COVID-19 Update: We are open and serving our clients. Learn More >>>
Member of:
Justia Lawyer Rating
American Association for Justice
Union Plus

NY Penal Law § 120.00: Assault in the third Degree

New York Penal Law includes three degrees of the crime of assault including assault in the first degree, second degree and third degree. Assault in the third degree is the least serious of these three offenses. It is a class A misdemeanor and carries a possible prison sentence of up to one year in jail. Under New York Penal Code § 120.00 you will face a change of assault in the third degree if:

  • You intentionally physically injure another person,
  • You injure a third party when you intended to injure another person,
  • You recklessly injure another person, or
  • You negligently injure another person using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.

It is a class A misdemeanor.


A man got into a shouting match with his neighbor. The man got so mad that he ended up punching his neighbor in the face and in the back, requiring the neighbor to seek medical treatment at a hospital. The man could be prosecuted for assault in the third degree because he intentionally injured his neighbor. It is not necessary for the man's injuries to be serious, but the injuries must be "physical injuries" as defined by the statute.

Related Offenses
  1. Reckless endangerment second degree: New York Penal Code § 120.20
  2. Menacing in the second degree: New York Penal Code § 120.14

In order to sustain a charge of assault in the third degree the victim must have sustained a physical injury. While it is not necessary for the injury to be severe, there must be some evidence of an injury other than the victim complaining that he or she was hurt. If there is no physical injury as defined by the statute, the prosecutor will have a difficult securing an assault in the third degree conviction.

Under New York law you are permitted to use reasonable force to protect yourself or another person from imminent physical danger. If you can show that based on the facts of the case you reasonably believed that you were in imminent physical danger, then you may have a valid defense against an assault in the third degree charge.


Because assault in the third degree is a class A misdemeanor the maximum possible sentence is up to 1 year in jail. In lieu of being sentenced to jail, the judge may sentence to you to a 3 year probation term.

New York Penal Code § 120.00: Assault in the Third Degree

A person is guilty of assault in the third degree when:

  1. With intent to cause physical injury to another person, he causes such injury to such person or to a third person; or
  2. He recklessly causes physical injury to another person; or
  3. With criminal negligence, he causes physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument.
The Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates can help

While assault in the third degree is a misdemeanor, the consequences of a conviction are serious. You may end up spending a year in jail-- away from your family and friends. Once you return you will have to face life with having a criminal record. However, there are defenses to a charge of assault in the third degree that may cause the charge to be dropped, reduced or you being acquitted. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with misdemeanors and felonies such as assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, menacing, reckless endangerment, stalking, rape, and child endangerment. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

Client Reviews
My wife and I met under some unconventional circumstances. After I had some legal problems, Mr Bilkis and his firm continually got me out of trouble. I then had his firm represented my wife and he got her out of trouble! We are still married and got our ways straightened away. We both can't thank him enough for saving our lives and our families! J.P.
I contacted Stephen Bilkis' office for an issue regarding a family member and I could not be happier with the results. I have recommended the firm to friends and family, all of whom were also ecstatic with Mr. Bilkis and all members of his staff. P.R.
I was in need of legal assistance for a very sensitive matter for a family member. I contacted the law offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC and was met with staff whose demeanor was supportive, compassionate and professional. The lawyer handling our case had many years of experience and treated us as if we were his own family. Our experience was so good, and we became so close to all of the staff and all of the attorneys who assisted us, that we consider them our extended family and continue to send them our home baked gifts for the holidays. P.A.K.
I hired Stephen Bilkis and Associates to represent me on a legal matter a few months ago and am grateful for their swift action and resolution on my behalf. I was impressed with their professionalism and would recommend them to friends and family in a heartbeat. M.B.