In New York State Penal Law there are fourteen (14) variations of Criminal Assault ranging from an A – Misdemeanor to B – Felony. Under the law, an Assault or a physical attack is an intentional act committed by the Accused that results in harmful bodily injury or offensive contact to another person.
To be charged with criminal Assault there must be an impairment of the victim’s physical condition. That is, an injury that causes substantial pain, which is more than slight or trivial pain. Typically the Prosecution will present the Court with a description of the type of injury inflicted, the victim’s description of the pain and the Defendant’s motive for inflicting the pain.
If the offensive contact by the Defendant does not rise to the level of a physical injury, then the Defendant may be charged with a non-criminal Violation Harassment in the second degree. Contact such as petty slaps, spitting, shoving or kicking the victim without causing a physical injury will usually result in a Harassment 2nd charge.
However, if the Defendant’s harassment of the victim is motivated by bigotry, regarding the victim’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct, then the Defendant will be charged with A-Misdemeanor Aggravated Harassment.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are three B Felony Assault crimes:
Penal Law 120.10 Assault in the First Degree. The Accused may be charged with Assault 1st if s/he intentionally causes serious physical injury to the victim by use of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument or, with a depraved indifference to human life s/he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to another and causes a serious physical injury or, in the course of committing another felony, such as a robbery or burglary the Accused or his/her accomplice causes serious physical injury to the victim.
120.11 Aggravated Assault upon a Police Officer or a Peace Officer. The Accused may be charged with Aggravated Assault upon an Officer when s/he intentionally causes serious physical injury to a police or peace Officer engaged in the performance of his/her official duties or injures the Officer by use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
120.07 Gang assault in the first degree. The Accused may be charged with Gang Assault in the first degree when s/he intentionally causes serious physical injury to the victim and the Defendant is aided by two or more persons.
Being charged with criminal assault is a serious matter in New York with the penalties ranging from one (1) year in county jail for A-Misdemeanor Assault in the third degree to twenty-five (25) years in State prison for any one of the three B-felonies. In between there are ten separate criminal charges that make provisions for Children, Judges and Gang Assault or the use of an automobile.
If you or a family member is charged with any Assault crime in New York State you should seek immediate legal representation to protect your rights and represent the Defendant in Court. Call my office today to schedule a free confidential consultation.