There are many laws on assault in the state of New York. The reason there are so many different levels, and with them, different degrees of penalty is because there are so many levels of injury and pain.

If you were assaulted by someone and they broke your arm, that is a severe injury, and it weighs heavily on the justice system. However, you would probably agree that a person who was assaulted and as a result of that assault will be paralyzed for the rest of their lives, that should get a much harsher punishment. Every case is different, and that is why we have different levels of the crime. The person on trial needs an experienced assault and battery attorney to ensure he or she is not charged at a higher level than they deserve.

Two Felony Assault Charges

There are two felony assault charges. The lower of the two is a Class D, 2nd-degree felony charge. The more serious is a Class B, 1st-degree felony charge.

For either of these assault charges to be waged against someone, the victim would have to have suffered significant physical harm. The person assaulting them had to intentionally or recklessly cause that harm. In each case, a weapon or dangerous item would have been used against the victim.

So, what determines which of these charges apply to us? It depends on the seriousness of the injury. As in our example above, there is a difference between a physical injury and a serious physical injury. If the victim suffers disfigurement, such as scars, cuts, or burn marks, that is a serious physical injury. If they lose the use of a body part, such as losing an eye or a hand due to the injury you caused, it is serious and is charged as a Class B, 1st-degree charge. Another factor is the weapon used and the way it was used. If someone hits you with a bat, then they intended to hurt you. But if someone threw a knife or acid into a crowd of people, they intended to hurt you and were indifferent to the fact that others could be hurt in the process.


The penalties for both these felony assault charges are significant. The judge has a range of options. Within that range, they will determine where your crime fits best.

A class-D, 2nd-degree felony conviction usually carries a sentence of 3-years to 7-years in jail. There are times and situations where the judge can reduce the jail time. A class-B 1st-degree felony conviction carries a penalty of as low as 3-years or as high as 25-years. There are other penalties and fines that are often added to the sentence.

It is hard to say where your case will fit in the system. A qualified and experienced assault and battery lawyer can often get charges reduced, especially if this is your first offense. If this is not your first offense, that also is taken into consideration. This is a serious situation, and it is unwise to think you can handle it on your own.