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New York Penal Law § 120.09 – Assault on a Judge

Respected New York Defense Attorneys Defending the Rights of Clients Charged With Assaulting Judicial Officers

Assault on a Judge is a serious crime that prohibits anyone from assaulting a judge with the intention of causing such serious physical injury and preventing the judge from carrying out their official duties. Assault on a Judge is a Class C felony.

Elements of Assault on a Judge

Before a judge or jury can convict anyone of assaulting a judge, the prosecution must establish each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Under New York Penal Law § 120.09, the elements of Assault on a Judge are:

  1. The alleged victim was a judge in a court of record or a justice court;
  2. The defendant caused serious physical injury to another individual; and
  3. The defendant intended to cause serious physical injury and prevent the judge from carrying out their official duties.

In this context, serious physical injury is defined as any impairment of the judge’s physical condition that raises a substantial risk of death, serious disfigurement, or other long-term health consequence.

Examples of Assault on a Judge

Below are examples of assault on a judge:

  • A defendant in a criminal case throws an object at the presiding judge during a colloquy, causing serious physical injury; or
  • A person attacks a judge in the courthouse hallway during a recess.
Offenses Related to New York Penal Law § 120.09

Often, prosecutors bring Assault on a Judge charges along with one or more of the following:

  • Assault on a Peace Officer, Police Officer, Fireman or Emergency Medical Services Professional – N.Y. Penal Law § 120.08
  • Aggravated Assault Upon a Police of Peace Officer - N.Y. Penal Law § 120.11
  • Menacing a Police Officer of Peace Officer – N.Y. Penal Law § 120.18
  • Assault in the First Degree – N.Y. Penal Law § 120.10
  • Assault in the Second Degree – N.Y. Penal Law § 120.15
  • Assault in the Third Degree – N.Y. Penal Law § 120.00
  • Menacing in the First Degree – N.Y. Penal Law § 120.13
  • Menacing in the Second Degree – N.Y. Penal Law § 120.14
  • Menacing in the Third Degree – N.Y. Penal Law §120.15
  • Stalking in the First Degree – NY Penal Law § 120.60
  • Stalking in the Second Degree – NY Penal Law § 120.55
  • Stalking in the Third Degree – NY Penal Law § 120.50
  • Stalking in the Fourth Degree – NY Penal Law § 120.45
What Are the Defenses to Assault on a Judge?

There are several defenses to Assault on a Judge. A defense can either reduce a person’s sentencing exposure or result in the prosecution withdrawing the case against you or in an acquittal.

The most common defenses include the following:

  • The defendant did not know the alleged victim was a judge;
  • The defendant did not intend to cause serious physical injury;
  • The defendant did not intend to prevent the judge from fulfilling their official duties;
  • The judge did not suffer serious physical injury; or
  • The defendant was acting in self-defense or in the defense of others.
What Are the Penalties for Violating NY Penal Law § 120.09?

Assault on a Judge is a Class C felony. In New York, Class C felony crimes carry a maximum sentence of up to 15 years in jail and a fine of up to $15,000.

Speak With a Dedicated NY Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Case Today

If you’ve been charged with Assaulting a Judge, you find yourself in an incredibly serious situation. While the fact that you were arrested doesn’t mean you are guilty, it is incredibly important to ensure that you find an experienced attorney to assist in your defense. At Tilem & Associates, P.C., our team of New York criminal defense attorneys has decades of experience defending clients charged with violent crimes, including those involving assault on judges, police officers, and other public officials. We are immediately available to meet with you to get started working on a compelling defense to the charges you face. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 877-377-8666. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

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