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What Happens If You Hurt A Senior In New York?


Assault is always a serious offense in New York, but the penalties may vary depending on the alleged victim. If you were involved in an altercation that left a senior with physical injuries, you face heightened penalties under New York law. How serious is this situation? How can you push back against excessive penalties for assaulting a senior?

Assaulting a Victim 65 or Older Leads to Serious Penalties 

If you assault someone who is 65 or older, you will be charged with assault in the second degree. This type of assault charge is more serious than assault in the third degree, and it leads to heightened penalties. In New York, you face a presumed minimum prison sentence of two years if convicted of assault in the second degree. You may also face a maximum sentence of up to seven years behind bars. Assault in the second degree is often erroneously referred to as “aggravated assault,” although it is not the most serious assault charge in New York. You can face even higher penalties for assault in the first degree.

When Might I Face Charges for Assaulting a Senior? 

Normally, you can only face penalties for assault in the second degree if you cause someone to suffer a “serious injury.” In other words, you would not face this charge for causing scrapes, bruises, and other minor injuries. New York law states that serious injuries include permanent disabilities, disfigurement, organ failure, death, and similar issues.

However, you may face penalties for assault in the second degree for causing any injury to a senior 65 or older. This might be a contusion, a laceration, a sprained wrist, or anything that requires medical attention. In other words, you could face up to seven years in prison for causing a senior to experience mild discomfort or pain.

What if I Caused Unintentional Injuries? 

If you never intended to cause the senior to suffer injuries, you cannot be convicted of assault in the second degree. Prosecutors must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you intended to cause physical injury to the complainant. If they fail to do this, the court must acquit you.

For example, you might have engaged in a verbal argument with a senior. After becoming emotional and animated, the senior might have fallen over. In this situation, you should not be convicted because you never intended to cause injuries. Another example might involve placing your hand on a senior’s shoulder to calm them down. If they fall over, you could argue that the injury was unintentional.

You Must Be Much Younger than the Victim 

You can also avoid conviction if you are much younger than the alleged victim. New York law states that in order to face assault in the second degree, you must be within ten years of the complainant’s age. If you are 57 and the complainant is 66, you cannot be convicted of assault in the second degree. Note that you may still face consequences for assault in the third degree.

Defend Yourself with a New York Assault Lawyer 

New York courts take violence against seniors very seriously. This highlights the need for effective legal representation. If you have been accused of hurting an elderly person in New York, it makes sense to get started on a defense strategy as soon as possible. Contact the New York City violent crimes lawyers at Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney at Law today to begin this process.




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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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