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b2ap3_thumbnail_assault_20200402-030343_1.jpgAssault crimes in Connecticut are those that involve one person attacking another, either with or without a weapon, with the intent to make contact. Depending on the degree, you do not need to have intended to injure the person you attacked - but the injured person and the state have a right to seek consequences against you nonetheless. If you have been charged with assault, you need an experienced attorney to help protect your rights.

Mandatory Minimums

There are several different levels of assault charges in Connecticut, ranging from assault in the first degree, down to assault in the third degree with a weapon. In addition, assaults on different types of victims may raise or lower the degree of the charges - for example, assaulting a child or an elderly person is considered a more serious crime, due to the more fragile nature of the victim in these cases. This is especially true if the victim’s injuries are severe; the worse the harm suffered, the more likely one is to face serious consequences.

It is worth noting that assault in the first degree is one of the few crimes in Connecticut that carries a mandatory minimum sentence, meaning that if convicted, there will be at least a part of your sentence that cannot be “suspended or reduced by the court” - it must be served, full stop. The lesser degrees of assault do not carry mandatory minimums, except for if a firearm was used in the commission of the act, but they do carry prison time in most situations, to say nothing of the fines and fees you will have to pay.

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CT defense lawyerAt common law, assault was the crime of threatening or menacing someone into believing they are about to be harmed. However, in Connecticut, the definition actually requires physical contact and can be tried as a misdemeanor or a felony. If you have been charged with assault, you need an experienced attorney on your side to help ensure that your rights are protected in court.

Several Degrees

Assault in Connecticut can be charged in three different degrees, as of current law, with the specific choice of charge being affected by the severity of the incident. For example, if you cause bodily harm to someone with the intent to hurt them (as opposed to having intent to kill), you would likely be charged with third-degree assault, a Class A misdemeanor. Comparatively, if you cause serious physical injury to someone with intent (or with extreme recklessness), you would most likely be charged with first-degree assault, which is a Class B felony.

In Connecticut, you might also be charged with aggravated assault, which is an enhancement to an assault charge, rather than an individual charge on its own. In other words, a person will be charged with assault, but if they allegedly committed assault with ‘aggravating factors’ (such as, say, the use of a weapon, or the victim being a vulnerable person such as a disabled or elderly person), their charge may be ‘enhanced’ to aggravated assault. Aggravated assault carries stiffer penalties than a standard assault charge.

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CT defense lawyerThere are many different degrees of criminal assault, each with its own set of criteria that must be proven at trial. However, this can be quite confusing for someone who has been charged with assault, because you may not be aware of what the prosecution has to prove and what it does not. Having a good understanding of the case against you is an important way that you can keep a realistic picture of your chances in court.

Assault Charges Are Very Specific

Connecticut recognizes numerous specific degrees of assault charges, understanding that arguments and fights that get out of hand are quite different from an intentional and malicious attack. Intent is a major factor in determining what degree to charge someone with, but it is not the only factor - others include whether or not a weapon was used, the level of harm caused, and the identity of the victim (penalties will be stiffer, for example, if the victim is an elderly or disabled person).

It is important to keep in mind that factors about each defendant do not tend to affect the choice of charge; rather, if someone is convicted, it will be taken into account for sentencing purposes. Obviously, your aim is to avoid conviction and sentencing in the first place, but it is still a good idea to be aware of what the factors are that go into charges. The charge will reflect the overall event: if you caused minor injury to someone with your hands versus, say, attacking them with a knife or firearm.

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CT defense lawyerAssault can be any incident where physical harm is done to another person. However, there are varying degrees of assault, and if you are charged with the crime, you may be able to plead to a lesser charge or avoid sentencing if you understand its ramifications fully. Having a Stamford assault lawyer helping you can make a big difference.

Different Degrees

Connecticut law divides assault charges into differing degrees, where variables will affect which one you are charged with. Third-degree assault, for example, is a Class A misdemeanor (with or without a weapon). It is punishable by up to a year in prison plus severe fines (usually around $2,000), plus costs. An assault case is more likely to be charged in the third degree if the person had intent to injure or acted recklessly (as opposed to intent to kill or use a weapon to cause permanent injury). The victim (or a third person) must be injured, but not necessarily severely.

Compare this to assault in the first degree. Someone will be charged with first-degree assault if they “intended to harm the person” and their victim was seriously injured or in certain other cases such as using a weapon to cause permanent injury. The sentence will be between 5 and 20 years in prison, as well as fines that can range up to $15,000, depending on the severity of the injuries caused. Generally, each degree of assault has its particular criteria, with only the intent and the actual injury (or lack thereof) being relatively uniform across the board.

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Posted on in Assault and Battery

bar fight, assault, Stamford criminal defense attorneyThe idea that alcohol and violent assault are linked is nothing new. In fact, sometimes alcohol is blamed for incidents of assault in which it was not present, or did not play a contributing role. This is sometimes the case, for example, in the event of domestic violence: Assault is blamed on the effects of alcohol, rather than a deep-seated issue within the partner him or herself. In fact, there are several studies that call alcohol the most common “date rape drug,” because while a person may decide to drink, if she consumes more than was planning or more than she can handle, the chance of unwanted sexual assault or contact can increase. Yet the rate of assault of a non-sexual nature seems to be linked to alcohol as well. This is due in part to the commonly-known side effect of alcohol to make a person more violent and less able to control his or her emotions.

A large number of convicted offenders admit to having been under the influence of alcohol when he or she committed the crime. Out of more than 5 million convicted offenders who were recently surveyed, nearly 2 million (more than 35 percent) report having been drinking or drunk when the crime was committed. An example of this is the common bar fight. While bar fights may have been romanticized throughout history (think Old West saloons), assaulting someone at a bar while drinking can have very serious consequences that may go on a person’s permanent record.

The statistics around bar fights find that not every person is at the same level of risk for being involved in such an incident: Bar fights happen in darker, dirtier bars involving people who are heavy drinkers and usually unhappy to begin with. They also tend to happen in establishments in which there is a competitive game present (such as darts or pool), and in places in which there are more male employees/bartenders than female. Women, however, are not immune to the bar fight trap—it was determined that the women involved in bar fights had had roughly more than four drinks more than usual, meaning that their involvement in such an incident precluding excessive binge drinking at a higher rate than men.

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