Assault in the Third Degree: NY Penal Law 120.00

Assault in the Third Degree, pursuant to New York Penal Law 120.00, is the most common degree or type of New York Assault crime charged by prosecutors in New York City – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island – and the surrounding suburbs in Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland and Orange Counties. Regardless if you find yourself in Brooklyn Criminal Court after being issued a NYC Desk Appearance Ticket for a bar fight with a stranger, Manhattan Criminal Court awaiting arraignment on a Domestic Violence related arrest or in a Town or Justice Court in the Hudson Valley for a physical altercation with a neighbor, the penalty for this class “A” misdemeanor is the same. While you might find yourself housed on Rikers Island if you are convicted in New York City and a respective county jail, such as the Dutchess County Jail, if your case stems from an incident in a Hudson Valley town or city, know that you face up to one year in jail. The law does not mandate incarceration for this long a term, but no jail, weekend jail, months in custody, probation, community service and a conditional discharge are all permissible.

Third Degree Assault: Elements of NY Penal Law 120.00

Assault in the Third Degree comes in two major “forms.” The first, intentional Assault, NY Penal Law 120.00(1), is fairly simple and straight forward. If you intend to cause physical injury and actually cause that physical injury to some other person, then you are guilty of this offense. Easy to visualize, if you intend to punch someone, land that punch with the intent to cause them substantial pain and give that person a swollen, cut up and bloody lip, you have committed this crime. That said, keep in mind that while the law may not change, if that “someone” you punch is a spouse, partner, or other family member, this straightforward crime can have magnified ramifications.

The second theory of Assault in the Third Degree is codified in New York Penal Law 120.00(2). Instead of acting with intent, meaning it was your goal to cause a physical injury, you act recklessly and cause this injury to another person.

It should be clear, and your New York criminal defense attorney can explain it in depth, that a key element to either of these charges is that the injury caused rises to a "physical injury." Physical injury is a legal term that equates to "substantial pain." If you punched your intended victim and left no mark and caused no pain, then your weakness may be your defense even if it was your intent to hurt him or her in a significant manner. Without that pain, there is no completed crime. Having said that, as discussed on the main page generally addressing the crime of Assault in New York, the District Attorney with jurisdiction over your case can still charge you with the crime of Attempted Assault in the Third Degree. New York Penal Law 110/120.00(1) is a class "B" misdemeanor. Although not punished as harshly as the completed offense, incarceration remains on the proverbial table.

Whatever the allegation, degree of injury or section of Assault in the Third Degree that is alleged, do not shrug off your arrest. Whether you are jailed or not, misdemeanor convictions are no less permanent than felonies. From rendering you unable to pursue careers, negatively impacting your immigration or legal status, and simply causing you, your family and your employer tremendous shame and ridicule, a conviction for Third Degree Assault is devestating.

From stranger Third Degree Assault arrests to Domestic Violence allegations involving PL 120.00, secure the legal counsel of a New York criminal defense attorney with the knowledge and experience to successfully shepherd your case through the criminal justice system. When a permanent criminal record is the alternative, there is no substitution for the advocacy of the New York criminal lawyers, assault attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC.

Call the criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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