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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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Stamford Criminal Defense AttorneyBeing accused of any crime is an unnerving experience; criminal charges have the power to severely alter your present circumstances and your entire future, potentially affecting everything from your employment options to your educational choices. Assault charges in particular are especially damaging, as they are often the most serious and carry with them the most devastating consequences. There are some important things to consider when discussing the crime of assault.

“Assault” is a Broad Term

Assault crimes and charges can vary greatly. The law uses the term “assault” to refer to the carrying out of physical, bodily harm on someone else, or a presented threat to carry out such harm. Threats to hurt someone, being involved in a public disturbance, domestic violence, a breach of peace, and other types of disorderly conduct that involve the harm of another human being are all considered forms of assault. In general, less serious assault charges are categorized as third-degree. They are typically the lowest level of assault charges, while first-degree charges are the most serious. The severity of the injury and whether or not a weapon was used are just a few factors that determine the level of assault charge.

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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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assault convictions in Connecticut, Stamford criminal lawyerIf you have been charged with the crime of assault in Connecticut, the type of charge will determine the potential penalties you will face. Connecticut law delineates three distinct levels of assault, each of which carries separate penalties.

First degree assault is the most severe level you can be charged with. Assault in the first degree is a Class B felony in Connecticut, carrying penalties of up to 20 years in prison—with a mandatory prison of at least five years—and up to $15,000 in fines if convicted. First degree assault is defined as:

  • Causing serious physical injury with a deadly weapon or other dangerous item, with the intent to cause serious injury.
  • Causing serious permanent disfigurement or destroying or amputating a body part, with the intent to do so.
  • Causing serious physical injury by recklessly engaging in conduct that demonstrates extreme indifference to human life.
  • Causing serious physical injury with two or more other people, with intent to do so.
  • Causing physical injury with a firearm, with intent to do so.

Second degree assault is a Class D felony, with a prison sentence of one to five years and up to $5,000 in fines. If a firearm is used or the person threatens to use a firearm, a sentence of at least one year in prison is required. Second degree assault is defined as:

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knockout game, Connecticut law, Connecticut criminal defense lawyerConnecticut legislators are looking to make the knockout game an official crime statewide. The “game” refers to a situation in which a victim is hit over the head without any provocation, the goal of which is for the victim to lose consciousness. If passed, the bill would treat accused individuals in a manner similar to those facing assault charges.

The legislation would institute the crime as a Class D felony and a mandatory minimum two-year sentences. Those aged 16 and 17 would be transferred to the adult system if accused of participating. While the attacks are rare, legislators believe that stipulating this as a crime will help to cut down on the racial overtones that have played out in past attacks.

Some representatives are opposed to law, arguing that there are not enough details that 16 or 17 year olds are engaged in the game in Connecticut and that the act simply does not happen enough to warrant statewide handling of the situation. Law enforcement agencies vary with regard to their reporting, so it’s difficult to get accurate data about how many victims have suffered.

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