Second Degree Assault In New York

by ECL Writer
Second Degree Assault In New York

In New York, Second Degree Assault is a serious criminal charge that can result in significant legal consequences for those accused. Assault in the second degree is considered a violent crime and can be defined in various ways, including causing physical injury to someone with a deadly weapon or intentionally causing injury to a police officer or other public servant. Those accused of second-degree assault in New York should be aware of the potential legal ramifications and seek legal counsel to ensure their rights are protected. In this article, will explore the specifics of second-degree assault in New York and what individuals should know if they are facing this charge.

There are various levels of assault, which are directly related to the seriousness of the harm done to the victim and whether or not a weapon was used in the assault. Even if a charge of assault in the second degree is not the most serious, you will still go to jail if you are found guilty. Additionally, you will have to deal with additional repercussions once you are released from prison, such as being subject to post-release monitoring requirements and having a criminal record, in addition to serving time in jail or prison.

Is Second-Degree Assault A Felony In NY?

It depends on the specific circumstances of the assault. In New York, second-degree assault can be either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on factors such as the severity of the injuries and whether a weapon was used. Generally speaking, if the assault causes serious physical injury or involves the use of a deadly weapon, it is likely to be charged as a felony.

Second Degree Assault in New York

Assault is a crime with three degrees under New York’s penal code: first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree assault. The most serious of the three felonies is second-degree assault. It is a class D felony that carries a maximum 7-year prison term.

There are a number of circumstances that can elevate an assault to the category of second-degree assault.

  • intentionally causes a serious physical injury. Keep in mind that the crime occurs even if the defendant winds up injuring someone other than the intended victim
  • and intentionally causes physical injury using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. Again, it is irrelevant whether the intended victim or someone else is injured.
  • intending to prevent certain categories of persons from performing a lawful duty, causes physical injury to any of those persons by acts including releasing or failing to control an animal. To be charged with this crime the circumstances must indicate that the defendant intended that the animal obstruct the performance of a lawful duty. The categories of persons covered by this aspect of second-degree assault are peace officers, police officers, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, sanitation enforcement agents, firefighters, emergency medical service paramedics or emergency medical service technicians, or medical or related personnel in a hospital emergency department, city marshals, traffic enforcement officers or traffic enforcement agents.
  • recklessly causes a serious physical injury by using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument — for instance, throwing a chair at someone.
  • gives a drug or substance to someone without that person’s consent (and for non-medical purposes), with the intent to cause stupor, unconsciousness, or other physical impairment or injury.
  • while committing or attempting to commit a felony (other than the assault) or fleeing immediately after, and in order to help the crime or escape succeed, causes physical injury. The injury can be caused by either the defendant or an accomplice and the victim must be a non-accomplice.
  • intentionally causes physical injury to a victim while being held in a correctional facility after being charged with or convicted of a crime. Again, assault occurs so long as the defendant intended to cause an injury, even if the defendant injures a person other than the intended victim.
  • if the defendant is at least 18 years old and with the intent to cause physical injury to a victim who is younger than 11 years old, ends up actually recklessly causing serious physical injury.
  • if the defendant is at least 18 years old, and intentionally causes physical injury to a victim who is less than seven years old.
  • at a place a defendant knows or reasonably should know is on school grounds intentionally causes physical injury to an employee of a school or school district. Alternatively, if the defendant is not a student of the school or district, it is a second-degree assault to intentionally cause physical injury to a student of the school or district who is present on the school grounds for educational purposes.
  • intentionally injures a train operator, ticket inspector, conductor, signalperson, bus operator, or station agent performing an assigned duty on, or directly related to, the operation of a train or bus, or intentionally injures a city marshal, traffic enforcement officer, traffic enforcement agent, registered nurse or licensed practical nurse or sanitation enforcement agent performing an assigned duty.
  • intentionally causes physical injury to a person who is at least sixty-five-years-old, when the defendant is at least ten years younger than the victim.

(N.Y. Penal Law § 120.05).

