Anyone involved in a physical altercation, such as a bar fight, can face criminal charges for assault in the State of New York. Assault can be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony. Regardless of the classification, having an assault charge on your criminal record can negatively impact many aspects of your life, including your ability to find employment or housing.

If you have been arrested for or charged with assault in Kingston, New York, contact a criminal defense attorney to help you deal with the charges and regain a sense of normalcy in your life.

As a former prosecutor and the founder of Melanson Law Office P.C., I have successfully represented numerous people facing assault charges in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Catskill, Hudson, Saugerties, New Paltz, and throughout the State of New York. Let’s discuss your particular case during a confidential consultation to understand your rights and explore possible defense strategies.



What Is Assault Under New York Law?

New York law defines assault as an act of intentionally causing injury to another person without legal justification. Depending on the circumstances of the offense, the seriousness of the alleged victim’s injury, and other factors, assault can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony in New York.

Under New York law, there are three degrees of assault:

  • Assault in the third degree

  • Assault in the second degree

  • Assault in the first degree

Assault in the Third Degree

Under New York State Penal Law § 120.00, assault in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor offense. A person can be charged with assault in the third degree when they cause injury to another person through:

  • Recklessness

  • Intentional conduct

  • Criminal negligence

An example of assault in the third degree would be punching someone without the intent to cause serious injuries. Possible penalties for a Class A misdemeanor include three years probation or up to a year in jail, plus no more than $1,000 in fines.

Assault in the Second Degree

You can be charged with assault in the second degree (a Class D felony in New York) when you intentionally cause serious physical injury to another person or cause any injury with a deadly weapon. Examples include recklessly injuring another person with a deadly weapon or assaulting a peace officer when the officer is performing his/her duties. Penalties carry up to seven years in state prison.

Assault in the First Degree

A person can be charged with assault in the first degree (a Class B felony) when they:

  • Intend to cause serious bodily injury to another person and they actually cause the intended serious injury; or

  • Intend to cause injury to another person by using a deadly weapon

Common examples of assault in the first degree include stabbing and shooting cases. The punishment can include up to 25 years in prison.

Possible Defenses to Assault in New York

Several defense strategies may be available in your assault case. Depending on the circumstances of the offense, you might be able to use the following defenses to defend yourself against the charges:

  • Lack of intent. You did not intend to cause harm to the alleged victim.

  • Lack of injury. The alleged victim did not actually suffer a physical injury due to your actions.

  • Self-defense. You used physical force in response to a threat of force or harm.

  • Mistaken identity. You were not the one who caused bodily injury to the alleged victim.


As a skilled criminal defense attorney and a former prosecutor in the State of New York, I understand the serious nature of assault charges. Over the years, I have earned a reputation for my ability to defend clients vigorously and strategically. I am prepared to thoroughly review your case to put together the best available defense strategy to help you fight against the assault charges. At Melanson Law Office P.C., I represent clients in Kingston and throughout the Hudson Valley in New York.