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

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In New York, the law regarding assault charges is multi-layered and requires a keen understanding to navigate effectively. Among these layers, a charge of Assault in the Second Degree is particularly complex due to its gravity and the specific legal factors that define it. When confronting a charge as serious as Assault in the Second Degree, the assistance of a knowledgeable New York criminal defense attorney becomes indispensable. The legal team at Lebedin Kofman LLP is equipped with comprehensive knowledge of New York’s assault laws and a commitment to uphold the rights of the accused.

Related Offenses

Hypothetical Example

John Doe, in a heated argument at a bar, intentionally smashes a beer bottle and stabs another patron, with the intent to cause physical injury. The victim suffers a deep laceration, leading to significant blood loss and requiring extensive surgery. In this scenario, John’s actions could result in him being charged with Assault in the Second Degree, as he intentionally caused physical injury with a dangerous instrument.

Related Offenses

  • Assault in the First Degree (NY Penal Law § 120.10)
  • Assault in the Third Degree (NY Penal Law § 120.00)
  • Attempted Murder (NY Penal Law § 110/125.25)
  • Menacing (NY Penal Law § 120.14)
  • Reckless Endangerment (NY Penal Law § 120.20)

Elements and Definitions

According to Section 120.05 of the New York Penal Law, you may face charges for second-degree assault if you:

  • Intentionally harm someone with the aim of inflicting severe injury, and as a result, you cause serious harm to that individual or another person.
  • Use a weapon or object that can cause significant injury with the intent of harming someone, and subsequently cause injury to that individual or another person.
  • Attack a public official, such as a law enforcement officer or a train operator, with the intent to prevent them from carrying out their official duties.
  • With disregard for safety, cause significant injury to someone using a weapon or object that can inflict severe harm.
  • Deliberately make someone lose consciousness or compromise their physical condition by giving them a substance without their consent.
  • Cause injury to someone during the act of committing a felony.
  • If you are 18 years of age or older and cause harm, whether intentionally or through recklessness, to a child younger than 11 years old.

Definitions

  • Serious physical injury is defined as bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death, or that causes death or serious and protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.
  • Deadly weapon is any loaded weapon from which a shot, readily capable of producing death or other serious physical injury, may be discharged, or a switchblade knife, gravity knife, pilum ballistic knife, metal knuckle knife, dagger, billy, blackjack, or metal knuckles.
  • Dangerous instrument means any instrument, article, or substance, including a “vehicle” as that term is defined in the law, which, under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used, or threatened to be used, is readily capable of causing death or other serious physical injury.

Possible Legal Defenses

  • Self-Defense: The defendant can argue that the actions were a necessary response to an immediate threat of physical harm.
  • Defense of Others: Similar to self-defense, the defendant may claim the action was taken to prevent harm to another individual.
  • Accident: The defendant may argue that the incident was an accident without criminal intent.
  • Extent of Injury: The defendant may argue that the extent of the injuries the alleged victim sustained does not qualify under the classification of severe injuries in New York.

Penalties

Assault in the Second Degree is classified as a Class D violent felony in New York. The penalties can include:

  • Imprisonment: A prison sentence of a minimum of two up to seven years;
  • Probation: 5 years of probation may be an option in lieu of, or in addition to, imprisonment;
  • Fines: Monetary fines can be imposed, up to $5,000, potentially in combination with imprisonment;
  • Restitution: The defendant may be ordered to compensate the victim for medical expenses or other costs related to the injury;
  • Permanent Criminal Record: A conviction will result in a permanent felony record, which can affect future employment, housing, and more.
  • Protection Order. Beyond incarceration and fines, the defendant might also be mandated to maintain distance from certain individuals, especially the aggrieved party.
 

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

A person is guilty of assault in the second degree when:

