Assault in the Second Degree

Assault in the second degree is a Class B felony, unless there is a finding of sexual motivation, which increases it to a Class A felony.  A person with no felony history can face a sentence of 3-9 months at the low end, but this sentence can increase dramatically if the accused has felony history or a weapons enhancement applies (see below).

A person is guilty of assault in the second degree if he or she, under circumstances not amounting to assault in the first degree:

(a) Intentionally assaults another and thereby recklessly inflicts substantial bodily harm; or

(b) Intentionally and unlawfully causes substantial bodily harm to an unborn quick child by intentionally and unlawfully inflicting any injury upon the mother of such child; or

(c) Assaults another with a deadly weapon; or

(d) With intent to inflict bodily harm, administers to or causes to be taken by another, poison or any other destructive or noxious substance; or

(e) With intent to commit a felony, assaults another; or

(f) Knowingly inflicts bodily harm which by design causes such pain or agony as to be the equivalent of that produced by torture; or

(g) Assaults another by strangulation or suffocation.

Substantial Bodily Harm:

As you will note, proof of “substantial bodily harm” is one way the state can prove Assault 2.  Substantial bodily harm” means bodily injury which involves a temporary but substantial disfigurement, or which causes a temporary but substantial loss or impairment of the function of any bodily part or organ, or which causes a fracture of any bodily part.  So, the temporary disfigurement could mean a broken bone or an injury which causes the loss of use of a bodily function, even if that injury heals after a period of time.  Whether the injury rises to the level of serious bodily harm is a question for the prosecutor, initially.  Then ultimately the judge or jury decides whether the conduct at issue rises to the level of Assault 2.

Deadly Weapon:

The phrase “deadly weapon” is also open to interpretation.  A deadly weapon can mean an explosive, vehicle, or any instrument readily capable of causing death or substantial bodily harm.

Weapon Enhancements:

If the state can prove the assault occurred with a deadly weapon, sentence enhancements apply.  This adds a period of imprisonment to the standard range sentence.  The length of the enhancement varies, depending upon which type of weapon is used.  The use of firearms, for example, can dramatically increase the sentence following conviction for Assault 2.  Use of other weapons, like knives or bats, add a lesser – but still significant sentence enhancement if proven.

If you are charged with Assault in the Second Degree, or think you might be charged in the future, you should contact an attorney immediately.  A qualified felony attorney can inform you of the potential sentence you might be facing, and advise you as to your next steps.

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