Criminal convictions have a way of sticking with you, but some are more impactful than others. Those crimes that are against a person tend to color others’ perceptions of you and your character, affecting your ability to get a job, secure housing, or make certain business transactions such as buying a business. It may seem unfair, but it is a fact of life, nonetheless.

A criminal battery conviction is one such crime that you definitely don’t want to come up with in a background check. It can cast a bad light on you, tarnish your reputation (no matter how good it is), and call your integrity into question. Human beings draw conclusions about others, and they can have biases that affect not only how they judge people, but how they treat them.

What’s more, a person who is convicted of criminal battery is often sued by the defendant for civil battery. So, in addition to criminal penalties, you may face civil penalties as well.

The truth is you do not want a criminal battery conviction on your record. If you are facing criminal battery charges, you need an attorney who will fight for you. You need a criminal defense attorney who has the training and experience to effectively navigate the often complex criminal court system and ensure that your rights are protected.

You need The Litvak Law Firm.

Mr. Litvak has the skill, experience, and knowledge that is necessary to help you get the best possible outcome of your criminal battery case. He is a New York criminal defense lawyer representing clients at both the state and federal levels. When you choose Litvak Law, you choose a team that will work tirelessly to get you the justice you deserve.

Overview of Criminal Battery

Battery falls under both civil and criminal law. In both cases, it involves intentionally touching or applying force to another person’s body, without their consent, in a way that is offensive or harmful. This is not the same as assault, which is confusing to some. Assault is the threat of battery or causing another to fear or experience apprehension of an immediate and impending battery. The majority of the time battery is preceded by an assault which is how they have become so intertwined.

A conviction for criminal battery requires that three elements are proven beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Intent – Criminal intent to cause an offensive or harmful contact. A criminal intent to harm, break the law or do wrong (mens rea).
  2. Contact – Contact with the other person, their clothing, or other effects, without their consent.
  3. Harm – The physical, emotional, or mental harm that was caused by the battery. Criminal battery is not just limited to physical harm to another person.

Battery can find its way into several different crimes, such as domestic violence cases, sexual crimes, and hate crimes. There are also different types, including simple criminal battery and aggravated battery which range from misdemeanors to felonies.

The doctrine of transferred intent also applies to criminal battery. This means that if you intended to strike one person, but they moved to avoid the blow, causing you to strike a third person, you can still be charged with battery in both criminal and civil court.

Federal Criminal Battery

Under federal law, an assault is not only the threat or attempt to do physical harm, but also if the attempt is followed through and the victim is wounded, beaten, or struck.

18 U.S.C. § 113(a)(4) – Assaults Within Maritime and Territorial Jurisdiction

(a) Whoever, within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, is guilty of an assault shall be punished as follows: Assault by striking, beating, or wounding, by a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or both.

The instances where the crime of battery becomes a federal assault charge include:

  • It takes place on property owned by the United States, including a federal prison, a national park, or on board a United States ship
  • The crime has an “aggravated” factor which increases the severity although this is usually handled at the state level but can be bumped up to federal in certain cases.
  • The victim is an employee of the United States, federal agent, or a federal officer who is performing in their role or duty as a federal employee, agent, or officer (lack of knowledge that the victim was a federal employee, agent, or official is not a defense)
  • The crime was committed while the defendant was attempting to steal or rob money, mail, or property that belongs to the government of the United States (lack of knowledge that the property belonged to the U.S. government is not a defense).

18 U.S.C. § 2114(a) – Mail, Money, or Other Property of the United States

(a)Assault.— A person who assaults any person having lawful charge, control, or custody of any mail matter or of any money or other property of the United States, with intent to rob, steal, or purloin such mail matter, money, or other property of the United States, or robs or attempts to rob any such person of mail matter, or of any money, or other property of the United States, shall, for the first offense, be imprisoned not more than ten years; and if in effecting or attempting to effect such robbery he wounds the person having custody of such mail, money, or other property of the United States, or puts his life in jeopardy by the use of a dangerous weapon, or for a subsequent offense, shall be imprisoned not more than twenty-five years.

