Assault Lawyer Rochester, NY
Defending Clients Who Are Facing Assault Charges in Monroe County
In some states, "assault" is considered the act of threatening someone with the possibility of violence, but in New York, it concerns actual, harmful contact. These vary in severity, but assault is considered a violent offense, and all those who are convicted not only face serious questions but a troubling black mark on their permanent record.
If you have been accused, then it is time to contact my New York law firm. As a Rochester criminal defense attorney, I have been staunchly defending clients in and out of court for more than 15 years.
Those who come to me for counsel can rest assured that they have the insight of a former prosecutor on their side—someone who knows how the justice system operates and, more importantly, how to counter the state’s efforts against you.
Misdemeanor vs. Felony Assault
What does it mean for a defendant to face assault charges in Rochester, NY? Does it make a difference whether you’re charged with a misdemeanor or felony assault charge?
A misdemeanor assault charge is categorized as a simple assault charge. It can carry up to one year in jail. The charge is usually applicable when the defendant is accused of intentionally or recklessly injuring another person. It can also apply to cases where a deadly weapon was used to cause physical injury.
A felony assault charge is a more serious offense that carries time behind bars in state prison. Felony assault charges range in severity, depending on the level of injury inflicted upon the victim. A felony charge would also be applicable in cases where a gun is used, or a victim is drugged and incapacitated.
What are the Degrees of Assault in New York?
Assault is described in NY State Law §120, and it is broken down into three degrees: first, second, and first. These degrees are organized by their perceived seriousness, with the first being considered the most severe.
Assault charges in New York include:
- Third-Degree (Misdemeanor): Charged when someone is believed to have intentionally, recklessly, or negligently injured another person. This charge is reserved for when minor injuries occur.
- Second-Degree (Class D Felony): Charged when significant injury is inflicted by the accused recklessly or intentionally. If there were weapons or instruments involved, this also qualifies as second-degree assault.
- First-Degree (Class B Felony): Charged for the most serious instances where grievous injury is inflicted. It can also be charged while victims are hurt while the accused is committing or fleeing another separate felony.
Possible Defense Strategies Against Assault Charges
Here are a few common defenses that may be used in assault cases:
- Self-defense: If you can demonstrate that you reasonably believed you were in direct danger of harm or force and used reasonable force to protect yourself, you may have a valid self-defense claim. Although, the force used must be proportionate to the perceived threat.
- Defense of others: Comparable to self-defense, you may argue that you were acting to protect another individual from harm and that your actions were necessary and reasonable under the circumstances.
- Lack of intent: Assault charges generally require proof that you had intentions to cause harm or intended to cause fear of harm. If you can prove that the alleged assault was accidental or lacked the necessary intent, it may be a viable defense.
- Alibi: If you can provide evidence or witnesses showing that you were actually not present at the scene of the alleged assault at the moment it occurred, it may undermine the prosecution's case against you.
- Insufficient evidence: Challenging the credibility or reliability of the prosecution's evidence, such as witness testimony or physical evidence, can be used as a defense strategy.
- False accusations: If you can provide evidence or establish a motive for the alleged victim to fabricate the assault accusation against you, it may be possible to argue that you were falsely accused.
Keep in mind that these are only a few possible defenses, and the specific defense strategy available may vary depending on the unique circumstances of your case. It is crucial to consult with our Rochester assault attorney from Christopher K. Rodeman Attorney at Law, who is knowledgeable about New York assault laws and can help you better understand the best course of action in your situation.
Third-degree assault can come with a maximum sentence of one year in jail. The other charges, which are serious felonies, can come with serious prison time and fines. For more specific information on what penalties you could be facing for your assault charge, contact me today. As your Rochester assault attorney, I can help assess the details of your case, determine what your legal options are, and mount a competent, dynamic defense on your behalf.
Contact Christopher K. Rodeman Attorney at Law, today to get started on your defense with an experienced assault lawyer in Rochester, NY.