Aggravated assault is a felony offense in New York. There are various degrees of assault in the state, and aggravated assault is the most serious version. The punishment for aggravated assault is more severe than it is for an assault charge, and it comes with a lengthier prison sentence for anyone charged with the crime. It encompasses assault, sexual assault, and assault with a deadly weapon simultaneously, which is why the penalty for committing this crime is so severe.
Defining Aggravated Assault in New York
There are two reasons assault turns to aggravated assault in New York:
– The victim is a police or peace officer
– The victim is younger than 11
Aggravated assault to a police or peace officer is considered a Class B Violent Felony, and aggravated assault on a person younger than 11 is a Class E Felony in New York. Aggravated assault that results in the death of the person assaulted is no longer considered assault. It’s considered murder. A defendant will be charged with aggravated assault if their victim lives through their serious bodily injuries, which means a lesser prison term is issued to the defendant.
The prosecutor in this type of case is required to prove the defendant knowingly intended to cause serious injury or recklessly caused serious injury to the victim with or without a weapon. For example, a defendant who hits the victim with his car when he turned around to grab something from the back seat isn’t necessarily going to be charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The deadly weapon in this case is the defendant’s vehicle. If the same defendant was driving well above the law or was under the influence when the same accident occurred, it could be argued he recklessly caused this injury to another person knowing his actions were illegal.
If the defendant was angry with the victim for saying something offensive to him and he chooses to run him down with this vehicle to teach him a lesson, he knowingly and intentionally committed aggravated assault. Understanding the various degrees to which aggravated assault can be tried is imperative to all accused parties.
Aggravated Assault Sentences
When a defendant is brought to trial on aggravated assault charges, the judge in the case takes several factors into consideration. The sentence terms for a person accused of aggravated assault as a Class E Felony might not do any prison time, but could be sentenced to probation instead. The maximum prison sentence for a Class E Felony is 4 years in prison.
Aggravated assault as a Class B Felony is considered more serious. The minimum sentence is 5 years in prison, and the maximum sentence is 25 years. If a fine is imposed, it will be no more than $5,000 according to New York law. The only exception to this law occurs if the defendant was offered compensation by a third party to commit aggravated assault. A judge might then impose a fine of as much as double what the defendant was paid. The fine is the greater amount.
In addition to the monetary punishment and prison terms, defendants found guilty of aggravated assault have other consequences to face. Once a prison term is completed and a defendant is free, they might find it difficult to find employment, to apply for a loan, or to find housing. Many employers, lenders, and landlords perform criminal background checks on anyone who submits an application. A felony on their criminal record is often all it takes for the application to result in denial.
The judge’s decision is based on factors that include the age and previous criminal history of the defendant, the seriousness of the injury caused to the victim, and several other circumstances. Not every defendant is issued the same punishment for the same crime.
An experienced, knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can help defendants navigate their charges, learn their rights, and prove their case. Sentencing depends on the ability of the prosecutor to prove the aggravated assault charges are valid, and a criminal defense attorney can help the accused fight their case and disprove the prosecutor on the case. Experience is helpful in cases such as this.