Defending Against Assault and Battery Charges in Connecticut
With school out of session on account of winter break and snow on the ground, actions that start out as mere mischief may get out of hand and rise to the level of torts and crimes. While it may seem inconsistent with the wintertime and holiday spirit, hitting someone with a snowball can bring serious consequences if injuries are sustained. The same is true for sledding-related horseplay that devolves into fist fighting. You may be charged with the crime of assault or battery, or sued in civil court for money damages. If you have been charged with assault or battery in Connecticut, you need an experienced Norwalk criminal defense attorney to protect your legal rights.
Defining Assault and Battery in Connecticut
In the general, common law sense, battery is a harmful or offensive contact. In Connecticut, more specifically, battery is the “willful application of force with the intent to cause bodily injury or offensive contact.” Assault, in the most basic sense, attempted battery. Specifically, under state law, assault is “attempted battery or the intent to cause another reasonable apprehension or contact.” In these two definitions, one can infer the importance of 1) intent and 2) whether or not contact actually occurs. Even if you have been unsuccessful in making contact, or merely intend to make another human being believe that you intend to make contact (but do not make contact), you may still be properly charged with assault in Connecticut.
The Three Degrees of Assault in Connecticut
Culpability is partitioned into three degrees in Connecticut, each of which factors in the severity of the crime, whether or not a “dangerous instrumentality” (weapon was used, the alleged perpetrator’s intent, and the status of the alleged victim. Third-degree assault, the least culpable of the three degrees, is classified as a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable by a 1-year prison term and a fine of $2,000. Second-degree assault, the middle level of culpability, is classified as a Class D felony and is punishable by a prison term of 1 – 5 years and a fine of $5,000. First-degree assault, the most culpable type, is classified as a Class B felony and is punishable by a prison term of up to 20 years and a fine of as much as $15,000.
Protecting Your Legal Rights in Connecticut
With prison and fines very real consequences of an assault or battery conviction in Connecticut, it is imperative that you rely on an experienced Norwalk criminal defense attorney.