Assault in the Second Degree in Arkansas

Arkansas divides assault into aggravated assault (the most serious), assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, and assault in the third degree, depending on the accused’s intent, whether the accused used a firearm, and the seriousness of the risks created. Aggravated assault is a felony, while first, second, and third degree assault are misdemeanors.

To learn about aggravated assault, see Arkansas Aggravated Assault Laws. For more information on assault in the first degree, see Assault in the First Degree in Arkansas. To learn about assault in the third degree, see Assault in the Third Degree in Arkansas.

Assault in the Second Degree

A person commits assault in the second degree, classified as a Class B misdemeanor, if the person recklessly engages in conduct that creates a substantial risk of physical injury to another person.

(Ark. Code Ann. § 5-13-206.)

What constitutes “reckless” behavior?

A person acts recklessly when the person consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk.

(Ark. Code Ann. § 5-2-202.)

For example, in one case the court determined that a defendant acted recklessly by ingesting cocaine within two hours of driving, driving his car erratically and at a high rate of speed on a curvy road, looking over his shoulder and crossing the center line, and striking another vehicle without trying to stop.

What constitutes “physical injury?”

Physical injury means either:

  • impairment of physical condition
  • infliction of substantial pain, or
  • infliction of bruising, swelling, or a visible mark associated with physical trauma.

(Ark. Code Ann. § 5-1-102.)

A judge or jury must often examine the specific facts of a case and determine whether a physical injury occurred. In making this determination, a jury may consider the severity of the defendant’s attack and the sensitivity of the injured portion of the victim’s body. In one case, the evidence was sufficient to prove physical injury when the victim testified that the defendant hit her “very hard” in the arm, she sought medical treatment, and had soreness in her arm for a week.

Penalties for assault in the second degree

Someone convicted of assault in the second degree can be subjected to any or all of the following penalties (you can read more about misdemeanor sentencing in Arkansas Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences):

  • Incarceration. Imprisonment in jail is permitted for not more than 90 days.
  • Fines. The court can impose a fine up to $1,000. If the defendant made money from committing the offense, the fine may be increased to an amount not exceeding twice the amount.
  • Probation. A person on probation regularly meets with a probation officer and fulfills other terms and conditions, such as maintaining employment and attending counseling.
  • Community service. Courts often include as a part of probation the requirement that the defendant work for a specified number of hours with court-approved organizations, such as charities.
  • Restitution. The Court can order the defendant to repay the victim for necessary medical and related expenses, in addition to and for lost income up to $50,000. If a victim dies, the Court can order the defendant to pay for necessary funeral and related services.

(Ark. Code Ann. § § 5-4-401, 5-4-201, 5-4-205.)

See a Lawyer

If you are facing a charge of assault in the second degree, consider consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney who regularly practices in your area. A lawyer will understand the complicated legal concepts involved in an assault case. Additionally, numerous defenses apply to charges of assault in the first degree; a lawyer can evaluate the strength of the prosecution’s case against you and help develop any defenses that might apply to your case.

A lawyer’s skillful negotiation with the prosecutor also can sometimes result in a reduction of charges or a reduction in penalties, such as less jail time, no jail time, probation, and lower fines. A local criminal defense attorney, who knows how the prosecutors and judges involved in your case typically handle such matters, can assist with these negotiations. Finally, a lawyer understands the complicated courtroom strategies and procedures required to conduct a trial.


Ark. Code Ann. § 5-13-206

Ark. Code Ann. § 5-2-202

Ark. Code Ann. § 5-1-102

Ark. Code Ann. § 5-4-401

Ark. Code Ann. § 5-4-201

Ark. Code Ann. § 5-4-205

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