Home > Case Studies > Assault > Understanding Assault Charges in New York

Understanding Assault Charges in New York

by | Nov 28, 2023

Being charged with an assault in New York is a serious matter — and a conviction can have a wide range of consequences on your life and livelihood. From employment opportunities to finding housing, obtaining a professional license, and retaining your right to possess a firearm, being found guilty of an assault can be life-changing and impact your standing in the community. In the event you are facing assault charges, it’s vital to have the representation of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights and advocate for a positive outcome in your case.

Types of Assault Charges in New York

There are a variety of assault charges in New York — and each comes with different consequences. The offenses are categorized based on the severity of the victim’s injury, the defendant’s intent, and whether a weapon is used to carry out the assault. Specifically, the types of assault charges set forth in the New York Penal Law are as follows:

  • Simple Assault (Third Degree Assault) — Simple assault is also referred to as third degree assault and involves intentionally causing physical injury to another person. It is classified as a misdemeanor and can result in monetary fines, probation, and up to one year in jail.
  • Assault with Intent to Cause Physical Injury (Second Degree Assault) — This assault charge is a Class D felony and involves intentionally causing serious physical injury to another. Aggravating factors such as the use of a weapon or the status of the victim can lead to more severe penalties. 
  • Reckless Assault (Reckless Endangerment) — The crime of reckless endangerment assault can be charged when the defendant engaged in conduct that creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another. The penalties for this charge can vary, depending upon the specific offense.    
  • Aggravated Assault (First Degree Assault) — Aggravated assault is a Class B felony that involves intentionally causing serious physical injury to another using a deadly weapon. A conviction can come with a lengthy prison sentence and substantial monetary fines. 
  • Aggravated Assault Upon a Police Officer or Peace Officer — Aggravated assault upon a police officer can be charged as a Class B felony. If convicted, a defendant can face up to 25 years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.

Additionally, assault charges can be enhanced in certain situations. For example, if the prosecution can show that the assault was motivated by bias based on the victim’s gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, or national origin, the offense can be charged as a hate crime. In such cases, the level of the offense can be raised to one category higher than the specified offense.  

Defenses to Assault Charges    

While the strategy that is used will depend upon the facts of a specific case, there are several common defenses that can be raised in connection with assault charges. For instance, if you believed you were in imminent danger of being harmed and used physical force to protect yourself, you may be able to assert the defense of self-defense. Similarly, if you used physical force to protect another person, you may be able to assert this as a defense.

Depending on the facts of the case, a victim’s consent to the physical contact may sometimes be used as a defense. Other defenses may include the lack of intent to cause harm (if the prosecutor had to establish the intent to cause harm as an element of the crime) or mistaken identity. In addition, if you can demonstrate that you were in a different location at the time the offense occurred, you might be able to raise the alibi defense.

Contact an Experienced New York Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’ve been charged with assault, it’s best to have a skillful criminal defense attorney by your side who can evaluate the facts of your case and assess the prosecution’s evidence against you. Offering adept advocacy and reliable representation, the criminal defense attorneys at D’Emilia Law know what it takes to create a strong defense strategy to achieve the best possible outcome. To schedule a consultation to learn how we can help, contact us at 1-888-DEMILIA.

Assault Charges
Chemical Test

What are the Consequences of Refusing a Chemical Test?

Under New York’s Implied Consent law, all drivers agree to submit to a chemical test if they are pulled over on reasonable suspicion of drunk driving. These tests are used by law enforcement to determine the level of alcohol in the blood. While the most common...
Pre-Trial Motion

What is a Pre-Trial Motion?

If you’ve been charged with a crime, you need a solid defense. One of the tools your criminal defense attorney will use as part of your defense strategy is the filing of pre-trial motions. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, a pre-trial motion can...
Zero Tolerance Law

What is New York’s Zero Tolerance Law?

Being charged with drunk driving at any age is a serious criminal offense that can result in steep consequences. However, New York State law provides distinct penalties for underage drivers who have been charged with DWIs. The Zero Tolerance Law specifies a lower...

When Can You Appeal a Criminal Case in New York?

If you’ve been convicted of a crime, you might still have the option to continue your defense in some situations. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you might be eligible to appeal the conviction or sentence to achieve a dismissal of your case, a reduction...
Fifth Amendment

Understanding the Protections of the Fifth Amendment

Under the United States Constitution, an individual who has been accused of a crime is protected from self-incrimination. Commonly referred to as “the right to remain silent,” the Fifth Amendment guarantees that a person cannot be compelled by the government to...
Fourth Amendment

What is the Fourth Amendment Protection Against Unreasonable Search and Seizure?

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees protections to individuals from unlawful search and seizure by the government. However, it’s important to understand that this right doesn’t mean you can never be searched by the police. It only extends to...
Weapons Crimes

Weapons Crimes in New York

New York has some of the strictest weapons laws in the nation. Critically, not only can being convicted of a weapon crime lead to a criminal record, but it can also result in the long-term ramifications that come with one — impacting both your daily life and...
Rights Crime

What are Your Rights if You’ve Been Charged with a Crime?

Regardless of the crime with which you’ve been charged, it’s essential to understand that you have certain rights under the U.S. Constitution and the New York State Constitution. These rights are meant to protect against arbitrary treatment by the government and...
DWI Attorney

Do You Need an Attorney for a DWI Charge?

If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence in New York, you may be wondering whether you should have the representation of an attorney. Critically, being charged with driving under the influence in New York can have a long-lasting impact on your life and...
DWI Felony

When is a DWI a Felony in New York?

A DWI can come with serious consequences, especially if you’re facing felony charges. While a first DWI is typically charged as a misdemeanor, there are certain situations in which an offense of driving under the influence can be a felony. For instance, if there are...