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Domestic Assault

Violent or threatening actions made by one family or household member against another may be considered assault. Any assault offense can have significant consequences for an alleged offender, but situations are increasingly complicated when these criminal charges are in domestic settings.

In domestic violence cases, the NYPD officers understandably feel an obligation to protect alleged victims, but this can often leave entirely innocent people powerless to avoid an arrest and charges. Even when alleged victims have no desire to press charges, prosecutors may still opt to proceed with cases in which they feel they can obtain convictions.

In fact, most domestic cases proceed without cooperative complainants. Many people often assume that simply because their spouse/lover/companion does not want to press charges means that the District Attorney’s office will dismiss the charges. This could not be further from the truth. Make no mistake about it – if the district attorney’s office feels they have enough evidence to obtain a conviction they will proceed on with the case, despite the wishes of the complaining witness to the contrary.

Manhattan Domestic Assault Lawyer

If you were recently arrested for allegedly assaulting a family or household member, you will want to make sure that you have experienced legal representation. Greco Neyland, PC fights for clients accused of acts of domestic violence in Manhattan and New York City.

Jeff Greco and Dustan Neyland conduct thorough investigations in their handling of these cases, and our New York City domestic assault attorneys use the evidence they uncover to help get assault charges reduced or completely dismissed. You can have our firm provide a complete evaluation of your case and answer all of your legal questions by calling (212) 951-1300 to arrange a free, confidential consultation.


New York City Domestic Assault Overview


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Domestic Assault Charges in Manhattan

There are several different assault offenses listed under Article 120 of New York Penal Law that a person may be charged with for allegedly causing or threatening physical injury to a family or household member. These specific charges include:

  • Assault in the Third Degree, New York Penal Law § 120.00 — Assault is a class A misdemeanor if an alleged offender either has the intent to cause physical injury to a family or household member and causes such injury to the family or household member or another family or household member, recklessly causes physical injury to a family or household member, or with criminal negligence, causes physical injury to a family or household member by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument. A conviction is punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
  • Reckless Assault of a Child, New York Penal Law § 120.02 — It is a class D felony if an alleged offender who is 18 years of age or older recklessly causes serious physical injury to the brain of a child less than five years old by shaking the child or by slamming or throwing the child so as to impact the child’s head on a hard surface or object. A conviction is punishable by up to seven years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
  • Assault in the Second Degree, New York Penal Law § 120.05 — It is a class D felony if an alleged offender either has the intent to cause serious physical injury to a family or household member and causes such injury to the family or household member or another family or household member, has the intent to cause physical injury to a family or household member and causes such injury to the family or household member or another family or household member by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument, recklessly causes serious physical injury to another family or household member by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument, being 18 years of age or older and having intent to cause physical injury to a family or household member less than 11 years old recklessly causes serious physical injury to such family or household member, being 18 years of age or older and having intent to cause physical injury to a family or household member less than seven years old causes such injury to such family or household member, or having intent to cause physical injury to a family or household member who is 65 years of age or older causes such injury to such family or household member, and the alleged offender is more than 10 years younger than such family or household member. A conviction is punishable by up to seven years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
  • Assault in the First Degree, New York Penal Law § 120.10 — Assault is a class B felony if an alleged offender either has the intent to cause serious physical injury to a family or household member and causes such injury to the family or household member or another family or household member by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument, has the intent to disfigure a family or household member seriously and permanently or to destroy, amputate, or disable permanently a member or organ of his or her body and causes such injury to such family or household member or a third family or household member, or under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life, the alleged offender recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to the family or household member and thereby causes serious physical injury to another family or household member. A conviction is punishable by up to 25 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
  • Aggravated Assault Upon a Person Less Than Eleven Years Old, New York Penal Law § 120.12 — If an alleged offender is 18 years of age or older, commits the crime of assault in the third degree upon a family or household member less than 11 years old, and has been previously convicted of such crime upon a family or household member less than 11 years old within the preceding three years, it is a class E felony.

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New York City Domestic Assault Definitions

The legal definitions of some of the terms used in these statutes can be critical to prosecutors obtaining convictions. A person may be charged with an offense involving an alleged deadly weapon or causing a supposed serious physical injury when evidence indicates that neither are truly applicable.

The definitions of key terms in assault charges are provided in New York Penal Law § 10.00:

  • Deadly Weapon — Any loaded weapon from which a shot, readily capable of producing death or other serious physical injury, may be discharged, or a switchblade knife, gravity knife, pilum ballistic knife, metal knuckle knife, dagger, Billy club, blackjack, plastic knuckles, or metal knuckles.
  • Dangerous Instrument — Any instrument, article, or substance—including a “vehicle”—which, under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used or threatened to be used, is readily capable of causing death or other serious physical injury.
  • Serious Physical Injury — A physical injury that creates a substantial risk of death or causes death or serious and protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.

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Manhattan Domestic Assault Defenses

For a person who has been charged with one of these types of assault offenses, it can often feel as though he or she is presumed guilty and will struggle to prove his or her innocence. However, any one of a number of defenses can be utilized in these cases, including—but not limited to:

  • Defense of Property or Another Family or Household Member — If a family or household member was threatening to damage an alleged offender’s personal property or harm another family or household member, then the alleged offender may be forgiven for using force to protect that property or person.
  • False Allegations — It is not uncommon for a spouse to make up or exaggerate assault allegations in order to gain an advantage during a contentious divorce or child custody dispute. Similarly, other family or household members might manufacture stories for other manipulative reasons.
  • Incorrect Definitions The harm an alleged victim sustained may not qualify as a serious physical injury or the item that was allegedly used might not satisfy the legal definition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
  • Mistaken Identity — It may be possible that the alleged offender was named by an alleged victim or arrested by police when the actual assault or injuries were actually caused by another person.
  • Self-Defense — An alleged offender may have only caused injuries to a family or household member while attempting to protect him or herself from an attack or threat of danger proposed by that family or household member.

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Domestic Assault Lawyer in New York City – Greco Neyland, PC

Have you been charged with assault of one of your family or household members? You will want to make sure that you have experienced legal counsel.

Greco Neyland, PC aggressively defends clients all over Manhattan and the greater New York City area. Jeff Greco and Dustan Neyland know how to use their backgrounds to exploit the weaknesses in a prosecutor’s case, and our New York City domestic assault attorneys can review your case when you call (212) 951-1300 today to set up a free legal consultation.

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Jeff Greco
Jeffery Greco
Experience as a former prosecutor gives Jeffery Greco an edge in building the strongest possible defense strategy for the accused in New York City.
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Dustan Neyland
Dustan Neyland
A thorough investigation is key to finding every reasonable doubt and getting charges reduced or dismissed for NYC defense attorney Dustan Neyland.
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