An assault bust is not something to take lightly. Those arrested for a misdemeanor or felony assault in Nassau County might think “telling their side” to the police or the courts gets them out of trouble. In truth, improperly approaching a defense to an assault charge probably will make things worse, a lot worse.
Only through retaining a criminal defense lawyer who understands New York state’s laws regarding assault can help the cause of navigating the court system and coming up with the right defense.
The “right defense” absolutely is necessary. An assault conviction may lead to jail time. At the very least, the conviction forces a person to carry a criminal record on his or her shoulder for a lifetime. The only exception to this would be getting the conviction expunged, a difficult process in many circumstances. In some circumstances, an expungement would be impossible.
Upon looking at a tough situation through a realistic lens, the truth becomes obvious. Anyone charged with assault in Nassau County must hire the best possible criminal defense counsel to deal with the situation.
Assault in New York
One the most basic level, criminal assault, under the New York state penal code, involves the causing of physical injury to another person. As is the case with other criminal acts in New York, an assault is categorized by a progression of degrees. Third degree reflects the “least serious” while second and third degree comes with more significant penalties.
Numerous factors contribute to how an assault charge is levied. How damaging of an injury the victim suffered or the use of any weapons would increase the severity of the charges. In some cases, the final charge might not be assault but attempted murder. Ultimately, the District Attorney’s Office levies the actual charges the defendant and his or her counsel must content with.
Misdemeanor Assault in the Third Degree
Certain components must be in place to be found guilty of assault in the third degree. The defendant must have the intent to cause physical injury to a person and, in fact, does cause injury to the person or a third party. A defendant may also be found guilty if the injury was due to pure recklessness or an injury is inflicted on someone with a “deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument” and “criminal negligence” is present.
Other charges can be born out of an assault scenario. Possession of a deadly weapon would be one example another charge that might be added on.
While a third degree assault charge might not be as severe as a second or third degree assault, a conviction comes with harsh punishments. A person who got out of control one night or had a bad day leading to a confrontation may be facing such a charge. Having never been in trouble with the law before, it can become shocking to discover charges that come with upwards of one year in jail.
12 months in jail is the maximum penalty possible with a class A misdemeanor in New York. This is the category of misdemeanor for assault in the third degree.
Per New York law, a judge may sentence someone guilty of a class A misdemeanor to one year in jail or three years probation and up to a maximum fine of $1,000. The word “or” should not be overlooked. A qualified attorney may be able to help a defendant avoid jail time and only deal with probation based on the situation related to the charges and the client’s previous criminal history.
Assault in the Second or First Degree
Charges rise to assault in the second degree when the physical injury is serious or any one of a number of other elements come into play. Harming someone under the age of 18, injuring a police officer or city worker, or causing an impairment by administering a drug to someone without consent reflects a fraction of the different circumstances that may lead to an assault in the second degree charge and/or conviction. Assault in the second degree falls under the category of a class D felony.
Assault in the first degree covers a great many forms of injury to various persons. The severity is increased due to such elements as the potential to cause death or dismemberment and more. This charge is a class B felony.
As frightening as facing a class A misdemeanor is, facing class D and class B felonies in New York reflect a dire situation. A class D felony comes with the possibility of up to 7 years in state prison. Class B felonies might lead to a maximum of 25 years in prison. Even with leniency in sentencing, the time a defendant may face in prison could be significant.
The Attorney Solution
An attorney could address assault charges in a number of ways. Arguing self-defense, effectively setting up a plea bargain arrangement, seeking a dismissal of all charges are possibilities. The circumstances surrounding each and every individual case dictates defense strategies.
Setting up a meeting with a Nassau County assault defense attorney would be one of the necessary first steps to discuss the case.
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