Long Island Assault Attorney


Assault charges in New York should never be ignored because a conviction for assault can carry severe criminal penalties and punishments. Assault convictions can have long-term impacts on your professional life and personal life. A criminal record can prevent you from getting the job you want, living where you desire, or owning a firearm.

Instead of risking your future and your freedom, you should have an experienced New York criminal defense lawyer on your side to protect your rights. Barket Epstein is one of the premier criminal defense firms serving clients across the Long Island and New York metropolitan areas. Whether you need assistance at the trial level or on appeal, our team of former criminal court judges, former prosecutors and former legal aid attorneys have the experience you require.

What is Assault in New York?

Assault is a violent crime. For you to be convicted of assault, the prosecution must prove to the court that you caused physical injury to another person. However, there are several levels of assault with each level carrying different penalties for a conviction.
Several factors determine the degree of assault you are charged with if you hurt another person. The severity of the injury, whether you used a weapon, the age and mental capacity of the victim, and your intent are factors that can impact the degree of assault. As the level of the assault charge increases, so do the penalties you face for a conviction.

Therefore, hiring an experienced New York assault attorney who understands each of the various assault charges is crucial. The police officer nor the prosecutor will explain that the facts of the case might warrant reducing the charges to a lower degree of assault. You need a criminal defense attorney in New York to ensure that your legal rights are not being violated and the state has not charged you with a crime that does not fit the facts and elements of the case.

What Are Different Degrees of Assault Charges Under New York’s Penal Code?

Third Degree Assault

The lowest degree of assault is assault in the third degree (NY Penal L §120). Third degree assault is used when the defendant has recklessly or intentionally caused physical injury to another person. Physical injury is defined as substantial pain or physical impairment. This degree of assault also covers allegations of criminal negligence with a weapon. Assault in the third degree is a class A misdemeanor.

Second Degree Assault

Assault in the second degree (NY Penal L 120.05) is a class D felony. Typically, to be charged with second degree assault, one or more of the following three factors must be present:

  1. The offender intended to cause serious physical injuries and the victim suffered serious physical injuries. A serious physical injury is defined as an injury that resulted in a substantial risk of death, death, disfigurement, impairment of health, or impairment of a bodily organ.
  2. The offender used a dangerous instrument or dangerous weapon in the commission of the crime. The weapon does not need to cause the injury, and an injury does not need to be serious for this element to be met.
  3. If the victim is younger than 11 years of age or older than 65 years of age, assault against this person is a second degree assault. In addition, if the victim is a New York State official and the assault is intended to prevent the official from performing official duties, the charge is assault in the second degree.

First Degree Assault

Assault in the first degree (NY Penal L §120.10) is used when the offender intentionally caused serious physical injuries using a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon. First degree assault also covers reckless conduct that creates a grave risk of death. In addition, when the offender intentionally caused the victim to suffer an amputation, disfigurement, or other permanent disability, the charge is assault in the first degree.

Other Assault Charges

There are numerous assault charges under the New York Penal Code. In addition to first, second, and third degree assault charges, offenders can also be charged with crimes including:

  • Aggravated vehicular assault
  • Reckless assault of a child
  • Vehicular assault
  • Assault on a judge, peace officer, or police officer
  • Gang assault
  • Sexual assault

What are the Penalties for Assault in New York?

If you are convicted of third degree assault, you could be sentenced to jail time of up to one year (NY Penal L §60). Punishments and penalties for a second degree assault conviction include a prison sentence of up to seven years. Because assault in the second degree is a class D felony, the minimum prison sentence for a conviction is two years.

First degree assault is a class B violent felony. A conviction under this degree of assault can result in a prison sentence of up to 25 years. Because of the seriousness of the crime, the minimum prison sentence for a conviction is five years.

In addition to jail or prison time, other penalties may include probation, fines, court surcharges, victim fees, and community service. An order of protection restricting your contact with the victim could also restrict your ability to go near certain places in town. Also, you can lose your right to own or possess firearms.

Can I Defend an Assault Charge?

Yes, there are many defenses to assault charges. A New York assault defense attorney can review the facts and circumstances of your case to determine the best defense strategy to use as you fight the criminal charges. One defense commonly used against assault charges is self-defense. A related defense is claiming you were acting in defense of another person. With both self-defense and defense of another person, you admit you committed the act, but the act was justified to protect yourself or another person from harm. Other potential areas that might give cause for a valid defense against assault charges include issues dealing with mistakes of law or fact. Examples include:

  • Illegal search and seizure issues related to the arrest or investigation.
  • The seriousness of the injury is not sufficient for the degree of assault in the criminal charge.
  • The police used improper witness identification techniques such as a faulty lineup or array of photographs.
  • The state failed to meet its burden of proof because it did not prove each element required for a conviction.
  • Mistaken identity or you have an alibi for the time of the crime.
  • Lack of intent to commit the crime or consent of the alleged victim for the act.

Contact A Long Island and New York City Assault Attorney

There are many valid defenses to assault charges in New York. The key is to hire an experienced attorney who can help you develop a defense strategy based on the facts of your case. Obtaining legal counsel as early as possible in the process is your best defense to assault charges.
Our New York criminal defense lawyers have the experience, skills, and resources necessary to defend against any assault charge. We urge you to use your right to remain silent to protect yourself from self-incrimination and contact our office to discuss your assault charges and potential defenses.