How To Beat a Third-Degree Assault Charge

Jun 11 2024

Facing a third-degree assault charge can be a daunting and stressful experience. From potential jail time to a permanent criminal record, the consequences of a conviction can be severe. However, with the right legal representation and defense strategy, it is possible to beat a third-degree assault charge. At Konta Georges & Buza P.C., we understand the complexities of assault charges and the importance of a strong defense. Our team of experienced attorneys has successfully helped countless clients navigate the legal system and achieve favorable outcomes in assault cases.

What Is a Third-Degree Assault?

In New York, third-degree assault is a serious criminal charge that falls under New York Penal Law § 120.00. This charge is typically considered a misdemeanor and involves intentionally causing physical injury to another person. Understanding the specifics of what constitutes third-degree assault can help you better grasp the legal implications and potential defenses available if you are facing such a charge. Here are the key elements that define third-degree assault in New York:

Definition and Elements

To be charged with third-degree assault in New York, the prosecution must prove that the defendant engaged in one of the following actions:

  1. Intentional Infliction of Injury: The defendant intentionally caused physical injury to another person. This means that the defendant had the specific intent to cause harm, and as a result, the victim suffered a physical injury.
  2. Reckless Infliction of Injury: The defendant recklessly caused physical injury to another person. In this context, “reckless” means that the defendant was aware of and consciously disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk that their actions would cause harm.
  3. Criminal Negligence with a Weapon: The defendant caused physical injury to another person with criminal negligence by using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. Criminal negligence involves a failure to be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the same situation.

Physical Injury

For a charge of third-degree assault, the term “physical injury” is legally defined as impairment of physical condition or substantial pain. This can include a wide range of injuries, from minor cuts and bruises to more serious harm. The injury does not need to be life-threatening, but it must be more than trivial or temporary discomfort.

Understanding the specifics of what constitutes third-degree assault is crucial for mounting an effective defense. If you or someone you know is facing this charge, it is important to seek legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you navigate the complexities of the legal system and work towards the best possible outcome. At Konta Georges & Buza P.C., we are dedicated to providing aggressive and knowledgeable defense to protect your rights and future.

How to Beat a Third-Degree Assault Charge

Facing a third-degree assault charge can be daunting, but there are various strategies and defenses that can be employed to contest the charge and achieve the best possible outcome. Successfully beating this charge involves understanding the legal grounds of the accusation, examining the evidence, and leveraging legal defenses effectively. Here are some key steps and strategies to consider:

1. Understand the Charges and Legal Standards

To mount a successful defense, it is essential to fully understand the elements of third-degree assault under New York Penal Law § 120.00. The prosecution must prove that you intentionally or recklessly caused physical injury to another person or acted with criminal negligence using a deadly weapon. Knowing these specifics can help identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.

2. Review the Evidence

Carefully reviewing all evidence against you is crucial. This includes:

  • Police Reports: Examine the accuracy and completeness of police reports.
  • Witness Statements: Identify inconsistencies or biases in witness testimonies.
  • Medical Records: Assess the severity and nature of the injuries claimed.
  • Surveillance Footage: Look for any video evidence that might contradict the allegations.

3. Establish an Alibi

If you can prove that you were not present at the scene when the alleged assault occurred, this can be a strong defense. Presenting credible alibi witnesses or other evidence, such as surveillance footage or GPS data, can effectively challenge the prosecution’s case.

4. Self-Defense or Defense of Others

One of the most common defenses against an assault charge is self-defense. To use this defense, you must demonstrate that:

  • Imminent Threat: You reasonably believed you were in imminent danger of being harmed.
  • Proportional Force: You used only the amount of force necessary to prevent the harm.
  • Defense of Others: Similar principles apply if you were defending another person from imminent harm.

5. Lack of Intent

Arguing that the injury was not intentional can be a viable defense. If the incident was an accident or you lacked the requisite intent to cause harm, the prosecution may have difficulty proving their case. Demonstrating that your actions were misinterpreted or that the injury was a result of an unintended consequence can be crucial.

