Assault and battery are terms that most individuals have likely heard of and even have a decent grasp of these terms but the penalties and aggravating factors can be complex, even for a legal expert. However, legal terms assault and battery, and any variation on those charges, carry specific meanings that can mean the difference between a fine and jail time. Furthermore, aggravating factors can cause a misdemeanor charge to be elevated to a felony offense.
Under New York law, there are three degrees of assault charges. Each has factors that help determine the crime level the state is dealing with under the circumstances.
Assault in the Third Degree:
An individual is guilty of assault in the third degree if:
- With intent to injure an individual, the guilty party causes that injury to the individual or a third party;
- The individual’s recklessness results in physical injury to another person or;
- The individual was criminally negligent; i.e. did not take proper steps to prevent an accident, resulting in physical injury to another person using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
Assault in the Second Degree:
An individual is guilty of assault in the second degree if:
- With intent to seriously injure an individual, the guilty party caused that injury to the individual or a third party;
- With intent to injure an individual, the individual causes the injury person employing a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument;
- Any attempt to prevent the efforts of public service agencies, such as police or firefighters, from fulfilling their duty;
- The individual recklessly causes physical injury to a person through a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument;
- Drugging an individual without proper medical reasoning;
- Any injuries that arise from the commission of a felony;
- Injuring a fellow inmate;
- An legal adult intending to inflict physical harm to an individual age eleven (11) or lower.
Assault in the First Degree:
- With intent to seriously injure an individual, the guilty party caused that injury to the individual or a third party by utilizing a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument;
- An individual with the intent to disfigure, amputate, or inflict significant damage on an individual’s organ or body, and the guilty party causes the injury;
- An individual recklessness shows a depraved indifference to human life that results in an injury;
- As part of the commission of a crime.
In addition to these different degrees charges, it also includes hazing, gang-related activity, and the crime of menacing (where a person’s actions, behavior, etc., can cause a third party to fear for their life). The following is an expansive view of assault charges and includes several crimes and elements that do not align typically match public understanding of the charge.
Under New York Criminal Law, battery is not a crime on its own but part of the more significant crime of assault. However, civil law recognizes the act of battery and may allow a complainant to recover damages. Thus, battery itself is not a separate crime from assault in New York Criminal Law.
Aggravated assault is a similar charge to assault but only employed under certain circumstances. Particularly concerning incidents involving a vehicle, attacking a police officer, or harming a child under the age of eleven (11).
Aggravated vehicular assault: An individual is guilty of this crime if the individual drives recklessly and strikes another individual with their vehicle. Elements of the crime include whether the individual was operating a motor vehicle on a suspended license or had alcohol in their system. The severe individual injury must be a result of the driver’s actions.
Aggravated assault of a police officer or peace officer: An individual is guilty of this crime when they act with the intent to interfere with an officer’s duty through violence with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
Aggravated assault of a child less than eleven (11) years of age: A person is guilty of the crime when an individual above eighteen (18) commits an assault upon a person less than eleven years old. The individual must have been previously convicted of such crime upon a person less than eleven years old within the preceding ten years.
Each of these forms of assault carries heavy penalties since they are felony offenses. These crimes modify existing charges but carry more severe penalties based on the individual’s behavior.
How Many Types of Assault Charges are in the New York Penal System?
There are three degrees of assault charges in the penal system, rising in severity from third to first. Beyond those three categories, several similar crimes are also under this category, including gang activities, hazing activities, and the corruption of menacing.
Is Battery a Crime in New York?
Battery is no longer a crime in the New York penal system. However, it is still in civil trials under the charge of assault and battery. Victims thus use it to gain compensation from their attacker. However, it is not a concern in a criminal setting.
What distinguishes Aggravated Assault from Assault?
Aggravated assault is a distinct crime and only covers certain specific circumstances, such as vehicular assault or assaulting a police officer. It is considered a more severe crime than typical assault charges.
Contact Pride Legal
If you or a loved one are dealing with any type of assault or battery charge, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.