New York Assault and Battery Laws
Overview of New York Assault and Related Offenses Laws
New York criminal law prohibits varying forms of assault. The basic requirement for any assault conviction is that the defendant cause physical injury. Factors such as the seriousness of the injury, the use of deadly weapons, and the mental culpability of the defendant determine the degree of his or her offense.
Intentional assault offenses require differing degrees of intent on the defendant's part to cause physical injury. Where intent to cause serious physical injury is an element of the offense, the prosecution must prove that the defendant intended to cause serious physical injury beyond a reasonable doubt. This specific intent requirement applies to first-degree and certain second-degree assault offenses. On the other hand, where the prosecution need only establish an intent to cause physical injury, no additional specific intent need be proved, and the defendant's intent may be established by his or her acts or conduct, the surrounding circumstances, or inference.
Example: Frank fired a shot at Leonard at close range, striking him in the chest. The prosecutor may establish the requisite intent for first-degree assault through Frank's use of a deadly weapon against Leonard at close range.
Example: Frank fired a number of shots, one of which grazed Leonard's arm and left a small mark. The prosecution would have insufficient evidence to show beyond a reasonable doubt that Frank intended to cause serious physical injury to (or disfigure) Leonard.
Certain forms of second- and third-degree assault (e.g., the reckless causation of serious physical injury to another by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument and, with criminal negligence, the causation of physical injury to another by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument) do not require an intentional state of mind.
A person commits aggravated assault when, with intent to cause serious physical injury to a person whom he or she knows or reasonably should know is a police officer or peace officer performing his or her duties, the defendant causes such injury by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument; or a defendant 18 years old or more commits third-degree assault upon a person less than 11 years old and has been previously convicted of the same offense within the last 3 years.
- Lack of injury
- Lack of intent
- Consent (defense is inapplicable to second-degree assault involving a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument and to third-degree assault involving intent to injure)
- Justification - self-defense or defense of others (defense is inapplicable where defendant was the initial aggressor)
Penalties and Sentences
Assault offenses range in classification from violent felony offenses to misdemeanors. Both first-degree assault and aggravated assault upon a police officer or peace officer are class B violent felonies. The former offense is punishable by a sentence of 5 to 25 years in prison, while the latter carries with it a harsher sentence of 10 to 30 years of imprisonment.
Second-degree assault is a class D felony and imposes a term of 2 to 7 years in prison. Aggravated assault of a person less than 11 years old by a person 18 years of age or older is a class E felony carrying a sentence of 1.5 to 4 years imprisonment. Fines for felony assault offenses may be up to $5,000 in amount. Third-degree assault is a class A misdemeanor and punishable by no more than 1 year in prison or a fine of up to $1,000.
Prior felony convictions of a defendant in the preceding ten years may increase the prison sentence imposed for his or her new conviction, whether the felonies were violent or non-violent in nature.
Penal Code Sections 120.00-120.12
Note: State laws are constantly changing - please contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.