Physical altercations may be precipitated for a variety reasons. However, in certain instances such actions might lead to an individual receiving assault charges. Assault is a serious crime that can have significant ramifications. New York City residents facing these legal allegations may benefit from the services of a Queens assault lawyer. This brief blog provides information about assault in New York State.
Assault is defined as the act of physically attacking another person through some form of contact. However, the law also categorizes the offense as acting threateningly or displaying the intent to cause harm or inflict violence on someone else.
The Different Categories Of Assault
The law classifies varying degrees of assault. Certain classifications are labeled misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are less serious crimes that carry less stiffer penalties. Other classifications are considered felonies, which have the potential to carry significant fines and lengthy prison sentences of incarceration.
In New York, there are three degrees of assault, labeled assault in the third, second and first degree.
Third Degree Assault
This offense is a Class A misdemeanor.
Third degree assault charges are often levied against individuals who inflict limited injury, did not use a weapon and the alleged victim is not a member of special protected category.
Second Degree Assault
This categorization falls under the pretense of a Class D felony.
Prosecutors are more likely to levy this charge against an individual who inflicted significant injuries upon the alleged victim (such as serious bodily pain that resulted in illness, chronic pain, disfigurement or placed said individual’s life and well-being at risk).
Prosecutors might also levy second degree assault charges against persons who used weapons in their alleged attack. The weapon does not necessarily have to be a knife or gun. Any object used that either inflicted bodily harm or possesses the potential to cause serious injury might yield second degree charges under New York State law.
Furthermore, should the purported victim fall into a specific category, second degree assault charges could be brought forth. Protected individuals include state or public officials such as law enforcement officers and emergency services personnel. Additionally, offenses against young people aged 11 and younger, as well as those 65 and older might yield this charge.
First Degree Assault
First degree assault is the most serious assault offense and is labeled as Class B felony.
This offense occurs when an individual inflicts serious bodily harm (permanent disability or disfigurement), commits such an act with no regard for the alleged victim’s health or safety, is proven to have engaged in the act with clear malicious, if not deadly intent, did so with a potentially deadly weapon or executed the act on someone representing a protected class.
Penalties For Assault
It is important to note that an adjudicating body (judge or jury) might consider specific factors before rendering a final punishment for someone convicted of an assault charge. Such provisions include:
*The individual in question’s past criminal record
*If the alleged perpetrator has any mental or emotional health issues
*The circumstances surrounding the offense
*If the offense was deemed a hate crime
That said, in New York State, there are minimum penalties for the varying degrees of assault charges. Assault in the Third degree could warrant up to a year in jail and a fine not exceeding $1,000. Second degree assault could result in a prison sentence lasting anywhere from three to seven years and fines of up to $5,000. First degree assault prison sentences range from three to 30 tears with fines not exceeding $5,000.
Benefit Of Retaining Counsel
Though assault charges are serious and may be difficult to defend, an experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to formulate an argument proving the incident in question was either not the accused’s fault or that the accused and alleged victim share responsibility for the debated events.
Arguably, the most common argument offered by defendants is that said individuals were protecting themselves, their property or the well-being of others. A criminal defense lawyer will attempt to formulate this argument (or any other possible defense) by executing actions such as speaking to witnesses, reviewing law enforcement reports, consulting with medical experts and investigating the crime scene.