Student Arrested for Second Degree Assault Against Teacher: New York PL 120.05 Dismissed

Who is going to believe me? Why would the police or a prosecutor take my side if a teacher claims that I assaulted her? Making matters worse, why would the District Attorney’s Office take my word over my teacher’s where she claims I caused her some degree of injury? After all, why would a teacher make up a story or exaggerate an incident that ended up with me being arrested and charged with a felony of Second Degree Assault? Am I going to go to prison on a “D” violent felony where my exposure on a conviction for New York Penal Law 120.05 is up to seven years in prison? What defense can my criminal defense lawyer establish if there were little or no witnesses? Does it come down to a defense of “he said she said?”

While the above questions may only be a fraction of those racing through your mind after you have been arrested and charged with felony crime in New York, when all is said and done your goal is an obvious one. If you are not guilty, then you are pursuing all of the legal avenues possible to resolve the arrest and case in non-criminal way. Fortunately for a client of the New York criminal defense lawyers at Saland Law PC, while we were able to secure an outright dismissal, the removal of an order of protection, and the ability of our client to return to the school should our client and our client’s family believe this was best for the child’s future.

Although Second Degree Assault has numerous subsections, in fact it has fourteen subsections along with further deviations within some of those sections, the most commonly prosecuted offenses are NY PL 120.05(1) and NY PL 120.05(2). Respectively, both of these theories of Second Degree Assault make it a Class “D” felony punishable by up to seven years when you possess the intent to cause a serious physical injury and in fact do so or you intend to merely cause a physical injury but do so with a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon. Not charged with these crimes, because the allegation involved a school employee on school grounds, even though the alleged injury was the lesser physical injury and did not include a weapon, Saland Law PC’s client was charged with NY PL 120.05(10).

Working against us, our client was a large child and arguably bigger than most adults. Physically, our client had the “tools” to cause an injury in the event our client intended to do so. However, we argued that the teacher who claimed to have been hurt by our client’s intentional acts misrepresented and even exaggerated the [non] incident. Why would she do so? Did she have a motive? All very good questions and ones we tried to address. Even more important, we not merely encouraged but pushed the District Attorney to speak to another teacher who was present at the time and location where are client was accused of this violent crime. After what was literally a couple of months or more, the District Attorney’s Office did the homework we hoped that they would have done at the inception of the case and the witness ultimately made the genuine efforts to share her observation after being hesitant to do so.

While the end result was a dismissal, one objectively can understand how for anyone – especially a teenager – a criminal allegation, arrest and proceeding can overwhelm their world. Fortunately, our client can now move forward in life without the fear and anxiety of a criminal case.

Read about any type or degree of New York Assault crimes from the misdemeanor crime of Third Degree Assault to the most serious felony offense of First Degree Assault, review the information found on the blog’s links.

Saland Law PC is a New York criminal defense firm established by two former Manhattan prosecutors representing clients throughout the New York City and Hudson Valley region for all Assault related crimes.


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