A New York City cab driver who had been on trial for the attempted murder of two would-be passengers was acquitted yesterday of the attempted murder charges. Instead, he was convicted of reckless assault and leaving the scene of an accident. The charges stemmed from an incident in 2011, during which the driver, Mohammed Azan, refused to drive two potential customers from Manhattan to the Bronx. A confrontation of some sort occurred when Azan refused. During this altercation, Azan struck the men with his cab. Although it appeared from the evidence that Azan had been traveling at a relatively slow rate of speed (probably somewhere between ten and fifteen miles per hour), one of the men suffered a cracked skull from the assault.
The applicable definition of assault here is that Azan recklessly caused serious physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. This is a Class D felony, punishable by a minimum of 2 years in prison. The maximum sentence for a Class D felony is 7 years in prison. While this is certainly a harsh penalty, it pales in comparison to the penalty that Azan would have faced had he been convicted of the more serious attempted murder charge. Attempted murder is a Class B felony, the term for which is no less than 5 years and no more than 25 years in prison. So while Azan is facing serious time in prison, it is not nearly as much time as it could have been under an attempted murder conviction.