Queens Assault with a Knife

N.Y. Pen. Law §§ 120.00, 120.05, 120.10

Assault is a crime that involves physically injuring another person. The law does not require that the act be intentional. The act can be reckless or negligent. While many assaults occur without the use of a weapon, when a weapon such as a knife is used to commit an assault there is a greater likelihood that someone will be seriously injured. While a knife wound could be a minor scratch or puncture, a knife could cause a deep puncture with internal bleeding. A knife could amputate a finger or hand. A knife could easily damage a vital organ. The consequences of committing an assault with a knife can be quite serious, particularly if the victim suffers a serious physical injury. For this reason if you are accused of assaulting someone with a knife it is critical for you to contact an experienced Queens Assault who understands New York assault law and who will vigorously defend you from the time you are arrested until your case is resolved.

Assault with a knife charges

An assault with a knife charge can be any one of 3 different types of assault charges including assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, and assault in the third degree. Under New York Penal Law a knife is considered a deadly weapon. N.Y. Pen. Law § 10.00(12). There several different types of knives including a switchblade knife, gravity knife, pilum ballistic knife, metal knuckle knife, box cutter and dagger.

Assault in the first degree. You will face a change of assault in the first degree if with intent to cause serious physical injury if you seriously injure another person or a third person with a deadly weapon such as a knife. Or, with indifference to human life you engage in reckless conduct that results in the death or injury of another person. N.Y. Pen. Law § 120.10. As it is one of the most serious assault offenses, assault in the first degree is a Class B felony. For example, in People v. Abdul-Khaliq, 841 N.Y.S.2d 551 (2007) defendant Khalif Abdul-Khaliq was convicted of assault in the first degree based on slashing the victim's face. The victim required 31 stitches.

Assault in the second degree. Assault in the second degree with a knife is similar to assault in the first degree with a knife. The difference is that with second degree assault, you intend to injure another person, while with first degree assault your intent is to seriously injure another person. N.Y. Pen. Law §§ 120.05 and 120.10. Assault in the second degree is a Class D felony. For example, in People v. Jones, 973 N.Y.S.2d 136 (2013) defendant Marvel Jones was convicted of assault in the second degree based on cutting the victim in the face with a razor with the intent to cause serious injury.

Assault in the third degree. Assault in the third degree is the least serious assault with a knife crime. It is a Class A misdemeanor. You will face this crime if with criminal negligence you cause physical injury to another using a knife. N.Y. Pen. Law § 120.00. Criminal negligence is defined as engaging in conduct that grossly deviates from the standard of care that a reasonable person would use in that situation. N.Y. Pen. Law § 15.05(4)

The Arrest and Arraignment

In some cases if you are suspected of committing a crime and are arrested the police officer will issue you a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT). With a DAT you are required to show up at a specified place and time for your arraignment. However, you will not be detained for hours and hours in Central Booking while awaiting your arraignment. Because assault in the first degree and assault in the second degree are felonies, it is not likely that you will not receive a DAT. Usually DATs are only given for misdemeanors. Thus, if you are arrested for assault in the third degree, you may receive a DAT. Otherwise if you are arrested for assault with a knife you will end up in Central Booking where you will remain for approximately 24 hours until your arraignment. During the arraignment you may find that the prosecutor decided to charge you with additional crimes, or raise the degree of the crime. For example, based on the allegations of the case, the prosecutor may decide to charge you with robbery in addition to assault.

At the arraignment you will also learn whether you will be held without bail, released on your own recognizance, or released after paying bail. Whether or not the judge will require bail and the amount of bail will be based on how much of a flight risk the court determines you to be.

Before your trial there will be a number of hearings and meetings. The prosecutor may offer you a deal that would require you to plead guilty to lesser charges. If you agree then you will receive a sentence based on the lesser charge and you will avoid a trial. If no plea deal is agreed upon, then you will ultimately go to trial.

Defenses to an Assault Charge

Extent of Injury. To sustain any assault with a knife charge, at a minimum the victim must experience a "physical injury." As a physical injury is defined by New York Penal law as an impairment of physical condition or substantial pain, most knife wounds would likely qualify. This would be enough for an assault in the third degree. Other assault crimes such as assault in the first or second degree require that the victim sustain a serious physical injury. This means that the prosecutor's evidence must clearly show that the victim suffered more than a slight prick with the knife or a flesh wound. The injury must be so severe that the there was a good possibility that the victim could have died or suffered an extended physical impairment. N.Y. Pen. Law § 10.00(10). If you can show that the victim's injuries were actually not that severe, then you may have a valid defense to assault in the second degree charges.

Self-Defense. New York has a "justification" statute that allows you to use physical force against another person to protect yourself from imminent harm. N.Y. Pen. Law § 35.15. This type of defense is commonly referred to as self-defense. If the reason that you used a knife to injure the other person is because you were protecting yourself or a third party then you may have a valid defense to an assault charge with a knife. However, to use the justification defense the other person had to have initiated the violence and not you. In addition, you cannot use more force than is reasonably necessary to protect yourself. If you had the opportunity to retreat but instead you used a knife, the court may not be swayed by the justification defense.

Consequences of an Assault Conviction

Whether you go to jail or prison for an assault with a knife conviction depends on the specific charge of which you are convicted. A conviction for misdemeanor third degree assault with a knife will result in a far less severe sentence than a conviction for felony first degree assault with a knife. While if you are convicted of third degree assault with a knife you may avoid prison, in most cases for a conviction of assault with a knife you will end up going to prison for at least 2 years. The actual length of your prison sentence will depend on factors such as your prior criminal record.

