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What Happens If You Assault A Customer In New York?


If you work in the service industry, you’ve probably dealt with at least one unruly customer in New York. These customers may be intoxicated, belligerent, or simply upset about something that went wrong with their service. Whatever the case may be, it is important to resist the urge to become violent with customers. If you do so, you could face serious legal consequences. But what might happen if you “snap” and assault a customer in New York?

Deli Workers Assault Customer in Queens 

On July 7th of 2023, it was reported that a pair of deli workers in New York had been indicted on numerous charges after assaulting one of their customers. Apparently, the customer became angry about his order, which led to a verbal altercation between the defendants and the alleged victim. The two workers then emerged from behind the counter and proceeded to assault and strangle the customer.

They were charged with strangulation in the first degree, strangulation in the second degree, assault in the second degree, and assault in the third degree. Among these charges, first degree strangulation is by far the most serious. If convicted, these deli workers could face well over a decade in prison. The victim was close to death when the authorities arrived on the scene, although he eventually received life-saving treatment. If he had died, the charges would have been much, much worse.

Can I Assault a Customer if They Are Shoplifting? 

A reasonable amount of force can theoretically be used to detain shoplifters in New York. This is known as “Shopkeeper’s Privilege.” However, this does not mean you can assault shoplifters in a brazen manner. The only real purpose of this law is to allow certain employees to restrain suspected shopkeepers until law enforcement arrives or the suspect returns the stolen items. When in doubt, it is always a good idea to simply call 9-11 instead of taking the law into your own hands. Not only could you put yourself in danger, but you might also face legal consequences.

What if I’m Acting in Self-Defense? 

If a customer becomes violent with you, self-defense is justified. You may still face charges for defending yourself, but juries will likely be sympathetic if it is clear you were simply trying to prevent yourself from coming to harm. That being said, it is once again preferable to call the police and avoid direct conflict if at all possible.

Book a Consultation with a New York Defense Attorney Today 

If you have been accused of assaulting, threatening, or otherwise harming a customer in New York, your best bet is to get in touch with a qualified, experienced New York defense attorney at your earliest convenience. Choose Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney at Law to strive for the best possible results and get started with a solid defense strategy. Remember, assault and other violent crimes may come with strict penalties. Get in touch today.



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Phillip J. Murphy,
Attorney At Law
Free Consultations Calls Answered and returned 24/7 Phone: (845) 639-6600 Fax: (845) 639-6620

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New City, New York 10956

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Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney At Law is located in New City, New York and serves clients in and around New York, New Jersey & Connecticut. Contact our experienced criminal defense law firm.
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