Rockland County Assault Lawyer
Assault is one of the most expansive crimes covered under New York Penal Law and can apply any time a person makes violent contact with another. In some circumstances, a person may be charged with assault even if they do not make contact. Depending on the circumstances, assault can be either a relatively minor charge, or rise to the level of a felony.
A Rockland County assault lawyer could be dedicated to helping you understand the charges you are facing and to developing defenses that work toward the best possible outcome in court. Speak with an experienced legal advocate that could fight for you.
What is Assault Under New York Law?
The basic foundation for the crime of assault is found in New York Penal Law §120.00. This law states that a basic assault, known as assault in the third degree, contains three paths to conviction, at least one of which a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to attain a conviction. These paths are:
- The defendant caused physical harm to another person with the intent to do so
- The defendant’s reckless actions caused injury to another person
- The defendant’s criminally negligent actions involving the use of a dangerous item or weapon caused an injury
Under this section of New York Penal Law, a person may be charged with assault and convicted even if they did not intend to cause harm. What matters is whether the actions taken by the defendant were intentional and that those actions resulted in an injury.
Third-degree assault is treated as a Class A misdemeanor under New York law. This means that a conviction can result in a jail term of up to one year and a fine of up to $1,000. A Rockland County assault lawyer could attempt to mitigate the charges that an individual faces.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony Assaults
There are a number of aggravating factors that can make an assault a felony instead of a misdemeanor. Assault committed against a public servant or any assault involving the use of a deadly weapon may increase the charge to assault in the second degree under New York Penal Law §120.05. This is treated as a Class D felony.
Assault in the first degree is any assault done with the intent to cause serious injury with the use of a deadly weapon. Any assault committed with the aid of a firearm, knife, or a car will usually be charged as a first-degree assault. These charges are grouped as Class B felonies and are defined in New York Penal Law §120.10.
All assaults in New York are treated the same under the law regardless of whether any physical contact occurred. Furthermore, New York law treats the attempted commission of a crime the same as if the crime actually took place. For example, a man who attempts to punch another outside of a bar and misses can be charged with attempted assault just as he would be charged with assault if that punch had connected.
What are Common Defenses in an Assault Case?
There are many potential defense options available in an assault case. Many successful cases are built on claims of self-defense. With self-defense, a person could avoid conviction for assault even if they otherwise meet all the elements of the charge. This is only a viable option when the accused was in reasonable fear of imminent harm from the other party. It is also possible to rely on the defense of another person in an assault case.
In other situations, the strongest defense relies on highlighting the deficiencies in the prosecution’s case. It is the prosecution that has the burden of making their case. Whether or not it is in the best interest of the accused to testify in their own defense could depend on the strength of the state’s case. An experienced attorney in the Bronx could help someone prepare their defense in an assault case.
Can Assault Charges Be Dropped?
The plaintiff or alleged victim in an assault charge does not have the power to drop those charges. Once the plaintiff makes their allegations, the decision to proceed with the case is in the hands of the prosecutor. That does not mean someone recanting their allegations or refusing to cooperate with the prosecution will have no effect. Often, prosecutors take these actions of the alleged victim into account when deciding to move forward or not.
Answering Questions from the Police
Any person arrested on assault charges is under no obligation to discuss their case with the police. In fact, law enforcement may not question a defendant once they request a lawyer. Despite this, police may continue an interrogation in hopes to pressure a defendant to plead guilty. An attorney could use this violation of a defendant’s rights as grounds for a dismissal of the assault charges.
How a Rockland County Assault Attorney Can Help
Assault charges in New York can be deceptively complex cases. A qualified Rockland County assault lawyer could answer any questions you have about assault charges of any degree, as well as what to expect in a potential criminal trial.
Every case is unique, and a seasoned attorney could help identify the best strategy with which to advocate on someone’s behalf in court. Call today to see what options may be available for you.