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Domestic Violence Awareness Month is recognized in New York

Today marks the last day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It was a month during which New York state officials urged New Yorkers to wear purple and Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked the public to participate in many ways in the yearly campaign called Shine the Light on Domestic Violence.

In addition to spreading awareness about the prevalence of domestic abuse, such events are a reminder that the State of New York takes domestic violence very seriously. In fact, New York is the only state to have an executive agency solely focused on fighting domestic violence. As such, those who are accused of domestic violence are in for an uphill battle.

Accusations of domestic violence can lead to fines and jail time, as well as limited child custody rights. Such penalties for domestic violence-related convictions often do little to address the real problems that sometimes lead to spousal violence, such as substance or alcohol abuse, or poor anger management.

It is important for those accused of domestic violence to seek skilled legal counsel in order to minimize the negative consequences of a domestic violence charge. In some cases, domestic violence defense attorneys can resolve cases by requesting anger management or substance abuse counseling, among other alternative options.

Of course, in some cases allegations of domestic violence are completely false. In such cases, criminal defense attorneys may be able to successfully work to have the charges dismissed.

In any event, as Domestic Violence Awareness Month comes to a close, New Yorkers should be reminded that the defendants of domestic violence charges have rights. It is often critical to obtain legal counsel to ensure these rights are protected.

Source: CBS New York, "NYS Officials: Wear Purple On Wednesday For Domestic Violence Awareness," Oct. 15, 2013

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Lerner & Lerner, P.C.

Former prosecutors with more than 50 years of combined experience

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