  1. With intent to cause serious physical injury to another person, he causes such injury to such person or to a third person; or
  2. With intent to cause physical injury to another person, he causes such injury to such person or to a third person by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument; or
  3. With intent to prevent a peace officer, a police officer, prosecutor as defined in subdivision thirty-one of section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, public health sanitarian, New York city public health sanitarian, sanitation enforcement agent, New York city sanitation worker, a firefighter, including a firefighter acting as a paramedic or emergency medical technician administering first aid in the course of performance of duty as such firefighter, an emergency medical service paramedic or emergency medical service technician, or medical or related personnel in a hospital emergency department, a city marshal, a school crossing guard appointed pursuant to section two hundred eight-a of the general municipal law, a traffic enforcement officer, traffic enforcement agent or employee of any entity governed by the public service law in the course of performing an essential service, from performing a lawful duty, by means including releasing or failing to control an animal under circumstances evincing the actor’s intent that the animal obstruct the lawful activity of such peace officer, police officer, prosecutor as defined in subdivision thirty-one of section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, public health sanitarian, New York city public health sanitarian, sanitation enforcement agent, New York city sanitation worker, firefighter, paramedic, technician, city marshal, school crossing guard appointed pursuant to section two hundred eight-a of the general municipal law, traffic enforcement officer, traffic enforcement agent or employee of an entity governed by the public service law, he or she causes physical injury to such peace officer, police officer, prosecutor as defined in subdivision thirty-one of section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, public health sanitarian, New York city public health sanitarian, sanitation enforcement agent, New York city sanitation worker, firefighter, paramedic, technician or medical or related personnel in a hospital emergency department, city marshal, school crossing guard, traffic enforcement officer, traffic enforcement agent or employee of an entity governed by the public service law; or
    1. With intent to prevent an employee of a local social services district directly involved in investigation of or response to alleged abuse or neglect of a child, a vulnerable elderly person or an incompetent or physically disabled person, from performing such investigation or response, the actor, not being such child, vulnerable elderly person or incompetent or physically disabled person, or with intent to prevent an employee of a local social services district directly involved in providing public assistance and care from performing his or her job, causes physical injury to such employee including by means of releasing or failing to control an animal under circumstances evincing the actor’s intent that the animal obstruct the lawful activities of such employee; or
    2. With intent to prevent an employee of the New York city housing authority from performing his or her lawful duties while located on housing project grounds, real property, or a building owned, managed, or operated by such authority he or she causes physical injury to such employee; or
    3. With intent to prevent an employee providing direct patient care, who is not a nurse pursuant to title eight of the education law, whose principal employment responsibility is to carry out direct patient care for one or more patients in any hospital, nursing home, residential health care facility, general hospital, government agency including any chronic disease hospital, maternity hospital, outpatient department, emergency center or surgical center under article twenty-eight of the public health law, from performing a lawful duty, he or she causes physical injury to such employee providing direct patient care; or
  4. He recklessly causes serious physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument; or
    1. He recklessly causes physical injury to another person who is a child under the age of eighteen by intentional discharge of a firearm, rifle or shotgun; or
  5. For a purpose other than lawful medical or therapeutic treatment, he intentionally causes stupor, unconsciousness or other physical impairment or injury to another person by administering to him, without his consent, a drug, substance or preparation capable of producing the same; or
  6. In the course of and in furtherance of the commission or attempted commission of a felony, other than a felony defined in article one hundred thirty which requires corroboration for conviction, or of immediate flight therefrom, he, or another participant if there be any, causes physical injury to a person other than one of the participants; or
  7. Having been charged with or convicted of a crime and while confined in a correctional facility, as defined in subdivision three of section forty of the correction law, pursuant to such charge or conviction, with intent to cause physical injury to another person, he causes such injury to such person or to a third person; or
  8. Being eighteen years old or more and with intent to cause physical injury to a person less than eleven years old, the defendant recklessly causes serious physical injury to such person; or
  9. Being eighteen years old or more and with intent to cause physical injury to a person less than seven years old, the defendant causes such injury to such person; or
  10. Acting at a place the person knows, or reasonably should know, is on school grounds and with intent to cause physical injury, he or she:
    1. causes such injury to an employee of a school or public school district; or
    2. not being a student of such school or public school district, causes physical injury to another, and such other person is a student of such school who is attending or present for educational purposes. For purposes of this subdivision the term “school grounds” shall have the meaning set forth in subdivision fourteen of section 220.00 of this chapter; or
  11. With intent to cause physical injury to a train operator, ticket inspector, conductor, signalperson, bus operator, station agent, station cleaner, terminal cleaner, station customer assistant; person whose official duties include the sale or collection of tickets, passes, vouchers, or other revenue payment media for use on a train or bus or the collection or handling of revenues therefrom; a person whose official duties include the maintenance, repair, inspection, troubleshooting, testing or cleaning of buses, a transit signal system, elevated or underground subway tracks, transit station structure, including fare equipment, escalators, elevators and other equipment necessary to passenger service, commuter rail tracks or stations, train yard, revenue train in passenger service, or a train or bus station or terminal; or a supervisor of such personnel, employed by any transit or commuter rail agency, authority or company, public or private, whose operation is authorized by New York state or any of its political subdivisions, a city marshal, a school crossing guard appointed pursuant to section two hundred eight-a of the general municipal law, a traffic enforcement officer, traffic enforcement agent, prosecutor as defined in subdivision thirty-one of section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law, sanitation enforcement agent, New York city sanitation worker, public health sanitarian, New York city public health sanitarian, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, emergency medical service paramedic, or emergency medical service technician, he or she causes physical injury to such train operator, ticket inspector, conductor, signalperson, bus operator, station agent, station cleaner, terminal cleaner, station customer assistant; person whose official duties include the sale or collection of tickets, passes, vouchers or other revenue payment media for use on a train or bus or the collection or handling of revenues therefrom; a person whose official duties include the maintenance, repair, inspection, troubleshooting, testing or cleaning of buses, a transit signal system, elevated or underground subway tracks, transit station structure, including fare equipment, escalators, elevators and other equipment necessary to passenger service, commuter rail tracks or stations, train yard, revenue train in passenger service, or a train or bus station or terminal; or a supervisor of such personnel, city marshal, school crossing guard appointed pursuant to section two hundred eight-a of the general municipal law, traffic enforcement officer, traffic enforcement agent, prosecutor as defined in subdivision thirty-one of section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, public health sanitarian, New York city public health sanitarian, sanitation enforcement agent, New York city sanitation worker, emergency medical service paramedic, or emergency medical service technician, while such employee is performing an assigned duty on, or directly related to, the operation of a train or bus, cleaning of a train or bus station or terminal, assisting customers, the sale or collection of tickets, passes, vouchers, or other revenue media for use on a train or bus, or maintenance or cleaning of a train, a bus, or bus station or terminal, signal system, elevated or underground subway tracks, transit station structure, including fare equipment, escalators, elevators and other equipment necessary to passenger service, commuter rail tracks or stations, train yard or revenue train in passenger service, or such city marshal, school crossing guard, traffic enforcement officer, traffic enforcement agent, prosecutor as defined in subdivision thirty-one of section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, public health sanitarian, New York city public health sanitarian, sanitation enforcement agent, New York city sanitation worker, emergency medical service paramedic, or emergency medical service technician is performing an assigned duty; or
    1. With intent to cause physical injury to an employee of a local social services district directly involved in investigation of or response to alleged abuse or neglect of a child, vulnerable elderly person or an incompetent or physically disabled person, the actor, not being such child, vulnerable elderly person or incompetent or physically disabled person, or with intent to prevent an employee of a local social services district directly involved in providing public assistance and care from performing his or her job, causes physical injury to such employee; or
    2. With intent to cause physical injury to an employee of the New York City Housing Authority performing his or her lawful duties while located on housing project grounds, real property, or a building owned, managed, or operated by such authority he or she causes physical injury to such employee; or
    3. With intent to cause physical injury to an employee providing direct patient care, who is not a nurse pursuant to title eight of the education law, whose principal employment responsibility is to carry out direct patient care for one or more patients in any hospital, nursing home, residential health care facility, general hospital, government agency including any chronic disease hospital, maternity hospital, outpatient department, emergency center or surgical center under article twenty-eight of the public health law, he or she causes physical injury to such employee providing direct patient care while such employee is performing a lawful duty; or
  12. With intent to cause physical injury to a person who is sixty-five years of age or older, he or she causes such injury to such person, and the actor is more than ten years younger than such person; or
  13. Being confined to a secure treatment facility, as such term is defined in subdivision (o) of section 10.03 of the mental hygiene law, and with intent to cause physical injury to an employee of such secure treatment facility performing his or her duties, he or she causes such injury to such person; or
  14. With intent to prevent or obstruct a process server, as defined in section eighty-nine-t of the general business law, from performing a lawful duty pursuant to article three of the civil practice law and rules, or intentionally, as retaliation against such a process server for the performance of the process server’s duties pursuant to such article, including by means of releasing or failing to control an animal evincing the actor’s intent that the animal prevent or obstruct the lawful duty of the process server or as retaliation against the process server, he or she causes physical injury to such process server.

