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The charge of assault and its possible defenses


New York recognizes different levels of assault and provides different legal requirements that prosecutors must prove in order to secure convictions on them. From simple assault to assault with the intent to cause serious injury, this post will discuss what must be demonstrated for a person to be convicted on their charges and what defenses they may exercise to mitigate the claims made against them.

Generally assault charges must be based on the presence of two elements: an intention and an action. A person must intend to cause injury to another person in order to be convicted of assault, and in the case of simple assault the accused's actions may be used to demonstrate their intent to harm another person. In the case of a more serious assault charge a prosecutor must prove that the accused not only wanted to cause the other person harm but that they wanted to cause them serious injury.

The action requirement of an assault charge is proven through the injury of the alleged victim. In New York the victim of an assault must actually suffer physical harm for the elements of the claim to be fulfilled. Without an injury a criminal defendant may be able to show that the elements of the crime were not fulfilled and that they are not guilty of the actions for which they have been accused.

Lack of injury and lack of intent can both serve as assault defenses in New York. A criminal defendant may also be able to show that their actions were committed in self-defense because the alleged victim in their case attempted to attack them. Assault cases can take on different strategies depending upon the facts related to them and, for this reason, it is important that readers discuss their legal claims with their criminal defense attorneys for case-specific legal guidance.

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Lerner & Lerner, P.C.

Former prosecutors with more than 50 years of combined experience

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