If you’re charged with injuring another person, you need an assault attorney.
Sorting out assault charges in court can be difficult. That's because on the street, the NYPD rarely tries. This often results in police arresting the true victim, while letting the person who started the fight walk free.
Here are some typical examples of the police response to a fight between Smith and Jones:
New York has three basic levels of assault. They're fairly simple to understand. You should consult an assault attorney if you're accused of any of these crimes, to discuss your best defense.
Assault in the third degree is a misdemeanor. The maximum possible sentence is 1 year in jail. You can be charged in three different ways:
Intentional assault and reckless assault are commonly charged. Criminally negligent assault is far less common.
Assault in the second degree is a class D felony. The maximum possible sentence is 7 years in jail. It has more than 14 variations. These are 4 of the most commonly charged variations:
"Serious physical injury" means physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes death or serious and protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.
Assault in the first degree is a class B felony. The maximum possible sentence is 25 years in jail; the minimum sentence is 5 years. It has 4 definitions:
Other statutes criminalize the use or threatened use of force against another person, creating fear in another person, or creating an unacceptable risk of physical injury or death to another person. For example, menacing, hazing, reckless endangerment,stalking, obstruction of breathing, and strangulation.
If you're accused of assault, one of these defenses or partial defenses (or another defense, or a combination of defenses) might apply to you:
"Justification" is the legal term in New York for your right to defend yourself against another person's illegal use of force against you.
When properly raised as a defense, the District Attorney must disprove justification beyond a reasonable doubt.
Justification can be a powerful defense. Jurors get it. They understand that the use of force is justified under proper circumstances. Jurors can relate to defendants who use reasonable force to defend themselves.
“Justification” is a complicated area of law, with twists and turns regarding "proportionality" of force, “provocation”, “initial aggressor”, “withdrawal”, “combat by agreement”, and “the duty to retreat”.
The law distinguishes between the justified use of “physical force” and the justified use “deadly physical force”.
Deadly physical force is “physical force which, under the circumstances in which it is used, is readily capable of causing death or other serious physical injury”.
Regular "physical force" is non-deadly. It's physical force which, under the circumstances in which it's used, IS NOT readily capable of causing death or other serious physical injury.
The use of deadly physical force is justified in fewer situations than the use of mere physical force.
You may use non-deadly physical force against another person when you reasonably believe that using such force is necessary to defend yourself from what you reasonably believe to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by the other person against you, unless:
You may not use deadly physical force against another person unless you would be justified in using regular physical force AND:
For a free consultation about assault charges in New York City, call assault attorney Bruce Yerman at 212-390-0036, or complete this short form: