Bronx First-Degree Assault Lawyer
Assault is a crime that occurs when a person intentionally or recklessly harms others. First-degree assault is one of the assault offenses with the most severe punishments a person can commit. Contacting a Bronx first-degree assault lawyer is highly advisable if you are facing these charges.
Penalties are so harsh for those convicted of this offense because it has resulted in bodily harm to others. A conviction can be highly detrimental to your future. As a result, getting advice from a seasoned assault defense lawyer in this situation is crucial.
Defining First-Degree Assault
State law establishes first, second, and third-degree assault. First-degree assault is the most serious of the charges. More specifically, first-degree assault under New York Penal Law § 120.10 occurs when individuals:
- Intentionally cause serious physical injury to others by using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument
- Intentionally cause severe and permanent disfigurement or the amputation or permanent disability of a bodily member or organ
- With a depraved indifference to human life, recklessly causes a grave risk of death to others that results in serious physical injury
- Cause serious physical harm to others while in the course of committing or attempting to commit a felony
A dangerous instrument is anything, including a vehicle, that could cause serious bodily injury or death. Deadly weapons can include many objects, such as loaded firearms, knives, billy clubs, and brass knuckles. Furthermore, the serious physical injury is any injury that is severe enough that it may result in death or an extensive physical impairment.
Potential Sanctions for a Conviction in the Bronx
First-degree assault is a Class B felony under state law. A conviction for a Class B felony offense requires a prison sentence ranging from five to 25 years under New York Penal Law § 70.02.
First-degree assault also is a violent felony offense under state law, which is why it requires a minimum prison sentence of five years. However, any prior criminal history within the last ten years is a significant factor in determining the ultimate prison terms.
For example, individuals with non-violent felony convictions within the past ten years are non-violent predicate offenders and may face a longer minimum prison sentence. If the prior felony conviction was violent, the sentence increases even more. Persistent felony offenders, or those with two prior felony convictions within ten years, will generally face harsher sentences, as will persistent violent felony offenders.
Related Offenses Under State Law
Various other assault offenses also exist under state law. For instance, a person may commit an aggravated assault on a police officer or peace officer under New York Penal Law § 120.11. This Class B felony offense occurs when people intentionally cause serious physical injury against a police or peace officer by using a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon. The person also must know or reasonably should know that their alleged target is a police or peace officer performing their official duties.
Furthermore, under New York Penal Law § 120.07, gang assault in the first degree occurs when individuals purposely cause serious physical injuries to others with the assistance of two or more other people present during the incident. Like first-degree assault and aggravated assault upon a police or peace officer, gang assault in the first degree is a Class B felony. A first-degree assault attorney in the Bronx could help fight the charges.
What Are Common Defenses to First-Degree Assault?
Because there are multiple ways for the state to prove first-degree assault, there are also a broad number of potential defenses to this crime. One of the most common defenses is based on claims of self-defense or defense of others. This defense is available to a person that uses force in an effort to protect themselves or another from imminent harm. Another common defense involves claims of wrongful identity. Many violent assaults are chaotic events with multiple people involved. This situation could result in the police identifying the wrong perpetrator of an assault.
The lack of evidence is also a possible defense. When the prosecution pursues these first-degree assault cases without adequate evidence, a defense attorney in the Bronx could obtain an acquittal on that basis.
Is it Possible to Expunge a First-Degree Assault Conviction?
State law does not allow for the expungement of any criminal convictions. Expungement is the deletion of a criminal conviction and the erasure of any associated court records. While expungement is not an option in The Bronx, state law does allow for the sealing of certain criminal convictions.
Unlike expungement, sealing only obscures a conviction from public view. It is still beneficial however, as it allows a person convicted of a crime to not mention it in a job application. That said, sealing is not available for most violent offenses.
Call a Bronx First-Degree Assault Attorney Today
When you are facing such severe criminal charges, you should take immediate steps to protect yourself, your rights, and your future. The risks of spending years in prison are very high when you are facing these charges. Therefore, you should get the advice and guidance of a Bronx first-degree assault lawyer. To learn more, call today.