Assault is the intent to cause serious physical injury to another person, often by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. Assaults can vary in degree from an A misdemeanor to a B felony.
Assault in the 3rd degree is intentionally or recklessly causing physical injury to another person. Assault in the 3rd degree is an A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.
Assault in the 2nd degree is intentionally causing serious physical injury to another. It is a D felony and is punishable by up to seven years in state prison. Under New York law, serious physical injury is "injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes death, or serious and protracted (long-lasting) disfigurement, protracted impairment of health or the protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ."
Assault in the 1st degree is a B felony and can be punished by up to 25 years in prison. Assault in the 1st degree is the same as Assault in the 2nd degree, but with one of the following additional requirements: (a) that a deadly weapon was used in the assault; (b) that the defendant intended disfigurement or dismemberment at the time by way of the assault; (c) that the assault occurs during the commission of another felony or in fleeing the scene of the commission of the felony; (d) or if the defendant was acting recklessly under circumstances showing depraved indifference to human life (a specific legal term in New York, meaning that a person's actions are likely to result in the death of another).