A Guide to Connecticut Assault Charges

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A disagreement can get out of hand quickly. A drunk driving accident can lead to criminal consequences. If there has been a fight or an accident and you find yourself facing Connecticut assault charges, you need answers now. Find out what the charges mean, what your sentence might be, and what you can do to fight back against the charges.

What is an Assault Charge?

At its most basic, an assault charge is a criminal case saying that you physically injured someone else on purpose or because you were acting recklessly or negligently. While the most common cases involve fights or car accidents, assault charges can be filed any time a victim is hurt because of another’s use of force or a weapon. There are three degrees of assault in Connecticut. Which degree of assault charges apply depends on:

  • Whether the act was intentional, reckless, or negligent
  • How severely the victim was harmed
  • Whether there was a weapon involved (including a car)
  • Who the victim was

Depending on the circumstances, assault charges can be misdemeanors or felonies and can result in a punishment of one to 20 years in prison.

1st Degree Assault

The most serious of these charges is 1st degree assault. A Class B felony, Connecticut law defines first-degree assault as:

  • Intentionally causing serious injury by using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument
  • Intentionally, seriously, and permanently disfiguring another person, amputating or disabling part of their body
  • Recklessly causing serious injury in a way that creates a risk of death and shows extreme indifference to human life
  • Intentionally causing serious injury with the help of two or more other people
  • Intentionally firing a firearm to cause injury to the victim or another person

Penalties for First-Degree Assault

If you are convicted of 1st-degree assault, you could face up to 20 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines. There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison, which cannot be reduced or suspended under Connecticut law.

2nd Degree Assault

Next, 2nd-degree assault is a Class D felony. Under the Connecticut penal code, second-degree assault charges apply where the defendant:

  • Injures someone while intending to cause serious injury
  • Intentional assault someone with a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument other than a gun
  • Recklessly causes serious injury using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument
  • Intentionally drugs someone or renders them unconscious
  • Injures a member of the Board of Pardons or Paroles while a parolee
  • Strikes someone in the head intending to render them unconscious without being provoked
  • Intentionally striking or kicking a person while they are lying down

Penalties for Second-Degree Assault

As a Class D felony, 2nd-degree assault has a possible prison sentence of one to five years and a fine of up to $5,000. When there is a gun involved, Connecticut’s mandatory minimum sentence is 1 year of jail time for assault in the second degree.

Assault 2nd with a Motor Vehicle

Another form of second-degree assault involves a car or truck. Assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle applies to injury accidents resulting from drunk driving or drugged driving. If the driver of a vehicle involved in the crash was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, in addition to the penalties described above, their driver’s license will be suspended for one year. Then they will spend two more years using an ignition interlock device on their vehicle.

3rd Degree Assault

The least severe form of assault and battery charge is 3rd-degree assault. This Class A misdemeanor can be charged when a defendant:

  • Intentionally injures another person
  • Recklessly causes serious physical injury
  • Negligently causes physical injury by using a deadly weapon, dangerous instrument, or electronic defense weapon

Penalty for Third-Degree Assault

The penalty for third-degree assault is up to one year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines.

A Note on Vulnerable Victims and Domestic Violence

The penalties described above assume that the victim was an able-bodied, unrelated adult. Connecticut law increases the penalties for assault charges when the victim is:

  • Under 10 years old
  • Elderly
  • Blind
  • Physically disabled
  • Intellectually disabled
  • Pregnant

There are also separate charges for assault of a pregnant woman resulting in a lost pregnancy, a Class A felony.

In addition to the base assault charges, you could also face family violence charges if the alleged victim is your:

  • Spouse or former spouse
  • Parent
  • Child
  • Co-parent
  • Blood relative
  • In-law
  • Roommate
  • Current or former dating partner

When an assault charge is labeled as family violence, it triggers a series of hearings and orders that start the very next day. If you are accused of domestic violence and are facing family violence assault charges you must contact an experienced domestic violence attorney right away to help you defend your case.

Defending Against Connecticut Assault Charges

The good news is that there are ways to defend against Connecticut assault charges. Most often, you and your criminal defense attorney can challenge the level of intent involved (Did you do it on purpose?) and the degree of the victim’s injuries. You may also be able to raise defenses of provocation (Did the victim goad you into it?) or self-defense (Was the victim threatening harm?). However, these defenses take time to prepare and skilled advocacy to win.

Every assault charge is serious. Whether you are facing a first-degree Class B felony or a third-degree misdemeanor, you need the help of an attorney familiar with what it takes to defend against Connecticut assault charges. At the Lebedevitch Law Firm, based in Fairfield, Connecticut, criminal defense attorney Stephen Lebedevitch knows what to do to challenge assault charges and win. He will review your case and help you develop your strongest defense. Contact us for a free consultation to talk to Stephen today.

Categories: Criminal Defense