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New York Penal Code 120.12: Aggravated assault upon a person less than eleven years old

Aggravated assault is one of the most penalized crimes in the state of New York. The crime is more serious when it is committed against a child. There are several distinctions of such crimes in the lawbook to protect children. New York penal code 120.12 deals with aggravated assault upon a person less than eleven years old. The crime is a class E felony and is broken down as follows.

In order to be charged with New York Penal Code 120.12, one must be 18 years old or older. The person in question must have assaulted a youth who is less than 11 years of age. For the charge to be considered aggravated assault, the child must also sustain an injury of some kind. Lastly, under 120.12, one must have been previously charged and convicted of assaulting a child under 11 years of age with three years of the allegation.

There are several related offenses, as New York breaks down these crimes depending on the situation and severity. New York Penal Code 120.01 is Reckless assault of a child by a child day care provider. When a child day care provider is not involved, the crime is listed as New York Penal Code 120.02: Reckless assault of a child. Another related offense is New York Penal Code 120.70, or Luring a child. Assault in the third degree is defined under section 120.00 of the New York Penal Codes.


An example of aggravated assault upon a person less than eleven years old is that a nine-year-old boy comes into the kitchen while his grandfather is cooking dinner. The boy accidentally knocks over a plate of unfinished food. The grandfather loses his temper and throws the child into a cupboard. The boy falls and breaks his arm. If the man who assaulted the young boy had previously been convicted of assaulting a child within a three-year window, he could be charged under New York Penal Code 120.12.


If one faces such a charge, it is imperative to be in immediate contact with a NYC criminal lawyer in order to build a proper defense. There are several possible defenses to Aggravated assault upon a person less than eleven years old, as follows.
The first possible defense retains to the stipulation of physical injury upon the child. In order to prove that the child sustained such an injury, there must be evidence of some sort of physical impairment as a direct result of the incident. It is possible to argue that no such injury occurred, and therefore a conviction under New York Penal Code 120.12 would be difficult to secure.

As is the case with any other aggravated assault charge, another possible defense is self-defense. In order to argue this, justification for the assault must be proven. This means that the perpetrator had reason to believe that their life was in danger or that there was an immediate threat of physical harm upon their body, and they took the necessary measures in order to prevent such an attack on themselves. Because 120.12 deals with a child under eleven years old, a possible angle to the self-defense argument relates to the child holding some sort of weapon, whether a knife, gun, heavy stick, or another dangerous object.


Aggravated assault upon a person less than eleven years old is a class E felony and faces a maximum of four years in prison. The charge also carries a fine of up to $5,000. It is also possible that the judge orders restitution paid to the child and also prevent contact between the adult and the victim.

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