The phrase, “You are under arrest for assault and battery” is very commonplace in American crime dramas. In fact, people hear this phrase so often that they believe that assault and battery are the same things.
The reality is that this is different between states. In some states, “assault and battery” is a single crime, and in others “assault” and “battery” are two distinct matters. In New York, there is no such thing as a battery charge. According to FindLaw, assault convictions in New York require that the defendant causes the victim physical injury.
What are the different levels of assault in New York?
The most basic charge is assault in the third degree. There is also assault in the second degree and assault in the first degree. 3rd-degree assault is “simple assault” and it involves causing a victim harm while intending to do so. It does not matter how serious the injury is: simple assault can result in up to a year in jail.
Assaulting somebody with the intent to cause serious bodily harm is a Class D felony. Assault in the first degree is a Class B violent felony. It typically involves causing injury by means of a dangerous weapon or instrument or causing an injury with the intent to disfigure or amputate.
What if somebody is not injured by an attempt at assault?
Assault charges in New York must involve some level of significant injury. In some cases, for example, domestic violence cases, the initial charge is assault at the behest of the victim. If there is no evidence backing up the alleged assault, prosecution may lower the charge to attempted assault, instead.