At the Law Office of Scott G Cerbin, Esq., PLLC, in New York, we find that many of our clients facing assault charges have no clear idea of what the charges mean or what the prosecutor must prove in order to convict them. Given that New York law provides for four separate categories of assault, it is not difficult to understand why such confusion exists.
As FindLaw explains, per Sections 120.00 through 120.12 of the New York Penal Code, you can face four different degrees of assault charges as follows:
- Third degree assault – Class A misdemeanor
- Aggravated assault of a minor under 11 years of age – Class E felony
- Second degree assault – Class D felony
- First degree assault or aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer – Class B violent felony
Elements of proof
As a basic premise, assault requires that you physically injure your alleged victim or put him or her in fear of immediate bodily injury. The precise elements of proof necessary to convict you will depend on which kind of assault your charges represent. For instance, the judge or jury may need to consider the identity and age of your alleged victim, your intent to cause him or her harm, the seriousness of the harm you caused, and whether or not you used a weapon as part of your alleged assault. They likewise will need to consider whether or not you have previous assault convictions.
A charge of aggravated assault means that you allegedly intended to cause serious bodily injury to your alleged victim and that you knew or should have known that (s)he was a child under 11 years of age or a law enforcement officer performing his or her official duties at the time of your alleged assault.
If the judge or jury convicts you, you face the following penalties:
- Third degree assault – maximum one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000
- Aggravated assault of a minor under 11 years of age – 18 months to four years in prison and a maximum $5,000 fine
- Second degree assault – Three to seven years’ imprisonment and a maximum $5,000 fine
- First degree assault or aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer – Three to 30 years’ imprisonment and a maximum $5,000 fine
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