types of law that are about halfway between civil litigation and criminal prosecution. Because of this, there tends to be a good deal of overlap between juvenile delinquency cases and family offense petitions. If you need to know more about the differences and what they mean for you, you should talk to your juvenile criminal defense attorney or family court lawyer. The laws about juvenile delinquency and family offenses apply to all areas of New York, from the heart of New York City to the more wild upstate rural areas.

Family Offense Petitions

A Family Offense case is similar to a Juvenile Delinquency case in that it will be heard in New York’s family court. One of the biggest fundamental differences between these two types of cases, though, is that Family Offense charges can be brought against individuals of any age. In addition, the one doing the accusing tends to be another private citizen or other individual, instead of the accused being tried by a government agency.

Family Offense petitions are created by family members of the accused party, or people who have a similar closeness to family members. An example would be a roommate or a very close friend you partially cohabitate with. A Family Offense petition must outline the means by which the accused has committed at least one of the specific crimes outlined in Section 812 of the Family Court Act. If the person has committed more than one of these infractions, the petition can detail all of them.

Most Family Offense petitions will be resolved by having a judge issue an official Order of Protection, more commonly known as a restraining order. This is a legal order that bars the accused individual from coming near the accusing party. The exact stipulations of each order of protection will vary depending on the circumstances of the case. Some orders of protection may keep a person away from multiple family members, while others may require that they only stay away from the specific individual accuser.

A Family Offense petition can be filed if a person commits a number of different crimes, many of which are also outlined in New York’s criminal law:

  • Second and third degree assault
  • Second and third degree menacing
  • Aggravated harassment in the second degree
  • Any criminal mischief
  • Criminal obstruction of the blood circulation or breathing
  • First and second degree harassment
  • Second degree reckless endangerment
  • First and second degree strangulation
  • Disorderly conduct

A Family Offense petition blends civil and criminal law. Though the person will be accused of a crime, the procedure has a much faster resolution. It’s a measure that’s good for individuals who want to protect themselves and separate themselves from a family member following an altercation, but who also don’t want the overwhelming upset that comes with pressing charges.

Juvenile Delinquency Cases

Aside from the fact that they’re also heard in Family Court in the state of New York, Juvenile Delinquency cases are very different from Family Offense petitions. The manner in which the cases are heard, the potential resolutions, and the people being tried are all different.

Juvenile delinquency cases occur when law enforcement or the government levels a criminal accusation against a child under the age of sixteen. The cases might be regarding a non-criminal violation like harassment or a criminal act. There are attorneys who specialize in criminal defense for juvenile defendants. This highly specialized area of study isn’t the same as Family Offense petitions, which are an entirely different branch of law. If you’re dealing with a juvenile delinquency or family offense case, you can talk to your attorney about the nuances and differences between the two procedures.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Regardless of the accusation, a juvenile defense attorney is sworn to represent the best interests of the child. In juvenile court, this often means getting the child in touch with mental health resources, volunteer work, hobbies, and a path to recovery. Juvenile court cases generally aim not to punish the child, but instead to create a path through which the child can have a more stable sense of self and future.

To that end, it’s important for the defense attorney to know everything about the situation. That includes the alleged crime, anything the child knows about it, and – if they committed it – why they did it. From there, the attorney can evaluate the situation and come up with a plan to help the child take responsibility and move forward.

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