18 U.S.C. § 247(a)(2) – Damage to Religious Property; Obstruction of Persons in the Free Exercise of Religious Beliefs

(a)Whoever, in any of the circumstances referred to in subsection (b) of this section— (2) intentionally obstructs, by force or threat of force, including by threat of force against religious real property, any person in the enjoyment of that person’s free exercise of religious beliefs, or attempts to do so

(b) The circumstances referred to in subsection (a) are that the offense is in or affects interstate or foreign commerce.

18 U.S.C. § 245 – Federally Protected Activities

(a)(1) Nothing in this section shall be construed as indicating an intent on the part of Congress to prevent any State, any possession or Commonwealth of the United States, or the District of Columbia, from exercising jurisdiction over any offense over which it would have jurisdiction in the absence of this section, nor shall anything in this section be construed as depriving State and local law enforcement authorities of responsibility for prosecuting acts that may be violations of this section and that are violations of State and local law. No prosecution of any offense described in this section shall be undertaken by the United States except upon the certification in writing of the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, the Associate Attorney General, or any Assistant Attorney General specially designated by the Attorney General that in his judgment a prosecution by the United States is in the public interest and necessary to secure substantial justice, which function of certification may not be delegated. (2) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit the authority of Federal officers, or a Federal grand jury, to investigate possible violations of this section.

(b)Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, by force or threat of force willfully injures, intimidates or interferes with, or attempts to injure, intimidate or interfere with— (1) any person because he is or has been, or in order to intimidate such person or any other person or any class of persons from—

(A) voting or qualifying to vote, qualifying or campaigning as a candidate for elective office, or qualifying or acting as a poll watcher, or any legally authorized election official, in any primary, special, or general election.

(B) participating in or enjoying any benefit, service, privilege, program, facility, or activity provided or administered by the United States;

(C) applying for or enjoying employment, or any perquisite thereof, by any agency of the United States;

(D) serving, or attending upon any court in connection with possible service, as a grand or petit juror in any court of the United States;

(E) participating in or enjoying the benefits of any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance; or

(2) any person because of his race, color, religion, or national origin and because he is or has been—

(A) enrolling in or attending any public school or public college.

(B) participating in or enjoying any benefit, service, privilege, program, facility, or activity provided or administered by any State or subdivision thereof;

(C) applying for or enjoying employment, or any perquisite thereof, by any private employer or any agency of any State or subdivision thereof, or joining or using the services or advantages of any labor organization, hiring hall, or employment agency;

(D) serving, or attending upon any court of any State in connection with possible service, as a grand or petit juror;

(E) traveling in or using any facility of interstate commerce, or using any vehicle, terminal, or facility of any common carrier by motor, rail, water, or air;

(F) enjoying the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any inn, hotel, motel, or other establishment which provides lodging to transient guests, or of any restaurant, cafeteria, lunchroom, lunch counter, soda fountain, or other facility which serves the public and which is principally engaged in selling food or beverages for consumption on the premises, or of any gasoline station, or of any motion picture house, theater, concert hall, sports arena, stadium, or any other place of exhibition or entertainment which serves the public, or of any other establishment which serves the public and (i) which is located within the premises of any of the aforesaid establishments or within the premises of which is physically located any of the aforesaid establishments, and (ii) which holds itself out as serving patrons of such establishments; or

(3) during or incident to a riot or civil disorder, any person engaged in a business in commerce or affecting commerce, including, but not limited to, any person engaged in a business which sells or offers for sale to interstate travelers a substantial portion of the articles, commodities, or services which it sells or where a substantial portion of the articles or commodities which it sells or offers for sale have moved in commerce; or

(4) any person because he is or has been, or in order to intimidate such person or any other person or any class of persons from—

(A) participating, without discrimination on account of race, color, religion, or national origin, in any of the benefits or activities described in subparagraphs (1)(A) through (1)(E) or subparagraphs (2)(A) through (2)(F); or

