I recently wrote about how a criminal charge could ruin your life, and why it is prudent to hire a criminal defense lawyer. Some of you might think – “I’ll never be hit with a criminal charge!”
Well, the truth is that it’s not difficult to get to that position.
For example, in Queens, you can be charged with misdemeanor assault if you intentionally injure someone without legal justification to do so. When you assault and injure someone, charges can range from misdemeanor to felony charges depending on the severity of the assault and whether or not there were weapons involved. If you injure someone while in the process of committing a criminal act with a weapon, it becomes a felony. If the injured person was given special protections according to the laws in Queens, then the charges can be quite severe.
What is misdemeanor assault?
“Misdemeanor assault” occurs when you cause someone physical injury intentionally or through your reckless actions. You might also face misdemeanor charges if you injure someone by carelessly using a dangerous instrument or weapon.
What is the definition of “physical injury” according to the laws in Queens?
The definition of a “physical injury” is when someone is injured physically – not emotionally or mentally. According to the laws in New York, to be considered physically injured a victim must suffer some type of pain or physical impairment.
For misdemeanor assault that is perpetrated “with intent,” the accused must have been intentionally trying to injure another individual. Someone can be charged with misdemeanor assault if they just intended to injure someone and ended up injuring the wrong person or a bystander. This means if you try to intentionally hurt someone but instead miss and you hit someone else, then you can be charged with misdemeanor assault; your intention might not have been to hurt the person you did, but you did intend to hurt someone.
Acting with recklessness
If you act recklessly without regard for others who might be present and someone ends up getting injured, you can be charged with misdemeanor assault. It doesn’t matter if you intended to injure the other person or not; the fact that you didn’t take care not to injure anyone, and thus acted with disregard, is enough to face charges of misdemeanor assault.
Acting with negligence
In some cases you might unintentionally injure someone and still be charged with misdemeanor assault. Cases where someone acts with negligence (which means they either did something to cause someone to be injured, or they failed to act, and that failure led to someone’s injuries) might be grounds for misdemeanor assault. If you do something where any reasonable person could have foreseen someone being injured through your actions, then you might face charges of misdemeanor assault in Queens.
Dangerous instruments or deadly weapons
A “dangerous instrument” would be described as something that might not directly be used as a weapon (which can include a vehicle) but if used in a specific way can be a dangerous instrument. Deadly weapons are weapons that have the purpose of causing harm. Deadly weapons are things like firearms, metal knuckles, gravity knives, switchblades or any other kind of knife. In general, if you use any weapon that causes harm – whether its intended purpose is to be a weapon or not – you can be charged with assault. For instance, if you hit someone over the head with a vase and injure them, that could be considered assault with a dangerous instrument, even though the vase is not intended to be a weapon.
Penalties for misdemeanor assault
Misdemeanor assault is considered a Class A misdemeanor. If you are convicted of misdemeanor assault in Queens, it is possible to be sentenced to prison for up to a year, to be on probation for as many as three years, and to incur fines of up to $1000.
If you are charged with misdemeanor assault in Queens, it is imperative that you hire a criminal defense attorney to minimize the penalties, fines, and consequences of a criminal record. There are times when misdemeanor assault can cause you some significant damage. Since it stays on your criminal record, it can affect your career options, housing opportunities, and other things in your future. A good Queens assault attorney will be able to help either minimize sentencing, or – in some instances – have your case thrown out, depending on the specifics of the case.