Assault With a Deadly Weapon

By legal definition, assault with a deadly weapon takes place when one person attacks and physically injures another with a gun, knife, dagger, billy club, blackjack, metal / plastic knuckles, or any other object that New York state law classifies as a deadly weapon. Using fists alone to cause an injury is not enough to sustain this charge.

Assault in the Second Degree is a Class D violent felony punishable by 2-7 years in jail. It is most commonly charged when a person causes physical injury to someone else with a deadly weapon. Physical injury in this instance refers to an injury that impairs one’s physical abilities and causes considerable pain. Assault in the First Degree is a Class B violent felony that applies when a person intentionally causes serious physical injury to someone else with a deadly weapon. Serious physical injury in this instance refers to an injury that poses a substantial risk of death or actually results in death, disfigurement, or major physical impairment. This charge is regarded on the same level as attempted murder, and the typical punishment is 5-25 years in prison.

Assault with a deadly weapon in a federal territory is punishable by up to 10 years in prison if the injuries are serious or life-threatening. Assault with intent to commit murder can result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years. It is a federal offense to attack a federal officer or government employee in the course of their lawful duty, and use of a dangerous weapon during the assault can lead to a 20-year term in federal prison. Assault with a deadly weapon is also a federal crime if it occurs during an attempt to rob or steal property belonging to the U.S. government.

Because assault with a deadly weapon is a serious charge, anyone accused of this offense should consult a criminal defense attorney right away. There may be mitigating factors such as self-defense and absence of a deadly weapon, and competent legal advice is necessary.

Self-defense, sufficient provocation, absence of the deadly weapon accidental infliction of an injury, failure to prove that the defendant committed the assault, and mental illness are all viable defenses to an assault with a deadly weapon charge.

On May 2, 2014, David Tarloff, 46, was sentenced to life in prison for murdering Dr. Kathryn Faughey and assaulting her colleague, Dr. Kent Shinbach, inside their Upper East Side office in February 2008. On March 28, a New York State Supreme Court jury found Tarloff guilty of Murder in the First and Second Degrees, Assault in the First Degree, and Attempted Robbery in the First Degree. He had been armed with a cleaver, mallet, and multiple knives.

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