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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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Posted on in Assault and Battery

police, assault of an officer, Stamford criminal defense attorneyIn the wake of several headline-making events this year involving police brutality and allegations of systemic issues of bias by police departments, the issue of assaults perpetrated against police have somewhat taken a backseat in media coverage. This does not mean that they are not still happening, or that the issue is not a major one for most police departments across the country. In 2014, more than 48,000 police officers nationwide were assaulted, and of these more than 28 percent sustained injuries. This is a rate of officer assaults of nine per 100 sworn police officers.

Dangerous Interactions

The majority of assaults against police are perpetrated when a person is out of control, either on drugs or drunk or angry. This can happen in a heated emotional or tense situation when the police are called to handle someone who is posing a danger to himself or people around him. When the situation escalates to violence, police officers are sometimes caught in the middle and assaulted, either accidentally or on purpose. Whether the assault against an officer was intended or not does not matter in the eyes of the law.

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