What Makes an Assault Charge "Aggravated" per New York Law?

According to New York law, assault and battery are civil terms, but in criminal cases, statutes only charge people with assault. No charge for criminal battery exists in New York. Although there is an overlap in assault and battery in terms of civil cases, there is no such thing as a criminal battery charge in New York. There are different levels of assault per New York law. The more serious versions of assault involve the conduct that the perpetrator exhibited, as well as the physical harm the victim endured.

Aggravated assault is the most serious assault charge in New York State. It is a 1st degree, felony assault charge, and it occurs when a perpetrator acts with reckless disregard and causes serious injury to another person. The main factors that can enhance, or aggravate, an assault charge are whether a weapon was used, and the extent of the physical harm the victim sustained. The use of a deadly weapon in commission of a crime constitutes aggravated assault, whether or not the weapon caused physical injury to another person.

Another reason a person might be charged with aggravated assault is the specific identity of the victim, such as assaults on police officers or firefighters. If the person was of a protected class, such as a racial minority or LGBT, among others, then it can constitute a hate crime, which further enhances the assault charges, and can automatically meet the criteria for an aggravated assault.

If the perpetrator’s intent was to cause severe harm or they threatened severe injury, the assault charge can be pushed from “simple” to aggravated. Depending on their mental state, reckless behavior can include the reckless indifference to human life. The extent of the victim’s injuries can also cause an assault to become aggravated, such as injuries threatening death or injuries which maimed or disfigured the victim.

Seek Legal Guidance for Your Aggravated Assault Charges

Aggravated assault charges are felonies, meaning the penalties are harsh and have lasting consequences. For the best chance of a good outcome to your case, you should be sure to seek out a knowledgeable attorney who is familiar with assault laws in New York, who can examine the facts of your case to assemble potential defenses to the criminal charges.

Your peace of mind, future, and freedom are on the line if you’ve been charged with aggravated assault. Contact us at O’Brien & Wood, PLLC to speak with a member of our legal team about your charges, and we can help you assemble a solid defense.

Contact us at (518) 240-9992 to speak to a member of our team today.

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