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Last Updated on: 28th September 2023, 08:56 pm
New York Assault in the First Degree
Assault is a criminal offense that involves intentionally or recklessly harming another person. There are varying degrees of assault that relate directly to the severity of the injury to the victim and the means by which the assault is accomplished. Assault in the first degree is the most severe type of assault in New York. In fact, it is one of the most serious crimes than you can commit.
Under New York Penal Code § 120.10, in order for you to be convicted of assault in the first degree the prosecutor must show the following:
- That you injured someone using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, and you had the intent to cause serious injury, or…
- That you caused serious and permanent disfigurement to another person, or…
- That you acted with a depraved indifference to human life which created a grave risk of death, and caused serious injury to another person.
Other than killing another person, First Degree Assault, pursuant to New York Penal Law 120.10, is the most serious crime found within the pages of the New York criminal code. In the simplest of terms, all intentional New York Assault cases stem from the same general concept – that is, you are guilty of Assault in any degree if with the intent to cause a physical injury to another person, you in fact cause that type of injury.
One of the key factors that differentiate the misdemeanor Third Degree variety, New York Penal Law 120.00, from the felony First Degree is the injury prosecutors must prove you intended to cause and actually caused. While any physical injury meets the standard for Third Degree, First Degree Assault requires the most serious types of injuries – those that create a substantial risk of death, or serious and protracted disfigurement, impairment of health or loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.
Elements of First Degree Assault in New York
For a prosecutor to obtain a conviction for first degree assault, they must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You intentionally caused serious physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument;
- You intentionally disfigured another person seriously and permanently;
- You acted with depraved indifference to human life, and recklessly engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of death to another person, and thereby caused serious physical injury to that person; or
- In the course of and in furtherance of another felony, or in immediate flight therefrom, you or another participant caused serious physical injury to someone other than a participant in the felony.
The questions and issues in any case, especially one as serious as a First Degree Assault arrest, are numerous. The potential for mistake if not handled properly are enormous. Educate yourself on the law, take the steps to protect your future and begin your defense before your future, liberty and family is compromised. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is essential.
Penalties for First Degree Assault in New York
First degree assault is a Class B felony in New York. The potential sentences if convicted include:
- 5 to 25 years in state prison;
- Post-release supervision for 1.5 to 5 years;
- Up to $30,000 in fines.
In addition to the strict penal sanctions, a conviction will result in you having a violent felony record. This brings with it many collateral consequences that will negatively impact you for life. Some examples include:
- Ineligibility for most professional licenses
- Difficulty obtaining employment
- Loss of voting rights
- Inability to possess a firearm
- Loss of admission to college
- Loss of ability to join the military
- Possible deportation if not a U.S. citizen
There are other related assault offenses in New York that are similar to first degree assault:
- Second Degree Assault – Intentionally causing serious physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. This is a Class D felony.
- Aggravated Assault Upon a Police Officer – Causing serious physical injury to a police officer while in the course of their duties. This is a Class C felony.
- Gang Assault – Assault by 3 or more people acting together, causing serious physical injury. First degree gang assault is a Class B felony, second degree is a Class C felony.
Defenses to First Degree Assault
There are several legal defenses that a skilled New York criminal defense lawyer can assert to fight first degree assault charges, including:
- Self-defense – Use of physical force was justified to protect yourself or another person from what you reasonably believed to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force.
- Defense of others – Use of physical force was justified to protect a third person from what you reasonably believed to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force.
- Lack of intent – The prosecution cannot prove you intended to cause serious physical injury.
- Misidentification – You were mistakenly identified as the perpetrator of the assault.
- Intoxication – You were involuntarily intoxicated and thus unable to form the requisite intent.
An experienced assault defense lawyer can review the details of your case and develop the strongest defense strategy. This may lead to getting the charges reduced or dismissed entirely.
Find a New York First Degree Assault Lawyer
Being charged with assault in the first degree in New York is an extremely serious matter. Your future and freedom are on the line. An aggressive criminal defense attorney can protect your rights at every stage. Do not delay in contacting a lawyer – the sooner you act, the better the outcome may be in your case.