(B) affording another person or class of persons opportunity or protection to so participate; or

(5) any citizen because he is or has been, or in order to intimidate such citizen or any other citizen from lawfully aiding or encouraging other persons to participate, without discrimination on account of race, color, religion or national origin, in any of the benefits or activities described in subparagraphs (1)(A) through (1)(E) or subparagraphs (2)(A) through (2)(F), or participating lawfully in speech or peaceful assembly opposing any denial of the opportunity to so participate—

shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death. As used in this section, the term “participating lawfully in speech or peaceful assembly” shall not mean the aiding, abetting, or inciting of other persons to riot or to commit any act of physical violence upon any individual or against any real or personal property in furtherance of a riot. Nothing in subparagraph (2)(F) or (4)(A) of this subsection shall apply to the proprietor of any establishment which provides lodging to transient guests, or to any employee acting on behalf of such proprietor, with respect to the enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of such establishment if such establishment is located within a building which contains not more than five rooms for rent or hire and which is actually occupied by the proprietor as his residence.

18 U.S.C. § 241 – Conspiracy Against Rights

If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same

New York Criminal Battery

Under New York law, there is no “criminal battery” charge under NY penal code. Instead, the statutes charge individuals with assault which is defined as intentionally striking another individual and inflicting injury upon them.

While in civil court assault and battery are two different torts that may at times overlap, in criminal court, individuals are charged solely with assault.

Under NY Penal Law Article 120 – Assault and Related Offenses, there are 13 assault crimes. The majority of those have several subsections that expand the law to include more ways that you can be guilty of committing assault.

  • 120.00 – Assault in the third degree
  • 120.01 – Reckless assault of a child by a child daycare provider
  • 120.02 – Reckless assault of a child
  • 120.03 – Vehicular assault in the second degree
  • 120.04 – Vehicular assault in the first degree
  • 120.04-A – Aggravated vehicular assault
  • 120.05 – Assault in the second degree
  • 120.06 – Gang assault in the second degree
  • 120.07 – Gang assault in the first degree
  • 120.08 – Assault on a peace officer, police officer, fireman, or emergency medical services professional
  • 120.09 – Assault on a judge
  • 120.10 – Assault in the first degree
  • 120.11 – Aggravated assault upon a police officer or a peace officer
  • 120.12 – Aggravated assault upon a person less than eleven years old

There are also certain sex crimes in which assault is a factor:

NY Penal Law Article 130 – Sex Offenses

  • 130.91 – Sexually motivated felony
  • 130.95 – Predatory sexual assault
  • 130.96 – Predatory sexual assault against a child

In some cases of domestic violence, the family court and criminal court may concurrently maintain jurisdiction. These include certain assault acts.

NY Family Court Act Article 812

Procedures for family offense proceedings. 1. Jurisdiction. The family court and the criminal courts shall have concurrent jurisdiction over any proceeding concerning acts that would constitute… assault in the second degree, assault in the third degree, and attempted assault

Some cases of medical malpractice also include assault.

Penalties for Federal Criminal Battery

The penalties for the federal crime of assault which include the act of battery can be very serious. They range from one year in prison to life in prison or the death penalty.

18 U.S.C. § 113(a)(4) – Assaults Within Maritime and Territorial Jurisdiction

    • Maximum 1 year in prison
    • Fine

18 U.S.C. § 2114(a) – Mail, Money, or Other Property of the United States

    • Maximum 25 years in prison

18 U.S.C. § 247(a)(2) – Damage to Religious Property; Obstruction of Persons in the Free Exercise of Religious Beliefs

    • If Bodily Injury Occurs
      • Maximum 20 years in prison
      • Fine 
    • If Bodily Injury Occurs by fire or explosion
      • Maximum 40 years in prison
      • Fine
    • If Death Occurs
      • Maximum life in prison or death

18 U.S.C. § 245 – Federally Protected Activities

    • Maximum 10 years in prison
    • Fine 
    • If Death Occurs
      • Maximum life in prison or death
      • Fine 

18 U.S.C. § 241 – Conspiracy Against Rights

    • Maximum 10 years in prison
    • Fine
    • If Death Occurs
      • Maximum life in prison
      • Fine 

Penalties for Criminal Battery in New York

New York has both violent and non-violent felonies. The majority of assault cases are considered to be violent in nature and most are felonies.

