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Charged with assault: now what?

Finding yourself charged with any type of crime can be stressful and overwhelming. Maybe you had a disagreement with another person that got out of hand and now you find yourself facing assault charges in criminal court. You're probably wondering what this means and what you should do next.

Assault charges can be complicated, and the definitions of assault and battery can vary from state to state. In New York, there are varying forms and degrees of assault. The essential element of most assault charges is causing or intending to cause physical injury. Factors such as the seriousness of the injury, use of a weapon, and state of mind can affect the seriousness of the charge.

In New York, assault can be aggravated and intentional with various classifications. Most assault offenses, particularly first and second-degree assault and aggravated assault are felonies. Third degree assault is the only form of assault that is a misdemeanor offense. Each of these charges can carry serious penalties, including fines and jail time.

The amount of jail time accompanying an assault charge can vary based on a variety of factors. For instance, a person with a prior felony conviction within the past ten years could face an increased penalty. First degree or aggravated offenses could face anywhere from 3 to 30 years in prison.

It is important to understand the charges that you are facing, as well as any potential defenses to these charges, such as lack of injury, lack of intent, consent or justification. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you with every aspect of your case.

Source: FindLaw, "New York Assault and Battery Laws," accessed March 4, 2018.

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