6. Challenging the Evidence

Successfully challenging the prosecution’s evidence can lead to a reduction or dismissal of charges. This may involve:

  • Questioning Witness Credibility: Highlighting inconsistencies or potential biases in witness testimonies.
  • Disputing Medical Evidence: Contesting the extent or cause of the injuries reported.
  • Suppressing Evidence: If evidence was obtained illegally, such as through an unlawful search or seizure, it may be possible to have it excluded from the trial.

7. Demonstrating Lack of Injury

For an assault in the third-degree charge to stand, the prosecution must prove that a physical injury occurred. If the injury is minor or non-existent, you can argue that it does not meet the legal threshold of “physical injury” as defined by New York law, which requires substantial pain or impairment of physical condition.

8. Negotiating a Plea Deal

In some cases, negotiating a plea deal with the prosecution may be the best strategy. This can involve pleading guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for reduced penalties. An experienced attorney can negotiate on your behalf to achieve the most favorable terms possible.

9. Hiring an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

The most important step in defending against an assault charge is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. A skilled lawyer can:

  • Analyze Your Case: Thoroughly review all aspects of your case to identify strengths and weaknesses.
  • Develop a Defense Strategy: Craft a tailored defense strategy based on the specifics of your case.
  • Represent You in Court: Advocate on your behalf during negotiations, hearings, and trials.
  • Navigate Legal Complexities: Guide you through the legal process, ensuring that your rights are protected at every stage.

At Konta Georges & Buza P.C., we have extensive experience defending clients against third-degree assault charges. We understand the complexities of these cases and are committed to providing aggressive and strategic defense to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome.

How a Third-Degree Assault Defense Lawyer Can Help

At Konta Georges & Buza P.C., we understand that being charged with assault can be a frightening and overwhelming experience. Our dedicated team of experienced criminal defense attorneys is here to provide you with the legal support and advocacy you need to navigate this challenging situation. Here’s how a third-degree assault defense lawyer from our firm can help:

Comprehensive Case Evaluation

When you choose Konta Georges & Buza P.C., we will conduct a thorough evaluation of your case. This includes:

  • Reviewing All Evidence: We meticulously examine all evidence, including police reports, witness statements, medical records, and any available surveillance footage, to identify strengths and weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.
  • Identifying Legal Issues: We analyze the specifics of your case to identify any legal issues that can be leveraged in your defense, such as procedural errors, violations of your rights, or weaknesses in the evidence.

Strategic Defense Planning

Our attorneys develop a tailored defense strategy based on the unique circumstances of your case. This involves:

  • Exploring All Defenses: We explore all potential defenses, including self-defense, lack of intent, and challenging the evidence, to determine the most effective approach for your situation.
  • Pretrial Motions: We file pretrial motions to suppress improperly obtained evidence, challenge the admissibility of certain evidence, and seek to dismiss charges when appropriate.

Aggressive Negotiation

In many cases, negotiating with the prosecution can lead to a favorable outcome. Our attorneys will:

  • Plea Bargaining: Engage in plea bargaining with the prosecution to seek a reduction of charges or a more lenient sentence, if appropriate for your case.
  • Pretrial Conferences: Represent you in pretrial conferences and hearings, advocating for your best interests and exploring all opportunities for case dismissal or charge reduction.

Courtroom Representation

If your case goes to trial, our skilled trial attorneys will provide vigorous representation in court. This includes:

  • Presenting Your Defense: We present a compelling defense, cross-examine prosecution witnesses, and introduce evidence and testimony that supports your case.
  • Jury Selection: Our attorneys are experienced in selecting a fair and impartial jury, ensuring that your case is heard by individuals who will give you a fair trial.
  • Closing Arguments: We deliver persuasive closing arguments that highlight the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and emphasize the reasonable doubt about your guilt.

Protecting Your Rights

Throughout the legal process, our primary focus is protecting your rights and ensuring you receive a fair trial. We will:

  • Advocate for You: Serve as your staunch advocate, ensuring that your voice is heard and your perspective is represented.
  • Ensure Due Process: Vigilantly monitor the legal process to ensure that your constitutional rights are upheld and that you are treated fairly by the judicial system.
  • Provide Guidance: Offer clear, concise guidance and advice at every stage of your case, helping you make informed decisions about your defense.

