There are basically two courts (occasionally District Court) that handle Family issues in New York. The Court that has jurisdiction over Divorce is New York State Supreme Court. The quickest way to be heard on a Family Offense is usually Family Court.
Each county has its own court designed to hear Family Offense Petitions. Both Nassau County and Suffolk County on Long Island have divisions of Family court and Supreme Court. Suffolk County also has a Family Court location in Riverhead in addition to the Central Islip location.
If you are the victim or believe that you are a victim of a family offense, you may go to Family Court to seek assistance and relief. It is also important to know that if your life is in jeopardy, your first line of defense is the police.
This article primarily deals with Family Court and the Family court Act as it defines Family Offenses. Below are simplified explanations of the most common Family Offenses.
Disorderly Conduct – intent to cause a public inconvenience, person engages in fighting or violent, threatening behavior
Harassment 1st Degree – intentionally and repeatedly follows a person in a public place or repeatedly engages in conduct which places a person in reasonable fear of physical injury
Harassment 2nd Degree – (intent cannot be by accident) strikes, shoves, kicks
Aggravated Harassment 2nd Degree – communication by electronic means, telephone, with no legitimate purpose which cause annoyance, threatens, or alarms
Stalking in the 4th Degree –intentionally and for no legitimate purpose person engages in conduct likely to cause reasonable fear of harm to physical health, mental health; includes fear that employment or business is threatened
Menacing in the 2nd Degree – repeatedly follows a person or commits acts over a period of time intentionally placing or attempting to place another person in reasonable fear of physical injury
Menacing in the 3rd Degree – by physical menace, person places or attempts to place another person in fear of death, imminent serious injury or physical injury
Reckless Endangerment 2nd Degree – person intentionally engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of physical injury
Assault in the 3rd Degree – with intent, causes physical injury to another person