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The basic concept of Assault under New York Law is that one person causes physical injury to another person. It sounds simple, but it is not. The New York State Penal Code lists thirteen (13) different charges for assault, and each of those charges can be proven in more than one way. For example, Assault in the 3rd Degree is one charge, but it can be proven in four different ways.
Method of Proof #1: If you intend to cause physical injury to a person and you accomplish your goal, you are guilty of Assault 3rd.
Method of Proof #2: If you intend to cause physical injury to a person but fail to do so, yet accidentally cause physical injury to a third person in the process, you are guilty of Assault 3rd.
Method of Proof #3: If you cause physical injury to another person because you are reckless, you are guilty of Assault 3rd.
Method of Proof #4: If you cause physical injury to another person using a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument, and if you do so with criminal negligence, you are guilty of Assault 3rd.
There you have it – four different ways to commit Assault 3rd. As I mentioned before, there are 13 different varieties of Assault in the Penal Code, so the way you are charged becomes very important. You need a criminal defense lawyer who can listen to your story, sift through the facts of your case, and determine whether or not – for starters – you have been properly charged. This is particularly important in an Assault case, where the most serious charge is a Class B Violent Felony.
Case Study: We once had a case out of Irondequoit where our client had been charged with a felony-level assault. This client had no prior record and had been involved in a fight started by a highly intoxicated roommate. (A ‘very’ drunk housemate is actually a very common beginning to the story behind these cases.) After we met with our client and reviewed the police reports, we were able to show that the charges presented against him went beyond what could be proven. The felony was reduced to a violation-level Disorderly Conduct charge that was sealed by the local court. If our client had been indicted on a felony assault charge or pled to a misdemeanor-level Assault, he could have lost his security clearance. It’s important that you find a lawyer or a team of lawyers who can accurately assess the strength of the prosecution’s case and minimize any damages you face.Assessing the strength of an Assault case requires knowing the self-defense rules in New York.
It’s important for your lawyer to truly understand the ins and outs of the defenses that are available to you as you make your case. Were you acting in self-defense? Your defense team needs to know New York State’s Justification statutes. Your attorneys also need to know your side of the story – inside and out. Did you use force to stop somebody from committing a crime? Were you defending your home or a third person? Are you a nurse, doctor, or other licensed healthcare professional who was restraining a patient? If so, we can also help you with the inevitable letter from the NYS Board of Education’s Office of Professional Discipline.
If you have been charged with Assault in Monroe or Livingston Counties, contact Jeannie Michalski at (585) 351-2500 for a free criminal defense consultation. We have an office in Brighton and an office in Avon, and we will meet with you to discuss your case and begin developing a strategy. Call or email us today.