Depending on your charges, the penalties for assault can be harsh and life-changing. There are generally three types of assault, first degree, second degree, and third degree. These types of assaults can be classified as misdemeanors or felonies and could result in large fines, probation, or jail time. The state of New York takes assault very seriously, so understanding your charges can help provide the best defense for your case.
Third degree assault
Assault in the third degree or misdemeanor assault carries the lightest penalties of all the assault charges. According to New York Penal Law § 120.00, assault occurs when a person has the intent to cause physical injury or causes physical injury, either recklessly or intentionally. This type of assault can also include using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. It is considered a Class A misdemeanor, and if convicted, an accused may be sentenced to one year in jail, placed on probation for up to three years, and incur fines up to $1000.
Second degree assault
Assault in the second degree is a more serious charge with severe consequences. Under New York Penal Law §120.05, an accused can be charged with this crime if they caused or intended to cause serious physical injury, even if the person injured was not the intended victim. Serious physical injury can include anything that poses a substantial risk of death, disfigurement, or impairment of health or body organ function. Charges for second-degree assault also cover injury to another person with the use of a deadly weapon or if an accused intended to cause injury or obstruct a law officer, health care worker, social worker, firefighter, or other classes of workers from performing their job.
Second degree assault is considered a Class D felony and can result in a maximum prison term of three to seven years in state prison. First-time offenders or those with no history of violent felonies can be assigned a lesser term of incarceration.
First degree assault
Assault in the first degree is considered a Class B felony in New York. It is the most serious and complex of NY assault laws. An accused can be charged with first degree assault if they cause serious physical injury to a person with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, disfigure a person, or engages in reckless conduct with depraved indifference to human life that creates a grave risk of death or serious injury. Assault in the first degree carries penalties of up to 25 years of incarceration.
Regardless of the severity of the charges you are facing, a good defense can help minimize the impacts of the charges on your future.