1996 New York State Domestic Violence and Related Laws
Domestic Violence/Custody Factor (A.2446-C Weinstein/S.7403-B Saland)
The new law amends the Family Court Act and Domestic Relations law, and requires judges to consider the effect of domestic violence in assessing the best interests of a child, or children, when making custody and visitation determinations.
Signed: 1996 Chapter 85
Modification of Forms Requirement (A.10540 Klein/S.6023 Saland)
Civil Practice Law and Rules require papers served or filed to be on 8 1/2 x 11 paper. The new law exempts Orders of Protection and Temporary Orders of Protection, which are on 8 1/2 x 14 paper, from this requirement in order to facilitate their transmission into the statewide STOP registry.
Signed: 1996 Chapter 131
Insurance Discrimination (A.2769-E Stringer/S.6749-B Velella)
This law prohibits insurance companies and health maintenance organizations from discriminating against domestic violence victims. It specifically outlaws:
- designating domestic violence as a preexisting condition
- denying or canceling an insurance policy or requiring a higher premium or payment where the insured is/has been a domestic violence victim.
The Superintendent of the NYS Insurance Department is required to develop rules, in consultation with the Department of Social Services and the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, to assist insurers in guarding against the disclosure of the address and location of any insured who is a victim of domestic violence.
Signed: 1996 Chapter 174
Youthful Offender Orders In STOP Registry (A.10538 John/S.6534-B Saland)
The Family Protection and Domestic Violence Intervention Act of 1994 exempted Orders of Protection issued against Youthful Offenders from being entered into the statewide STOP registry. This law removes the exemption, adding Orders of Protection and Temporary Orders of Protection against Youthful Offenders to the STOP registry.
Signed: 1996 Chapter 217
Victim Rights (A.8763-A Feldman/S.6257-A Hoblock)
Prohibits an employer from penalizing or firing an employee, who, as the victim of a criminal offense, exercises his or her rights as provided in Criminal Procedure Law, the Family Court Act, and the Executive Law, including the need to appear in court or consult with a district attorney. If the victim of a crime is deceased as a result of the offense, the next of kin is afforded the same protection. The bill also covers a representative of the victim, or a good samaritan as defined by law.
Signed: 1996 Chapter 331
Stronger Penalties for Order of Protection Violations (A.11276 John/S.7930 Hoblock)
This law expands the acts that will constitute criminal contempt in the first degree (E felony), when committed in violation of an Order of Protection, to include the following:
- intentionally placing or attempting to place a person in reasonable fear of physical injury by possession or threat of a weapon, by a course of conduct or repeated behavior over a period of time, or by mechanical/electronic communication, telephone, telegraph or mail;
- Harassment, by making repeated telephone calls or by threatening or actually striking, kicking, shoving, or other physical contact; and
- physically menacing.
The law also increases the penalty for violations of an Order of Protection when the violating behavior causes physical injury, constituting the new crime of Aggravated Criminal Contempt, a D felony.
Signed: 1996 Chapter 353
Clarification of Orders of Protection in Registry (A.10539-A Weinstein/S.6028-A Saland)
Clarifies that all criminal court Orders of Protection betweeen family/household members must be entered into the statewide STOP registry, not just those involving family offenses.
Signed: 1996 Chapter 511
Mandatory Arrest Extended (A.10544-A Weinstein/S.6813-A Saland)
Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Agency bill-extends the sunset on the mandatory arrest provisions in Criminal Procedure Law, as established by the Family Protection and Domestic Violence Intervention Act, Chapter 222 of the Laws of 1994, from January 1, 2000 to July 1, 2001. The due date for the final report on the effectiveness of mandatory arrest is also extended, from April 1, 1999 to January 1, 2001.
Signed: 1996 Chapter 553
Revocation/Suspension of Firearms License (A.10640-A Feldman/S.7631-A Hoblock)
This law sets forth the conditions under which a judge is mandated, or may elect, to revoke or suspend a firearms license, upon the issuance of a Temporary Order of Protection or Order of Protection, or upon the violation of an Order of Protection.
Signed: 1996 Chapter 644
Assault Upgrade (A.8471 John/S.7932 Alesi)
The law upgrades Assault in the First Degree from a Class C to a Class B felony, punishable by up to twenty-five years in prison.
Signed: 1996 Chapter 646
Special Election Ballot (A.10671 Gromack/S.6890 Hoblock) This law creates a special election ballot for domestic violence victims who wish to vote at their Board of Elections, without having to re-register and disclose a new address. To cast a special ballot, a victim must submit a signed statement swearing:
- They are a victim; they were forced to leave their residence because of the violence; and because of the threat of harm to themselves or their family, they wish to cast a special ballot.
Signed: 1996 Chapter 702