Assault in the second degree is a class D felony.

Seeking Quality Legal Assistance from Lebedin Kofman LLP

Assault in the Second Degree, as defined by New York Penal Law § 120.05, is a serious criminal offense that can result in severe legal consequences. The charge is more severe than a simple assault but not as extreme as first-degree assault, occupying a middle ground that reflects the serious nature of its penalties and implications. Second Degree Assault is a charge that hinges on the intent and the outcome of an individual’s actions, bringing into play a nuanced legal landscape that can be challenging for anyone to navigate without proper guidance.

A comprehensive understanding of New York’s assault laws is essential for any individual facing a Second Degree Assault charge. The law’s complexities require careful analysis and a thorough defense strategy. Differences in legal definitions and interpretations can have a major impact on the outcome of a case, which is why informed legal counsel is crucial.

Lebedin Kofman LLP provides measured and informed legal assistance to those charged with Second Degree Assault in New York. Our attorneys approach each case with the attention to detail it deserves, ensuring that your legal rights are preserved and that every available defense is considered. We understand the intricacies of New York’s assault laws and are prepared to guide you through each step of the legal process.

Our team is dedicated to providing you with the support you need to address your charges effectively. We focus on delivering a defense that is tailored to your specific situation, recognizing the individuality of each case. Whether it’s through negotiation or litigation, our goal is to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients. To schedule a free consultation, contact us today at (646) 663-4430.

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