In the United States, crimes are categorized three different ways:
Violations are minor charges, and are rarely used except in juvenile cases or non-moving infractions. Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies but still carry fines and the potential for jail. Felonies are very serious offenses that are usually punished with jail time and fines. There are a lot of different variables between the felony and misdemeanor charges, but basically, it’s penalties. On a felony conviction, you are likely to go to a state prison facility or have a longer term of probation.
People often underestimate the impact of having even a misdemeanor on their record. The reality is that any type of crime can go on your permanent record and can surface in the future and be used in future employment evaluations.
Like most crimes, criminal assault comes in varying degrees that relate directly to the severity of the injury and how the assault takes place. Assault is an action that causes physical injury to another person with or without the use of a weapon. The consequences of committing a violent crime are serious and can change your life forever.
If you are charged with an assault crime, cooperate with the police but do not provide them with any information. Call a lawyer immediately after your arraignment, but preferably before your arraignment. It is always best to have a lawyer at your arraignment so they can deal with your bail in front of the judge.
Degrees of assault
The severity of an assault charge depends on how serious the injuries are and can be compounded if a weapon was used or if the assault occurred against a police officer. Assault in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor in New York state – a criminal offense. If you are convicted of assault in the third degree, you will have a criminal conviction on your record. Someone who commits an assault in the third degree has physically assaulted another person, causing physical injury without that other person having given consent for the physical contact.
Assault in the third degree has several subsections, one of which is reckless assault, which is like negligence. It means that you displayed disregard in a reckless way, but you didn’t intend to cause physical injury.
Examples of assault in the third degree include:
- Punching someone to cause a black eye
- Pushing someone down to cause a bruise
Assault in the second degree is a Class D felony in New York state, and it is punishable by up to seven years in a state prison. Someone who is charged with assault in the second degree has committed the crime of misdemeanor assault.
Examples of assault in the second degree include:
- Punching someone and breaking their finger
- An injury that causes someone to receive several stitches
Assault in the first degree is a Class B violent felony. This charge requires that intent of the other two degrees of assault is present, except that the intent to cause serious physical injury to the other person is carried out with the use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. Assault in the first degree carries a mandatory minimum of five years in prison with a maximum of 30 years. Examples of assault in the first degree include:
- Stabbing someone in the chest with a knife to cause serious internal injury
- Shooting someone causing serious, but not fatal, injury
More Information You Should Know About Assault Cases:
- What are the Penalties for Assaulting Another Person with a Dangerous Weapon?
Assault in the first degree occurs when you intentionally cause serious physical injury to another person using a dangerous weapon or instrument. This is a serious, violent felony, which is a Class C felony in New York State. You could be punished up to 15 years in jail.
- What Will Happen if I Assault a Police Officer?
If you assault a police officer, a peace officer, an emergency medical technician, or any medical emergency services provider, you may be guilty of a felony assault. If you are charged with assaulting a police officer, it is important that you contact an experienced criminal attorney to defend you. This is a Class C felony in New York State, and you could be sentenced to up to 15 years in a state penitentiary.
- What is an ACD?
For a first offense, an experienced attorney is usually able to negotiate an ACD, which is an abbreviation for adjournment and contemplation of dismissal. What this means is, if you stay out of trouble for the next six months, fulfill any condition that the court imposes, then the charges will be dismissed, your record will be sealed and expunged, and this will be like it never happened.
- What is the Difference Between an Adult and a Youthful Offender?
New York State categorizes crimes between adult and youthful offender. There are also cases that are sent to family court based on age as well. If you are above the age of 16, in most cases you will be prosecuted in adult court. However, if you are between the ages of 16 and your 18th birthday, you will be treated as a youthful offender. If you are under 16 years of age, your case will more than likely be referred to family court as a juvenile offender.
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