What is assault in New York?

On Behalf of | Aug 27, 2021 | Criminal Law |

“You are under arrest for assault and battery.” This phrase gets said so often in crime dramas that many people are under the impression that these two terms mean the same thing. In fact, the reality is much more complex than this.

Whether or not “assault and battery” is one charge, are separate charges or even if both of them exist at all depends on state law. According to FindLaw, “battery” is not a crime that exists in New York law; rather, everything falls under various forms of “assault.”

What is assault in NY?

The easiest way to define assault is “having the intention of causing an injury to a separate party.” There are many different classifications of assault in New York, but the most common assault charges are in the third, second, and first degree.

Assault in the third degree is “simple” assault and the courts may impose one year in jail upon conviction. It is a misdemeanor. Assault in the second degree is a Class D Felony with a minimum prison sentence of 3 years. The first-degree assault comes with 3-25 years in prison, with a minimum of 10 if the assault is against an officer of the peace.

Does somebody have to sustain an injury for an assault charge?

At its most base level, yes. Additionally, the injury must be significant in scope. However, this does not mean that “attempted assault” does not exist. Even if the courts downgrade your assault charge to attempted assault, it is possible for the courts to give you a long prison sentence. This may apply even if the victim did not sustain any injury at the time of the incident.