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By Michael Arbeit
Founding Attorney

In New York, and everywhere, tensions can escalate. This can quickly lead to altercations and, in some cases, assault charges. For individuals facing these charges, navigating the legal landscape can be daunting. Understanding the nuances of assault charges, including their degrees and associated penalties, can be critical in mounting a robust defense.

What are the Different Degrees of Assault Charges?

Assault charges in New York encompass a spectrum of offenses, each categorized based on the severity of the act and the resulting harm inflicted upon the victim. These offenses range from misdemeanors to felonies, with penalties escalating accordingly. There is assault in the first degree, second degree, and third degree. If you are being charged with assault, understanding the difference between these charges is important.

  • Assault in the first degree is the most serious assault charge. It involves intentionally causing serious physical injury to another person. Assault in the first degree is classified as a Class B felony and carries substantial penalties, including lengthy prison sentences.
  • Assault in the second degree involves intentionally causing physical injury to another person with a deadly weapon or with intent to cause serious injury. It is classified as a Class D felony and carries significant penalties, though slightly less severe than assault in the first degree.
  • Assault in the third degree is the least severe of the assault charges. It encompasses causing physical injury to another person recklessly or with criminal negligence, using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. Additionally, this charge can apply when an individual intends to cause physical injury and causes such injury with heightened indifference to human life. Assault in the third degree is classified as a Class A misdemeanor and carries penalties that may include imprisonment and fines.

Additionally, New York recognizes the offense of aggravated assault, which involves assaulting a police officer, firefighter, or other protected individuals while performing their duties. Aggravated assault charges can elevate the severity of penalties, underscoring the importance of understanding the specific circumstances surrounding the alleged offense.

What are the Potential Penalties of an Assault Charge?

As previously mentioned, the potential penalties associated with an assault will vary depending on the exact degree of assault being charged. For instance, Assault in the first degree is a Class B felony. As such, penalties may include a prison sentence ranging from 5 to 25 years and fines of up to $5,000. Assault in the second degree, on the other hand, is considered a Class D felony which means penalties may include a prison sentence ranging from 2 to 7 years and fines of up to $5,000. As far as assault in the third degree is concerned, it is classified as a Class A misdemeanor which means penalties may include a jail sentence of up to 1 year and fines of up to $1,000.

It is important to note that these penalties are not exhaustive and may be subject to additional factors such as aggravating or mitigating circumstances. Such circumstances may include the presence of weapons, the extent of the victim’s injuries, and any prior criminal record of the defendant.

Contact a Long Island & New York Criminal Defense Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case

Facing an assault charge is a serious thing and the potential penalties and consequences are severe. Do not delay in seeking immediate legal representation. The team at Michael A. Arbeit, P.C. is here to immediately assess the specifics of your case, formulate a strong defense strategy, and work towards minimizing the potential repercussions for the defendant.

About the Author
Michael A. Arbeit, P.C. is devoted to all Criminal Defense and  Traffic related matters.  Michael practices primarily in the Criminal and County (Supreme) Courts in Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens County, Kings County, New York County and the Bronx County.  Michael is also licensed to practice law in the Federal Courts of the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) and the Southern District of New York (SDNY).