Emotional and Practical Support

Facing criminal charges can be emotionally draining. At Konta Georges & Buza P.C., we provide not only legal support but also practical and emotional assistance:

  • Clear Communication: We maintain open and clear communication, keeping you informed about the status of your case and what to expect next.
  • Support Resources: Connect you with support resources, such as counseling or rehabilitation services, to help you cope with the stress and impact of criminal charges.

If you or a loved one has been charged with third-degree assault, it is crucial to seek experienced legal representation as soon as possible. At Konta Georges & Buza P.C., we are committed to providing aggressive and knowledgeable defense to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards defending your future.

Third-Degree Assault Punishment

Being convicted of assault in the third degree in New York carries serious legal consequences. While this charge is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, the penalties can still significantly impact your life. Understanding the potential punishments can help you prepare for what lies ahead and highlight the importance of mounting a strong defense. Here’s an overview of the possible punishments:

Jail Time

A conviction for third-degree assault can result in jail time. The maximum sentence for this misdemeanor charge is up to one year in a county jail. The actual time served can vary based on the specifics of the case, the defendant’s criminal history, and other mitigating or aggravating factors.


Instead of, or in addition to, jail time, the court may impose a probation period. Probation for a misdemeanor can last up to three years. During this time, the defendant must comply with various conditions set by the court, which may include regular meetings with a probation officer, abstaining from criminal activity and substance abuse, participating in counseling or anger management programs, and completing community service hours.

Failure to comply with probation conditions can result in additional penalties, including possible jail time.


The court may also impose financial penalties. For a third-degree assault conviction, fines can be substantial, potentially reaching up to $1,000. Additionally, the defendant may be required to pay restitution to the victim for any medical expenses, lost wages, or other costs incurred as a result of the assault.


Beyond fines, the court can order the defendant to compensate the victim directly. This restitution is intended to cover the victim’s expenses related to the injury, such as:

  • Medical bills.
  • Physical therapy costs.
  • Lost income due to missed work.
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses stemming from the assault.

Criminal Record

A conviction for assault results in a permanent criminal record, which can have long-lasting consequences. A criminal record can affect employment opportunities, housing applications, educational opportunities, and professional licensing. This is why having a criminal defense lawyer is crucial for your defense.

Order of Protection

In some cases, the court may issue an order of protection (restraining order) against the defendant. This order can prohibit the defendant from contacting or coming near the victim and may include other specific conditions to ensure the victim’s safety. Violating an order of protection can lead to additional criminal charges and penalties.

Other Consequences

Beyond legal penalties, a conviction can lead to various personal and social consequences, such as damage to reputation and relationships, difficulties in obtaining loans or financial aid, and immigration consequences for non-citizens, including deportation or denial of entry into the U.S.

Konta Georges & Buza: New York’s Top Criminal Defense Team

With a track record of success in defending clients against a variety of criminal charges, including assault cases, Konta Georges & Buza have the experience and expertise to provide strong legal representation. If you are facing a third-degree assault charge, don’t hesitate to contact our office for a free consultation. We will review your case, explain your legal options, and provide the aggressive defense you need to fight the charges.


Is third-degree assault a felony in New York?

In New York, third-degree assault is classified as a misdemeanor rather than a felony. Misdemeanors are less serious offenses compared to felonies and typically carry lighter penalties. However, even though third-degree assault is considered a misdemeanor, it is still a criminal offense that can have significant consequences if convicted.

What would make an assault second-degree instead of third?

In New York, assault charges can be classified as either second-degree or third-degree based on the specific circumstances of the incident. Assault in the second degree is a more serious offense than assault in the third degree and carries harsher penalties. For instance, a second-degree assault may involve more serious injuries or the use of a weapon, while a third-degree assault may involve less severe injuries or no weapon. The distinction depends on the specific details of the case and the evidence presented.

Can a third-degree assault charge be reduced or dismissed?

Yes, it is possible to have a third-degree assault charge reduced or dismissed. This can happen through plea bargaining, where the defense and prosecution agree on a lesser charge or alternative sentence. Additionally, if the evidence is insufficient or improperly obtained, your attorney may be able to get the charges dismissed.

What should I do if I am falsely accused of third-degree assault?

If you are falsely accused, it is crucial to remain calm and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Avoid making any statements to the police or the accuser without legal representation. Collect any evidence that supports your innocence, such as witness statements, video footage, or alibi documentation, and provide this information to your attorney.

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