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

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Not as common as Assault in the Third Degree (New York Penal Law 120.00), Assault in the Second Degree (New York Penal Law 120.05), is a significantly more serious felony crime punishable by up to seven years in state prison. Like the lower level of Assault, Second Degree Assault has many nuances, distinct subsections and a significant amount of legal decisions that impact how your New York criminal lawyer will not only analyze the case against you, but implement a viable defense. The following are some of the main or most commonly prosecuted sections of Assault in the Second Degree throughout New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx) and Westchester County.

Assault in the Second Degree: NY PL 120.05(1)

You are guilty of Assault in the Second Degree if you have the intent to cause serious physical injury to someone and actually cause serious physical to that person or another person. It is imperative to note that “serious physical injury” is a term defined in the New York Penal Law. It is likely that a laceration to a cheek, swollen eye or even a fracture to the nose is not a sufficient injury. This type of injury would likely be sufficient to only satisfy the elements of Assault in the Third Degree.

Assault in the Second Degree: NY PL 120.05(2)

If you have the intent to cause only a physical injury (such as a black eye, split lip or deep bruise) and you actually cause this type of injury to another person with the use of a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon, then you would be guilty of Assault in the Second Degree. Unlike subsection one (1), the level of injury cause need not be “serious injury.”

Again, as noted above, there are certain terms specifically defined in the New York Penal Law. These include “deadly weapon” and “dangerous instrument.” If instead of using your fist to punch someone to cause this level of injury you use the handle of a gun, a knife or even a chair, you can be charged with this crime. Generally speaking, an instrument is a “dangerous instrument” when it is used in a dangerous manner that can cause serious injury or even death. Obviously, something innocuous in its normal setting can become a “weapon” when used in such a manner.

Assault in the Second Degree: NY PL 120.05(3)

When you commit the crime of Assault in the Third Degree (intent to cause and actually cause physical injury) and the victim is a police officer, fireman or similar peace officer, then you are guilty of Assault in the Second Degree. The additional element, however, is that you must also intend to prevent that officer of the law from performing a lawful duty.

Only a fraction of the many different subsections of Assault in the Second Degree, the above three subsections are the most commonly prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys. Because there are many legal definitions and legal decisions defining the scope and nature of these crimes, it is critical to vet your case and facts with an experienced New York criminal defense attorney. The former Manhattan prosecutors and New York criminal lawyers at Crotty Saland PC are armed with the practical experience and knowledge to defend our clients against an Assault allegation.

For further educational reading on the crime of Assault, relevant statutes, legal decisions and Crotty Saland case results (prior result do not guarantee a future outcome), please review the appropriate sections of the New York Criminal Lawyer Blog.

Call the New York criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors at (212) 312–7129 or contact us online today

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