Assault is a serious crime that can have significant consequences for both the victim and the perpetrator. In the state of New York, there are various types of assault charges, including misdemeanor assault. Misdemeanor assault is a criminal offense that involves causing physical harm or injury to another person. While it is considered a less serious charge than felony assault, it still carries serious penalties, including fines and possible imprisonment. In this article, Eastcoastlaws.com will explore what constitutes misdemeanor assault in New York, the potential consequences of being charged with this offense, and what legal options are available to those facing these charges.
What is Misdemeanor Assault Under New York Law?
In New York, misdemeanor assault is defined as intentionally causing physical injury to another person. This offense falls under Section 120.00 of the New York Penal Law and is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which is the most serious type of misdemeanor offense.
To be charged with misdemeanor assault in New York, the prosecution must prove that the accused acted with intent and caused physical harm or injury to the victim. This can include any type of physical injury, from minor cuts and bruises to more serious injuries like broken bones. It is important to note that the victim does not need to suffer serious injury for the accused to be charged with this offense.
Some examples of actions that can result in a misdemeanor assault charge in New York include hitting, punching, slapping, or pushing another person. Additionally, the use of a weapon during an assault can result in more serious charges, such as felony assault.
It is also worth noting that in some cases, individuals may be charged with misdemeanor assault for recklessly causing injury to another person. This means that while the accused did not intend to harm the victim, their actions were still reckless enough to cause physical injury.
Victim experiences “physical injury” when they experience bodily pain or injury, not mental agony. The term “physical harm” is defined by New York law as “impairment of bodily condition or significant pain.” (N.Y. Penal Law § 10.00).
When someone wants an injury to happen, they purposefully cause it to happen. In addition, under New York law, a defendant might be charged with assault for hurting anyone else, even someone who wasn’t the intended victim, as long as the criminal had the intention to cause harm. In other words, it is still an assault even if the defendant “missed” the intended victim and hit and hurt someone else instead. In the end, it doesn’t matter if the criminal actually hurt the intended victim; what matters is whether the defendant intended to cause an injury.
When a person intentionally disregards a significant and unjustifiable danger that their activities may result in harm, they are acting recklessly. To put it another way, a person is reckless when they act recklessly despite knowing that they will probably hurt someone. Be aware that being willingly intoxicated or high does not offer protection from reckless assault. (N.Y. Penal Law § 15.05).
A person is criminally negligent when he fails to realize that his actions will almost certainly cause an injury. (N.Y. Penal Law § 15.05).
Deadly weapon or dangerous instrument
A loaded gun, various knives (such as switchblades, gravity knives, and daggers), a billy, a blackjack, and plastic or metal knuckles are all examples of “deadly weapons.” A “hazardous instrument” on the other hand is any object (including a vehicle) that, while not typically a weapon, can yet be utilized in a way that is easily capable of resulting in death or serious injury. A dangerous weapon could be used in an assault, such as beating someone with a bar stool. (N.Y. Penal Law § 10.00).
Penalties For Misdemeanor Assault In New York
The penalties for misdemeanor assault in New York can vary depending on the severity of the offense and the defendant’s criminal history. As a Class A misdemeanor, the maximum sentence for misdemeanor assault in New York is one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
In addition to imprisonment and fines, a person convicted of misdemeanor assault may also be required to complete community service, attend anger management classes, and/or be subject to a restraining order or order of protection. The specific penalties imposed will depend on the circumstances of the case and the judge’s discretion.
It is also worth noting that a conviction for misdemeanor assault can have long-lasting consequences beyond the immediate penalties. A criminal record can affect a person’s ability to find employment, obtain housing, and may also impact their immigration status if they are not a U.S. citizen.
Given the serious nature of the penalties for misdemeanor assault in New York, it is crucial to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are facing these charges. A knowledgeable attorney can help you understand your legal options, navigate the criminal justice system, and work to protect your rights and interests.
Defense For Misdemeanor Assault In New York
If you are facing misdemeanor assault charges in New York, there are several defenses that may be available to you. Some of the most common defenses used in misdemeanor assault cases include:
- Self-defense: If you acted in self-defense, you may be able to argue that you were protecting yourself from harm and did not intend to cause injury to the other person.
- Defense of others: If you were defending another person from harm, you may be able to argue that your actions were justified.
- Lack of intent: If you did not intend to cause injury to the other person, you may be able to argue that the injury was accidental or that you did not have the requisite intent to commit the offense.
- Consent: If the alleged victim consented to physical contact, you may be able to argue that there was no assault.
- False accusation: If you believe that you have been falsely accused of misdemeanor assault, you can present evidence to refute the allegations against you.
It is important to note that each case is unique, and the defense strategy that is appropriate for your case will depend on the specific circumstances of the offense. Consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney is critical to building a strong defense and protecting your rights.