If you watch police shows or legal dramas or follow the news, you have probably heard the term “assault.” It is generally used to describe a criminal charge for when one person hurts another person, short of killing them. Assault charges may arise from a number of situations, from a bar fight to domestic violence to a person shooting at someone else.
In Connecticut, assault and battery are charged at several different levels, from first degree (most serious) to third-degree (least serious). No matter how the offense is charged, if you are convicted of assault in CT, you may spend a significant amount of time in jail and be required to pay a steep fine.
Being charged with assault can have a significant impact on your life. In addition to potentially losing your freedom, you may suffer other consequences, like losing your right to bear arms. If you are facing this type of charge, a skilled assault and battery lawyer CT can defend you and protect your rights.
How Is Assault Defined in Connecticut?
Under Connecticut law, assault (also referred to as assault and battery) is broadly defined as causing a physical injury to another person. The level of assault charge is based on a number of factors, including the seriousness of the injuries suffered, the intent of the alleged perpetrator, whether the victim is entitled to special protection, and if a dangerous weapon was used in the attack.
First-degree assault may be charged if a person:
- Causes serious physical injury to another person using a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument, with the intent to cause serious physical injury to another person;
- Causes serious injury to another person with the intent to disfigure another person seriously and permanently, or to destroy, amputate or disable permanently a member or organ of his body;
- Recklessly engages in conduct which creates a risk of death to another person, and in doing so, causes serious physical injury to another person;
- Causes serious physical injury to another person, with the intent to do so and while aided by two or more other people; or
- Causes physical injury to another person through the discharge of a firearm, with the intent to cause an injury.
Assault in the first degree is a Class B felony.
Second-degree assault may be charged as either a Class D felony or a Class C felony if the alleged victim suffered serious physical injury. This type of assault charge may be brought when a person:
- Causes serious physical injury to another person, with intent to do so cause such an injury;
- Causes a physical injury to another person by using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, with the intent to cause such an injury;
- Recklessly causes serious physical injury to another person by using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument;
- Causes stupor, unconsciousness or other physical impairment or injury to another person by administering a drug or substance, without that person’s consent and not for therapeutic purposes;
- Causes physical injury to an employee or member of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, as a parolee within intent to cause such injury;
- Causes an injury to another person by striking them on the head, with an intent to cause serious physical injury by rendering the other person unconscious; or
- Striking or kicking a person in the head while they are lying down, with an intent to cause physical injury.
Finally, assault in the third degree may be charged in situations where a person:
- Causes physical injury to another person with the intent to do so;
- Recklessly causes serious physical injury to another person; or
- Causes physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon, dangerous instrument, or an electronic defense weapon with criminal negligence.
This offense is a Class A misdemeanor.
There are a number of other assault and battery crimes that a prosecutor may bring against you, depending on the facts of the case. This includes charges such as assault of an elderly, blind, disabled or pregnant person; assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle, and assault of an employee of the Department of Corrections. As with other types of assault, the ultimate charge will be based on the status of the alleged victim, the severity of the harm, and the intent of the alleged perpetrator.
Penalties for a CT Assault and Battery Charge
If a prosecutor brings an assault case against you, it is important to understand that you may be facing serious consequences. Even for the lowest level assault charge – third-degree assault – you could spend up to a year in jail. If the alleged victim is a vulnerable person or is employed by the Department of Corrections, you may face enhanced sentencing, including a mandatory 1-year sentence of imprisonment.
The potential penalties for assault include:
- Assault in the first degree: up to 20 years in prison (5-year minimum) and fines of up to $15,000;
- Assault in the second degree: between 1 and 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000;
- Assault in the second degree with a firearm: mandatory minimum of 1 year in prison, up to 5 years total imprisonment, and a maximum fine of $5,000;
- Assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle: between 1 and 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, and a 1-year driver’s license suspension; and
- Assault in the third degree: up to 1 year in prison and a maximum $2,000 fine.
There are a number of potential defenses to an assault charge that a skilled criminal defense attorney may utilize. Depending on the facts of your case, your assault lawyer in CT may argue that you didn’t have the intent to hurt another person, or that their injuries were not as serious as what the prosecutor has claimed. Alternatively, you may be able to argue that you acted in self-defense, and as such, the charges against you should be reduced or dismissed.
Is Assault a Felony in CT?
Depending on the facts of the case, assault may be charged as a felony in Connecticut. Generally, third-degree assault is a misdemeanor offense, while all other levels of assault are charged as a felony. However, if certain circumstances are present – such as an assault on a pregnant woman or blind person – then even this lower-level charge may result in a significant sentence of imprisonment.
Should I Get a Lawyer for an Assault Charge?
Yes. For any criminal charge, it is a good idea to hire an attorney. Because assault charges can result in a significant sentence and other consequences, it is even more important to hire a skilled assault and battery lawyer in CT.
If you are convicted of assault, then you will be sentenced to a period of imprisonment by a judge, and ordered to pay a fine and court costs. You will also have a criminal record, which may impact your future. For these reasons, it is vital to hire a skilled attorney to advocate for you if you are charged with assault.
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost for an Assault Case?
The cost of an assault and battery lawyer in CT will vary based on the facts of your case and whether the case results in a plea deal or dismissal, or goes to trial. Generally, the more work that your attorney has to do to resolve the charge, the higher your fee will be. Before you hire a lawyer, they should explain their fee system, and give you an opportunity to ask questions about how much it will cost.
Keep in mind that being convicted of a crime like assault can have a steep price over the course of your life. This type of conviction may prevent you from getting jobs, qualifying for housing, or otherwise moving forward with your life. Hiring a skilled assault lawyer in CT can help to protect both in the present and in the future.
Charged with Assault? We Can Help.
Connecticut assault charges can be incredibly serious and may result in a lengthy prison sentence. If you have been charged with this crime, you will need a seasoned assault and battery lawyer in CT to protect your rights and your freedom.
With law offices in Hartford and Waterbury, the Sills Law Firm is well-positioned to represent clients on assault charges throughout the state of Connecticut. Our legal team has more than 20 years of combined experience advocating for people charged with crimes and put this knowledge to work every day to help our clients achieve the best possible outcome for their case. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer in CT, call us today at (860) 524-8118 or fill out our online contact form.