Assault is one of the more common violent criminal charges that people find themselves facing in New York. Even people who usually abide by the law can make a mistake during an argument or confrontation that could lead to allegations of assault if someone gets hurt.
Depending on a number of factors, individuals accused of hurting someone else could find themselves facing straightforward misdemeanor assault charges or more serious aggravated assault charges.
Understanding how New York prosecutors and law enforcement professionals differentiate between simple assault and aggravated assault can give you a better idea of whether the charges in your case reasonably reflect the situation that produced them.
Aggravated assault charges involve specific complicating factors
Any violence or intentional act that causes physical injury or harm to another person performed with the intent of causing harm might qualify as assault under New York law. Most simple assault cases will produce misdemeanor charges, but felony charges are possible if the state brings aggravated assault charges against someone.
However, aggravated assault charges only stem from situations meeting very specific criteria. When the victim of an assault offense is a law enforcement professional, the state will likely bring aggravated assault charges if they can prove that the alleged aggressor knew the person worked in law enforcement.
New York might also charge people with aggravated assault in situations where the assault involves a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument. Finally, an adult accused of third-degree assault on a child under the age of 11 who has a previous record of a similar offense in the last three years could also face aggravated assault charges.