The two degrees of assault

On Dec. 19, 2019, a grand jury indicted a 25-year-old man with felony assault and attempted assault charges after he allegedly killed a Brooklyn man. The original charge was misdemeanor assault.

However, the medical examiner determined the cause of death as a homicide. The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office was able to upgrade the charges due to additional evidence. Learn more about the two degrees of felony assault in New York state.

Second-degree felony assault

A charge of Assault in the Second Degree occurs if you have the intention of causing physical injury to someone and follow through with that intention. This is not the only scenario that can garner a second-degree charge. Other examples include the following:

  • Intentionally causing physical injury by use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
  • Recklessly causing a physical injury by use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
  • Giving a drug or dangerous substance to someone without her or his consent.
  • Causing physical injury to someone while attempting to flee a crime.

Second-degree felony assault is a Class D felony. The judge can impose a prison term of between three and seven years.

First-degree felony assault

Assault in the First Degree is the most grievous charge. In this case, however, the charge requires that a victim suffered a serious physical injury. A serious physical injury creates the risk of death, disfigurement or long-term health impairment. First-degree assault has four conditions.

  1. The intended victim suffers serious physical injury caused by a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
  2. The defendant intentionally disfigures someone.
  3. A person recklessly causes serious injury when engaging in conduct that may cause death.
  4. A defendant who is committing a felony and causes serious physical injury to a person while escaping.

First-degree felony assault is a Class B crime. It carries a minimum of three years and a maximum of up to 25 years in prison. If the court determines that the defendant is a predicate felon, the minimum prison term may increase to between seven and 10 years.

The defendant may also have to pay a fine. A fine for a felony assault cannot exceed $5,000.

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