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Assault & Battery: New York Defense Lawyer

From their office in Goshen, the New York criminal defense attorneys at Dupée & Monroe, P.C. help people throughout the Hudson Valley and Orange County who have been charged with assault, battery, harassment, or other serious charges.  If you have been arrested for assault, call our dedicated and effective assault & battery defense legal team for advice and representation.

Defining “Assault” and “Battery”

People often use the terms “assault” and “battery” together or interchangeably. However, the two terms carry separate, specific legal meanings. In many states, “assault” refers to aggressive behavior that puts an alleged victim in fear of immediate bodily harm or other unwanted touching. “Battery,” in those states, refers to actual unwanted or violent physical contact. A person might be charged with both assault and battery if they physically attack a victim because they both put the victim in fear of the attack and then succeeded in causing physical harm.

In New York, battery was a common-law crime, which means that it was judge-made as opposed to written explicitly in the state statutes. Battery covered intentional unpermitted acts that caused harmful or offensive contact with another person’s body. Battery is no longer a crime in New York. Instead, New York’s current assault laws cover the various forms of unwanted touching, while the closest approximation of the crime of battery is covered by “harassment in the second degree.”

Harassment in the second degree is a violation, rather than a misdemeanor or felony. A person may be convicted of second-degree harassment when they strike, kick, shove, or otherwise subject a person to unwanted physical contact, or threaten to do so. Second-degree harassment also covers following a person about in a public place (i.e., stalking) and engaging in conduct that alarms or seriously annoys a person without serving any legitimate purpose (i.e., harassment.)

Civil Claims for Assault & Battery

Often, defendants charged with assault will face both criminal and civil liability. The state prosecutes criminal charges for assault to punish, detain, or rehabilitate alleged criminal violators. Alleged victims of assault, on the other hand, have the right to pursue civil damages for the harm they have suffered at the hands of the alleged perpetrator. Civil liability is entirely separate from criminal liability, and one is not dependent upon the other. Civil claimants typically seek monetary compensation as well as official vindication for the harm they have endured.

In order to prove civil liability, the plaintiff need only demonstrate by a “preponderance of the evidence” that the defendant committed an act of unwanted physical touching. The standard of proof is significantly lower than the burden for proving criminal liability (beyond a reasonable doubt). If a defendant is convicted for criminal assault, that conviction will essentially serve as definitive proof that the defendant committed the same acts for civil purposes. If a defendant is acquitted or the criminal charges dropped, however, the lack of a criminal conviction will not serve as a strong defense to the civil claims.

If you are facing criminal charges for assault, make sure you have an attorney prepared to advise you on your concurrent civil liability. Civil liability can lead to significant monetary penalties well in excess of the criminal fines imposed for an assault conviction. Talk to a seasoned New York assault & battery attorney for advice and representation.

Get Help With Your New York Assault & Battery Charges

The lawyers at Dupée & Monroe have decades of experience helping people like you build the strongest defense possible against charges concerning assault and battery. If you have been arrested for assault or other offenses in Goshen, Orange County or anywhere in the Hudson Valley region, contact Dupée & Monroe, P.C., for immediate assistance from experienced New York criminal defense attorneys.

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