Defenses To Second-Degree Assault charge An New York

In New York, second-degree assault is a serious criminal charge that can result in significant penalties, including imprisonment, fines, and a criminal record. If you are facing charges of second-degree assault, it is essential to understand the defenses that may be available to you. In this article, we will explore some of the common defenses to second-degree assault charges in New York.


Self-defense is a common defense in assault cases, including second-degree assault. If you can show that you acted in self-defense, you may be able to avoid a conviction. Under New York law, you are allowed to use force to defend yourself if you reasonably believe that you are in danger of physical harm. However, the force you use must be proportional to the threat you face. If you use excessive force, you may not be able to claim self-defense. (N.Y. Pen. Law § 35.15)

Defense of Others

Similar to self-defense, you may be able to claim defense of others if you were defending someone else from harm. To use this defense, you must show that you reasonably believed that the person you were defending was in danger of physical harm and that your use of force was necessary to protect them. Again, the force used must be proportionate to the threat faced.


In some cases, the alleged victim may have consented to the conduct that led to the assault charge. For example, if two people engage in a consensual physical altercation and one person is injured, the other person may not be guilty of assault. However, it is important to note that consent is not a defense if the conduct was illegal or if it violated public policy.

Lack of Intent

To be convicted of second-degree assault, the prosecution must prove that you had the intent to cause physical harm to the alleged victim. If you can show that you did not intend to cause harm, you may be able to avoid a conviction. For example, if you accidentally struck someone while engaged in a physical altercation, you may be able to argue that you did not intend to cause harm.


An alibi is a defense that involves showing that you were not at the scene of the crime when the alleged assault occurred. To use this defense, you will need to provide evidence that you were somewhere else at the time of the incident. This may include witness testimony, video footage, or other types of evidence.

False Accusations

In some cases, a person may falsely accuse someone of assault. This may be due to a personal vendetta, mistaken identity, or other reasons. If you can show that the alleged victim’s accusations are false, you may be able to avoid a conviction.

In conclusion, if you are facing charges of second-degree assault in New York, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. A skilled attorney can help you identify the defenses that may be available to you and work to build a strong defense strategy. With the right defense, you may be able to avoid a conviction and the significant penalties that come with it.


A defendant convicted of felony assault can receive a prison sentence or probation, as well as be fined. In New York, a prison sentence for felony assault is an “indeterminate” term, meaning that a judge imposes a sentence with a minimum and maximum term (for instance, three to nine years). A judge has the ability to set a range within both the minimum and maximum terms. For example, the maximum term for a felony conviction must be at least three years and – depending on the level of the felony – can be up to 25 years. The minimum term must be at least one year and cannot exceed 1/3 of the maximum term. A defendant must serve the minimum term and is then eligible for parole. If the defendant is not paroled, he will wind up serving the maximum term. A fine for a felony conviction cannot exceed $5,000. The period of probation for a felony conviction is five years.

(N.Y. Penal Law § 70.00).

Second-degree assault

When a defendant is convicted of the Class D felony of second-degree assault, a judge can impose a maximum prison term of at least 3 years to no more than 7 years. If the defendant is not a second felony offender or persistent violent felon, a judge has the power to impose an alternative term of a “definite” period of incarceration of one year or less (meaning that the judge can order a term of one year or any other number of days between one day up to a year).

(N.Y. Penal Law § § 120.05, 70.00, 70.02).

Orders of protection

An order of protection in favor of the victim may be requested by the prosecutor during the criminal proceedings, and the court may approve it. An order of protection, to put it simply, is a court order telling you to avoid a certain person. These orders typically provide very detailed instructions regarding what you can and cannot do. An order of protection can, for instance, prohibit you from approaching the victim, the victim’s kids, or the victim’s workplace. You can be told to leave if you reside with the victim.

Consult With a Lawyer

An assault charge is a serious thing. It’s crucial to speak with a lawyer who is familiar with the assault laws and punishments that apply to your situation. A skilled criminal defense lawyer might be able to persuade the prosecution or the jury that the defendant either didn’t mean to hurt someone or didn’t hurt them badly enough to warrant a charge of felony assault. This might lead to a case being dropped or a lighter punishment (perhaps by pleading guilty to a lesser crime like minor assault or disorderly conduct).

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