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Felony or Misdemeanor Assault: Do you know the difference?

When most of us think about “assault“, we probably think of someone physically hurting another person.  However, in New York, there are different levels of this crime.  There are different levels to the penalties that one may receive for committing assault.  Whether you are accused of a felony or misdemeanor, you need to understand that the severity of the crime makes a difference with the charge and penalties you receive.  Let’s begin by discussing the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony assault.

Misdemeanor Assault

A misdemeanor assault charge can derive from intentionally or negligently causing “physical injury”.  For example,  John and Ralph get into a physical fight. The young lady standing nearby was struck in the face by Ralph who intended to strike John.  Can that young lady file charges against Ralph even though he did not intend to cause her physical harm?  Yes.  Ralph can be charged with a misdemeanor for causing harm to a bystander.  He may also be charged with misdemeanor assault for threatening to physically harm the bouncer attempting to break-up the melee.

Felony Assault

However, what if during the same altercation, Ralph decides to grab the gun from his car and repeatedly strike John? Unlike the last scenario, there is now a deadly weapon involved.   After reviewing the severity of the crime, he will then be facing felony charges.  Like a misdemeanor, in order to commit felony assault, Ralph must be found to have intentionally or recklessly caused physical injury to others.  Consequently, what makes the assault a felony in New York is the severity of the assault and weapons used to commit the crime.  Therefore, in New York, the question would be, has Ralph committed first-degree or second-degree assault against John?  Again, we’d have to assess the severity of John’s injuries.  If John’s injuries have a life-altering effect, Ralph will be facing first-degree charges.

Punishment in New York

If you are found guilty of misdemeanor assault you may face up to one year in jail, three years probation, and a fine.  For second-degree, you could be jailed for up to seven years with a minimum of three years.  You could face up to 25 years for first-degree.  The length of time you receive for your charge could be dramatically reduced given you do not have prior charges.

However, to obtain the best outcome of your case and gain peace of mind, you need to consult, The Law Offices of Gilbert C. Parris.  Our firm has several years of experience resolving criminal charges at all levels.  Give our firm a call and get on the road to redemption today.