New York City Assault Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested for assault in any form, you are being charged with a criminal offense in New York even if the arrests was by way of a desk appearance ticket.
Assault is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the seriousness of the injury, how the person was injured, whether the victim is a special victim (such as a police officer) and other factors.
Assault, at its most basic and lowest criminal classification, is Assault in the Third Degree, which is when a person intentionally or recklessly causes physical injury to another person. Physical injury is defined in New York as any physical impairment or substantial pain. Substantial pain is easily proved. If the alleged victim merely can say that they are in pain, this may be enough to prove that you injured them within the meaining of the law. Assault in the Third Degree is a class A misdemeanor, in which you can receive up to a one year New York City jail sentence.
Assault can also be charged as a felony. Assault in the Second Degree is a class D felony. There are several reasons that you are charged with Assault in the Second Degree instead of Third Degree. You can be charged with Assault in the Second Degree when you intentionally cause serious physical injury to another person, or if you intentionally cause physical injury with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. You can also be charged with Second Degree Assault if you recklessly cause serious physical injury to another person with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. Serious physical injury is defined as a physical impairment which causes a substantial risk of death, disfigurement, or the loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ. While deadly weapons are specifically defined as including firearms, switchblades, gravity knives, billy clubs, daggers, blackjacks, metal knuckles, or a metal knuckle knife, a dangerous instrument can be anything that can be used to cause serious physical injury. If you are convicted of Second Degree Assault in New York, you could face up to 7 years in prison.
The most serious assault charge is Assault in the First Degree, which is a class B violent felony in New York. You will be charged with First Degree Assault when you are alleged to have intentionally caused serious physical injury to another with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, or if you reckless engage in conduct that creates a grave risk of death and cause serious physical injury to another person. If convicted of First Degree Assault in New York, you can be sentenced up to 25 years in prison.
NYC Assault Defense Lawyers
Defenses. There are several defenses that you may have to an assault charge. In order to be convicted the prosecutor must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. One way to defend this is to show evidence negating one or more of those elements. For example, if you are charged with Third Degree Assault the prosecutor would need to prove that you intended to injure someone and that you actually injured someone. If you can show that either of those elements are absent, you must be found not guilty. For example, if the alleged victim wasn't injured, this may be a defense. Since the burden is completely on the prosecutor, there is no requirement that you show any evidence to accomplish this. You could accomplish this through the cross examination of the prosecutor’s witnesses to show there is reasonable doubt of your guilt.
Self Defense. Another way to defend assault cases is with an affirmative defense, such as self-defense. An affirmative defense is an argument that while you did commit the crime of assault, you were justified in doing so and therefore should not be found guilty. In order to successfully argue self-defense, you must show that you reasonably believed that physical force was necessary to defend yourself from what you reasonably believed to be an unlawful act of physical force by another. This means you actually had to believe self-defense was necessary and that your belief was reasonable.
People v. Goetz, 68 N.Y.2d 96 (1986). If arguing an affirmative defense, you must show evidence that would support your argument of self-defense. A New York judge will only instruct a jury on self-defense if a reasonable view of the evidence supports your argument.
People v. Smith, 62 A.D. 3d 411 (1st Dept., 2009). Self defense is highly circumstantial. This means that the facts and circumstances that led you to fear for your safety will be carefully scrutinized.
Contact us for a free case evaluation to discuss your case.
Common New York Assault Charges
P.L. 120.00 (1) – Assault in the Third Degree
P.L. 120.00 (2) – Reckless Assault
P.L. 110/120.00 (1) – Attempted Assault in the Third Degree
P.L. 240.26 – Harassment (charged in many assault cases)
In conclusion, assault is a violent offenses in which you may be accused of striking or causing some improper physical contact with another person. They are often in the context of bar fights, domestic violence, fights with neighbors, or confrontations with strangers on the sidewalk. The degree of the injury is usually proportional to the severity of the facts. Felony assault is generally charged where a weapon was used or serious injury results. The penalties for assault offenses are serious. Misdemeanor assault carries a one year maximum jail sentence. Additionally, an assault conviction can lead to a criminal record, expose you to civil liability in which the purported victim may try to sue you for his or her injuries, and other complications. New York City Assault Defense Attorneys at Lance Fletcher's office are known and respected for aggressively defending clients on a case by case basis. They will explore any and all defenses, such as self defense and justification. Contact us at
(212) 619-3900 for a free and confidential case evaluation.