New Yorkers are known for giving as good as they get and they expect to receive respect. And while this attitude can be a means of protecting oneself, it can also lead to criminal charges if things escalate.
The law does not specifically cite yelling at someone as being a criminal act. And indeed, if there were such a law, practically everyone would be charged at some point in their lives. However, you can be arrested for assaulting someone after hurling verbal threats.
Often, assault is thought of as being physical in nature, and while an assault charge could involve physical contact, it is not necessary to hit or even touch someone to be charged with assault. So, let's say you get into an argument in a bar; even if you intended no harm, you could be arrested for assault if your actions were extreme enough as to be considered dangerous by other people.
And of course, if your actions are deliberately intended to frighten someone, that too could be considered assault. This means if you get loud someplace and scare an individual or a group of people, telling the police you didn't mean anything by it is not likely to negate your problems or prevent your arrest.
Anyone can lose their temper or get into a shouting match with someone else. But if things go too far, you could find yourself in the back of a squad car being taken to the station house. If this happens, you could likely use the aid of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Having an assault conviction on your record could result in steep fines or jail time. And even if you dodge incarceration, the conviction will stay on your record where potential employers and others will see it.
An attorney can work on your behalf and may be able to demonstrate that your actions were provoked. Given the evidence the attorney uncovers, you may be able to have your charges reduced or dismissed.