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Queens Assault on a Social Worker

N.Y. Pen. Law § 120.05(3)

Assault is the criminal charge you will face if you intentionally or recklessly cause physical injury to someone else. In other words, it is an act of violence against another person causing that person harm. While any assault is serious, New York law specifically addresses violence against certain classes of people including social workers. Social workers have been beaten, stabbed, shot and assaulted in other ways while trying to do their jobs. If you assault and injure a social worker while that person is attempting to do his or her job, instead of facing a misdemeanor charge you will be charged with a serious felony. As a consequence you could end up in prison for several years. Thus, if you have been charged with assault on a social worker contact a Queens Assault on a Social Worker Lawyer as it is important to be represented by someone with experience who will vigorously defend you from the time you are arrested until your case is resolved.

What is Assault on Social Worker?

Under New York's assault statute assault on a social worker is a type of second degree assault. Law § 120.05(3). The following factors must be present to commit the offense of assault on a social worker

  • The victim must be an employee of a public social services organization
  • The victim must be directly involved in an investigation of alleged abuse or neglect of a child, vulnerable elderly person, incompetent person, or physically disabled person, or in providing public assistance and care to such a person
  • You must have the intent to prevent the victim from investigating the alleged abuse or providing public assistance or care
  • You must have caused physical injury to the victim

It is a Class D felony.

To be charged with this offense the injury to the victim does not have to be a serious physical injury. It just must be a physical injury. This means that it is not necessary that the injury be so severe that there is a risk of death or permanent disfigurement. It means that the victim must suffer an injury that causes impairment or substantial pain.

Are there Defenses to an Assault on a Social Worker Charge?

Type of Injury. An assault in the second degree based on assaulting a social worker requires that the victim's injury be serious enough that the victim suffered impairment or substantial pain. If the injury does not meet that standard of seriousness, then you will have a valid defense against an assault on a social worker charge.

What are the Consequences of an Assault on a Social Worker Conviction?

If you are convicted of assault in the second degree your sentence will include prison, payment of fines and fees, and post-release supervision.

Incarceration. If you are convicted of assault in the second degree based on assaulting a social worker, you would have been convicted of a Class D felony. Generally, the maximum possible sentence that you could receive is 7 years in prison. N.Y. Pen. Law § 70.02. Because assault in the second degree is also a violent felony the law requires that the judge impose a minimum sentence of 2 years in prison. The most important factor that will determine the actual length of your prison sentence is your criminal history. Depending on your history you will be labeled as having no prior felony convictions, a non-violent felony conviction, a violent felony conviction, or as having at least 2 prior felony convictions.

If you have a prior non-violent conviction then the court will sentence you to at least 3 years, while if you have a prior violent conviction you will be sentenced to at least 5 years in prison. If you have 2 or more felony convictions you will be classified as a persistent felony offender. The minimum sentence you will receive is 12-25 years in prison and the maximum sentence is life in prison. N.Y. Pen. Law § 70.08. Because assault in the second degree is a violent felony offense, you will be required to serve 6/7 of your sentence before you will be eligible for release.

Post-Release Supervision. If convicted of assault in the second degree based on assaulting a social worker part of your sentence will also include a term of post-release supervision of 1.5-3 years. N.Y. Pen. Law § 70.45(e). Your post-release supervision will be overseen by the Division of Parole. There will be several rules that you must follow while you are on post-release supervision, and you will be assigned to a Parole Officer to whom you must regularly report. Examples of conditions that will be attached to your post-release supervision include that you must not commit a crime, must not associate with other people who you know have criminal records, you must not patronize disreputable places, you must not possess a controlled substance or drug paraphernalia, you must consent to warrantless searches, you must submit to home visits by your Parole Officer, you must regularly report to your Parole Officer you cannot leave the State of New York without permission, you must now own, possess or purchase a gun, you must refrain from consuming alcohol, you must submit to drug testing, you must stick to a curfew, and you must have job.

It is of critical importance that you follow each of the rules regarding your post-release supervision. If you fail you risk having your post-release supervision revoked and being sent back to prison.

Fines, Fees and Restitution. There will also be financial consequences to being convicted of assault on a social worker. The law requires that you pay various fees including a victim assistance fee of $25 and a mandatory surcharge of up to $300. Furthermore, the law allows the judge to order you to pay a fine of up to $5000. On top of that you may be ordered to pay restitution to your victim. Generally, the maximum restitution is $15,000. However, the court may increase the amount to more than $15,000 to cover the amount of the victim's medical expenses. However, if you cannot pay the judge may adjust the payment terms, lower the amount you must pay, or revoke the part of the sentencing requiring you to pay.

Long-Term Consequences. The consequences of a being convicted of a felony go beyond "paying your dues" with a prison sentence and fine. You will "pay" for this crime for years after you complete your prison sentence, complete your term of post-release supervision and pay fees, fines and restitution. Additional consequences include:

  • Criminal record
  • Barred from certain professions such as attorney or teacher
  • Barred from holding a license to operate a child day care center
  • Denied admission to some colleges
  • Denied permission to live on campus at some colleges
  • Barred from owning a gun
  • Lose custody of your children
  • Deportation if you are not a U.S. citizen

Being accused of attacking a social worker is serious. Because the law has determined that the consequences of assaulting someone working for a social services department must be severe, you can expect to receive a harsh sentence if you are convicted of assaulting a social worker. You will go to prison for several years, losing precious time with your loved ones. In addition, you will be required to pay thousands of dollars in financial penalties. However, there are defenses to a charge of assault on a social worker that only someone with experience will understand. Thus, if you have been arrested for assault on a social worker it is important to immediately contact someone who understands both substantive New York criminal law and the New York criminal court system. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with assault in the second degree as well as other crimes, such as menacing, reckless endangerment, stalking, rape, and child endangerment. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of assault in the following locations:

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