  • Non-Violent Predicate: A non-violent felony conviction within the last 10 years.
  • Violent Predicate: A violent felony conviction within the last 10 years.
  • Persistent Felony Offender: At least 2 prior felony convictions.

In addition, there will be financial consequences in the form of fines, fees, and restitution.

  • Class A misdemeanor. The maximum possible sentence is 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Class D felony. The maximum possible sentence is 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
    • No prior convictions: Minimum 2 years in prison
    • Non-violent predicate: Minimum 3 years in prison
    • Violent predicate: Minimum 5 years in prison
    • Persistent felony offender: Minimum 12-15 years in prison; maximum life
  • Class B felony. The maximum possible sentence is 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
    • No prior convictions: Minimum 5 years in prison
    • Non-violent predicate: Minimum 8 years in prison
    • Violent predicate: Minimum 10 years in prison
    • Persistent felony offender: Minimum 20-15 years in prison; maximum life
Post-Release Supervision

If convicted of a felony assault offense based on using a knife upon being released from prison you will be required to serve a term of post-release supervision. The term of post-release supervision will be 1.5-3 years for a Class D felony and 2.5-5 years for a Class B felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 70.45(2)(e). There will be several conditions attached to your post-release supervision. If you violate any of these conditions there is a good possibility that you will be sent back to prison. The rules include that:

  • You must not commit a crime. If you commit even a "minor" infraction including a misdemeanor, you could be in violation of the terms of your probation.
  • You must not associate with other people who you know have criminal records
  • You must not patronize unlawful or disreputable places. This means that you are not permitted to go to places known for illegal activity.
  • You must not possess controlled substances or drug paraphernalia
  • You must consent to warrantless searches without probable cause
  • You must submit to home visits by your Parole Officer
  • You must regularly report to your Parole Officer
  • You cannot leave the State of New York without permission.
  • You must let your Parole Officer know if you move. You cannot move out of state without permission. Your Parole Officer will have to approve such a move and will have to make arrangements with your new jurisdiction to take over your probation supervision.
  • You must not own, possess or purchase a gun
  • You must complete any ordered substance abuse treatment or medical treatment
  • You must stick to a curfew
  • You must have job or be enrolled in school. If you change jobs or schools, you must let your Parole Officer know.
  • You must pay restitution to your victim
Financial consequences

In addition to having to pay a fine of up to $1,000 for a misdemeanor assault with a knife conviction or up to $5,000 for a felony conviction, you will be required to pay certain fees including a "mandatory surcharge" of $300 as well as a victim assistance fee of $25. N.Y. Pen. Law § 60.35. You may also be required to pay parole supervision fees of $30 per month.

Another financial consequence of an assault with a knife conviction is that you may be ordered to pay restitution to the victim. Generally, the maximum amount of restitution is $15,000. However, the restitution may be considerably more as medical expenses for knife wounds can be significant and the court may require you to pay those expenses.

If you do not pay a fine, fee or restitution you could be arrested and charged with criminal contempt, the victim could file a civil lawsuit to recover the ordered restitution, and if you are on probation it could be revoked.

Orders of Protection

If you are charged with criminal assault, it is routine for the prosecutor to request that the judge issue a Temporary Order of Protection against you in favor of the complaining witness. The complaining witness is the victim. An Order of Protection is a legally enforceable order issued by the court that forbids you from engaging in certain behavior. For example, an Order of Protection can forbid a person from having any contact with the victim. This means that you will not be permitted to go to the victim’s home, place of employment, or school, or contact that person via email, phone, text or any other electronic means. The Order of Protection will also order you not to assault, threaten, harass, or stalk the victim.

Depending on the outcome of the case, a final or permanent Order of Protection will be issued at the end of the case. A final Order of Protection can last from one year to several years. If the case is dismissed the Order of Protection will end.

Additional criminal charges

If you are arrested for cutting or stabbing someone, assault with a knife will not likely be the only criminal charge you face. Depending on the facts of your case, you may also be charged with criminal possession of a weapon, burglary, robbery, sexual assault, manslaughter, or homicide. Any additional charge could result in an addition conviction. You will receive an additional sentence based on any additional convictions.

Long-Term Consequences

Being convicted of a assault with a knife will result in you having a criminal record. While your prison sentence, probation term and post-release supervision term will all end, and you will be able to pay off your financial obligations, a criminal record will remain with you for the rest of your life. Here are a few ways that having a criminal record will impact your life:

  • Difficulty in finding a job, as many employers will resist hiring someone with a violent criminal past
  • Barred from certain professions such as teaching and practicing law
  • Ineligible for certain government benefits such as welfare and federally-funded housing
  • If you are not a citizen you may be subject to deportation under federal law
  • Barred from serving on a jury
  • Barred from owning a gun

Intentionally, recklessly or negligently injuring someone with a knife is quite serious. You could face a charge of assault that could bring you a sentence that involves going to prison and paying stiff fees, fines and restitution. However, there may be defenses to a charge of assault with knife that could result in you not being convicted. If you have been arrested for assault with a knife, contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with assault with a knife, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with a dangerous instrument, assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, assault in the third degree as well as other crimes. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of assault in the following locations:

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