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Criminal offense of first degree assault carries stiff penalties

Assault charges in New York are very common. Any fight between two or more persons can result in assault charges. The charged offense can range from a misdemeanor to a felony. The range of imprisonment on this type of criminal offense can go from one year up to 25 years.

The New York State Police and local police recently collaborated in arresting a 20-year-old man on charges of first degree assault, which is a class B violent felony. The authorities allege that the defendant was in an altercation with a 21-year-old acquaintance in the early hours of April 6. They say that he repeatedly stabbed the other person with a knife in the head and torso.

The injured person was able to get up and walk to a friend's house where the call to 911 was made. Assault in the first degree in New York is defined as intentionally inflicting serious bodily injury on another with a weapon. The charge is a very serious criminal offense that carries a minimum prison sentence of five years and a maximum of 25 years.

The victim's injuries are described as non-life threatening. Criminal defense counsel must diligently learn the facts to find the most viable defenses to assert. Sometimes, the police may arrest the person who was most injured but not the person who actually initiated and pursued the fight. Additionally, the police may believe the first person who calls them without getting the other's version.

Further, while the injuries may sound ominous, they may not be serious enough to qualify under the New York criminal statute. The severe potential sentence mandates that defense counsel aggressively prepare the strongest defenses based on the facts. In some instances, the facts may turn out to be too tainted or insufficient for the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Moreover, if the motive and mindset of the so-called victim was as intimidating,  or even more intimidating, than the defendant's, the prosecution may be pressed to offer a plea to a significantly reduced criminal offense.

Source: Mid Hudson Valley, NY, Patch, "Arrest in Cornwall Stabbing", Lanning Taliaferro, April 7, 2016

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