NY Penal Law Article 120 – Assault and Related Offenses

  • 120.00 – Assault in the third degree
    • Class A Misdemeanor
      • Maximum 1 year in jail
      • Maximum fine $1,000 
      • Probation
  • 120.01 – Reckless assault of a child by a child daycare provider
    • Class E Felony
      • No jail
      • Minimum 1.5 years in prison
      • Maximum 4 years in prison
      • Probation
  • 120.02 – Reckless assault of a child
    • Class D Felony
      • Minimum 2 years in prison
      • Maximum 7 years in prison
  • 120.03 – Vehicular assault in the second degree
    • Class E Felony
      • No jail
      • Minimum 1.5 years in prison
      • Maximum 4 years in prison
  • 120.04 – Vehicular assault in the first degree
    • Class D Felony
      • Minimum 2 years in prison
      • Maximum 7 years in prison
  • 120.04-A – Aggravated vehicular assault
    • Class C Felony
      • Minimum 3.5 years in prison
      • Maximum 15 years in prison
  • 120.05 – Assault in the second degree
    • Class D Felony
      • Minimum 2 years in prison
      • Maximum 7 years in prison
  • 120.06 – Gang assault in the second degree
    • Class C Felony
      • Minimum 3.5 years in prison
      • Maximum 15 years in prison
  • 120.07 – Gang assault in the first degree
    • Class B Felony
      • Minimum 5 years in prison
      • Maximum 25 years in prison
  • 120.08 – Assault on a peace officer, police officer, fireman, or emergency medical services professional
    • Class C Felony
      • Minimum 3.5 years in prison
      • Maximum 15 years in prison
  • 120.09 – Assault on a judge
    • Class C Felony
      • Minimum 3.5 years in prison
      • Maximum 15 years in prison
  • 120.10 – Assault in the first degree
    • Class B Felony
      • Minimum 5 years in prison
      • Maximum 25 years in prison
  • 120.11 – Aggravated assault upon a police officer or a peace officer
    • Class B Felony
      • Minimum 5 years in prison
      • Maximum 25 years in prison
  • 120.12 – Aggravated assault upon a person less than eleven years old
    • Class E Felony
      • No jail
      • Minimum 1.5 years in prison
      • Maximum 4 years in prison
      • Probation

NY Penal Law Article 130 – Sex Offenses

  • 130.91 – Sexually motivated felony
    • Classification is based on the type of assault
  • 130.95 – Predatory sexual assault
    • Class A-II Felony
      • Minimum 3 to 8 years in prison
      • Maximum life without parole
  • 130.96 – Predatory sexual assault against a child
    • Class A-II Felony
      • Minimum 3 to 8 years in prison
      • Maximum life without parole

Defenses for Criminal Battery

An effective criminal battery or assault defense attorney can get your charges lessened or even dropped. There are several routes your criminal defense attorney may take:

  • Defendant has Consent 
  • Statute of Limitations
  • Self Defense
  • Defense of Another Person
  • Defense of Property
  • Intoxication
  • Coercion (or forced to commit battery)
  • Performance of Duty and Authority
  • The Statute of Limitations has Expired

Being charged with assault in New York can mean significant prison time. Your best bet is to get an attorney who will fight for you in court. Assault charges are very serious so getting a good attorney early in your case is very important.

When you need an attorney who has the experience and skill to argue your case and give you your best chance at a better outcome, turn to New York criminal defense attorney Igor Litvak of The Litvak Law Firm, call him at 718-989-2908 today.

He is in your corner, and he will fight to ensure your rights are protected.