Queens, New York Assault Defense Attorneys

Queens Assault Defense Lawyer

One of the more common crimes in the world is assault.  Generally, assault is the broad term for crimes where one person hits, or otherwise does harm to another.

In New York, these offenses are governed by Article 120 of the N.Y. Penal Law.  If you have been charged with a § 120 assault crime in New York, and want to understand the charges better, this guide should help.  If you are looking for an attorney for your assault charges in Queens, contact the experienced New York criminal defense attorneys at Sullivan and Galleshaw, LLP.

What Generally Counts as “Assault”?

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The N.Y. Penal Law has thirteen different sections on assault, so it is easy to get lost trying to figure out which crime applies and what penalties apply.  For the most part, there are three main levels of assault: first degree, second degree, and third degree.  The rest of the statutes deal with vehicular assault, group (called “gang”) assault, assault on a judge, assault on a police officer, or assault on a child.  Generally, though, the basic elements of assault apply in those specific types, so we will go through those first.

The basic definition of assault is simple enough: causing injury to another, with the intent to do so.  This is what the N.Y. Penal Law calls “third degree assault,” and codifies in § 120.00.  This third degree assault also counts if you harm someone else other than the intended target, cause injury recklessly (instead of intentionally), or use a deadly weapon with criminal negligence and cause harm.

These phrases like “intentionally,” “recklessly,” and “with criminal negligence” all apply to your mental state.  If you meant to cause harm, you did it intentionally.  If you knew there was a chance of harm, but ignored it, that’s recklessness.  If you were being so careless with a situation that you should have known was dangerous, the law will consider that criminal negligence.

Assault in the second degree can be the same as assault in the third degree, but requires intentionally causing “serious physical injury.”  This means that a third degree will be a second degree assault, instead, if the injury is worse.  First degree assault also shares this “serious physical injury” requirement, but first degree needs to be done with a deadly weapon.  The difference between “physical injury” and “serious physical injury” is the level of harm.  While physical injury covers a moderate level of impairment or pain, to get to the level of serious injury, it needs to have a substantial risk of death, actually cause death, cause permanent injury, or cut-off the use of some body function for a long time.  That means that intense harm like scarring, loss of limb, gunshot wounds, knocking someone unconscious, burning someone, or putting them in a coma would qualify as “serious physical injury.”

Other First and Second Degree Assaults

While the basic definition of assault is covered by intentional harm to someone else, there are many other specific acts that count as assault for these two levels:

Second Degree 

  • Using an animal to harm someone from the police, fire department, government, utility company, or a medical worker
  • Recklessly causing injury with a deadly weapon
  • Reckless firearm injury to a child
  • Drugging someone
  • Hurting someone else while committing or running from another crime
  • Hurting someone while in jail or prison
  • Recklessly injuring someone under eleven years old (if you are over eighteen)
  • Hurting a school employee on school grounds
  • Hurting anyone on school grounds, if you are not a student
  • Hurting a public transportation worker
  • Hurting a social services worker
  • Hurting someone over sixty-five years old if you are more than ten years younger than them

Fist degree 

  • Intentionally cutting off a limb or cutting out an organ
  • With an indifference to human life, you hurt someone after creating a huge risk they will die
  • Causing serious physical injury while committing or fleeing from another crime

Penalties for Assault in New York

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Generally, crimes are split into two types: misdemeanors, punishable by a year or less in jail, and felonies, punishable by more than a year in prison, up to life without the possibility of parole.  There are six classes of felonies in New York, named A-I, A-II, B, C, and D.  A-I is the worst, with the worst sentence, and D is the lightest.  Misdemeanors are classified as A, B, or unclassified misdemeanors.

All sentences depend on the defendant’s criminal history, and sometimes on particular actions or victims involved.  There are general ranges for each class of crime, though.  First degree assault is a class B felony.  Violent class B felonies are punishable by five to twenty five years in prison.  Second degree assault is a violent class D felony, punishable by two to seven years in prison.  Third degree assault is a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in jail.  Note that each of these crimes also brings financial penalties, such as fines and restitution.

Our Queens Assault Defense Attorneys Can Help You with Your Case

If you have been charged with assault in Queens, New York, and you are looking for a criminal defense attorney, call Sullivan and Galleshaw.  We represent criminal defendants for assaults and many other types of crimes.  For a consultation, call (800) 730-0135.

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