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New York Penal Law § 120.05 – Assault in the Second Degree

Dedicated Criminal Defense Attorneys Representing Clients Charged with Violent Crimes in New York

Assault in the Second Degree is a felony offense prohibiting a wide range of conduct. While there are many nuances to New York's Second Degree Assault law, it's mostly focused on prohibiting people from intentionally causing serious injury to another person. Assault in the Second Degree is a class D felony.

The Elements of Assault in the Second Degree

It is the prosecution's burden to prove every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt; otherwise, a judge or jury must acquit the defendant. In the context of Second Degree Assault, there are many ways to violate the statute, as it contains 14 unique subsections which prohibit:

  • Intentionally causing another person to suffer serious physical injury;
  • Intentionally causing physical injury with the use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument;
  • Intentionally directing, or failing to control, an animal that interferes with the lawful duties of a police officer or other government worker;
  • Intentionally inflicting physical harm on a housing officer, healthcare worker, or social worker who is investigating a claim of child abuse or neglect;
  • Recklessly causing bodily injury by using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument;
  • Recklessly causing bodily injury to a minor by intentionally discharging a gun;
  • Administering a drug to another person without their consent;
  • Causing anyone to suffer physical injury during the commission of a felony;
  • Intentionally inflicting physical injury while incarcerated;
  • Intentionally causing a minor under seven to suffer physical injury;
  • Intentionally hurts a teacher, principal, or other school employee;
  • Intentionally harming a transit worker
  • Intentionally causing a person over 65 to experience physical injury; and
  • Intentionally preventing or obstructing a process server in the performance of their duties by causing them to suffer physical injury.
Examples of Assault in the Second Degree

There are almost endless examples of Second Degree Assault in New York, given the statute's broad wording. However, some of the most common examples include:

  • Assaulting a police officer during the course of a lawful arrest;
  • Using a gun to pistol-whip another person;
  • Commanding a dog to attack a social services worker;
  • Tricking someone into eating a marijuana edible; and
  • Assaulting a child's teacher.
Related Offenses to NY Penal Law § 120.05

Often, prosecutors bring Assault in the Second Degree charges along with one or more of the following:

  • Assault in the Third Degree - N.Y. Penal Law § 120.00
  • Assault in the First Degree - N.Y. Penal Law § 120.10
  • Menacing in the First Degree - N.Y. Penal Law § 120.13
  • Menacing in the Second Degree - N.Y. Penal Law § 120.14
  • Menacing in the Third Degree - N.Y. Penal Law §120.15
  • Vehicular Assault in the Second Degree - N.Y. Penal Law § 120.03
  • Vehicular Assault in the First Degree - N.Y. Penal Law § 120.04
  • Aggravated Vehicular Assault - N.Y. Penal Law § 120.04-a
  • Reckless Assault of a Child - N.Y. Penal Law § 120.01
What Are the Defenses to Assault in the Second Degree?

There are several defenses to Assault in the Second Degree that can either reduce your sentencing exposure or result in the prosecution withdrawing the case against you or the jury returning a "not guilty" verdict. The most common defenses include the following:

  • Self-defense;
  • Defense of others;
  • Lack of intent to either cause physical injury or interfere with another's lawful duty; or
  • The alleged victim did not suffer physical injury or serious physical injury.
What Are the Penalties for Violating NY Penal Law § 120.05?

Assault in the Second Degree is a Class D felony. In New York, Class D felonies carry a maximum sentence of up to seven years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

Are You Facing New York Second Degree Assault Charges?

If you were recently arrested and charged with Assault in the Second Degree, it is imperative that you work with an experienced New York criminal defense attorney who is prepared to defend your rights at every step in the process. At Tilem & Associates, P.C., our team of violent crimes defense attorneys provide clients with aggressive representation designed to limit the impact their arrest has on the rest of their lives. We routinely secure acquittals and favorable plea agreements on behalf of clients charged with serious violent crimes and look forward to discussing how we can help in your case. We are immediately available to meet with you to get started working on a compelling defense to the charges you face. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 877-377-8666. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

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