Charged with First-Degree Assault in Stamford?
Assault is a serious crime, and being charged with first-degree assault means that your alleged actions were extremely serious. However, every case has multiple sides to it, and you are entitled to a good defense so that you are able to tell your story. Contacting an experienced criminal lawyer can help ensure you have the best chance to keep the record straight.
Charges Depend on Severity
There are three different degrees of assault under Connecticut law, with third-degree assault being a Class A misdemeanor, second being a Class D felony, and first-degree being a Class B felony. Which degree is charged largely depends on three factors: the severity of the harm, the intent of the attacker, and the identity of the victim (certain victim classifications, such as being elderly, pregnant, or disabled, will raise the charge or add time at sentencing). The presence or absence of a weapon can also make a difference.
There are several different ways that someone can be tried for first-degree assault - in other words, many different fact patterns will qualify for such a charge. Production of an injury to another person via the use of a firearm (or other dangerous instrument or deadly weapon), intent to produce serious or permanent disfigurement to another person, and reckless conduct capable of causing death that ultimately causes severe harm are all examples of fact patterns that will yield a charge in the first degree.
Penalties and Defenses
First-degree assault has the potential to lead to a significant jail sentence - anywhere between 5 and 20 years - and fines as high as $20,000. More time and money can also be added on if the victim of the assault was pregnant, disabled, blind, or elderly - indeed, assault on a pregnant woman that leads to termination of the pregnancy is a Class A felony, potentially carrying anywhere from 10 years to life. Intent or extreme recklessness are the two things to look for - intent to kill or cause serious bodily injury, or extreme recklessness regarding the possibility of death or serious injury, will distinguish first-degree assault from second and third.
Intent can also make a difference in defense. Connecticut does not have a so-called “stand your ground” law, but it does have a very explicit law recognizing self-defense and the level of physical force that one can use in defending themselves from harm. Other defenses may include disputing the severity of the victim’s injuries, or arguing that no intent to kill or cause serious bodily harm existed (given that one of those two must be present to find someone guilty of first-degree assault).
Need a Fairfield County Assault Lawyer?
Too often, arguments can turn physical, and people can get hurt without anyone ever really meaning to cause harm. If you have been charged with assault, a dedicated Fairfield County criminal defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner can work hard to ensure that you receive a fair trial and given every opportunity to tell your story. Contact our Stamford office today at 203-348-5846 for a free consultation.