When you hear a news report or a read a newspaper article that refers to a violent crime, it is not uncommon to encounter the word “assault.” Depending on the circumstances of the offense and the jurisdiction, the word may be used in conjunction with the term “battery”—as in the “The suspect was arrested and charged with assault and battery.” But, what does assault entail? If you are facing charges for assault in Connecticut, it is important to understand what the law says.
The first thing you should know is that there is not a separate offense known as “battery” in Connecticut. Almost any situation that involves an injury due to the use of violence, force, or a deadly weapon is categorized as a type of assault. State law provides three degrees of assault which range from Class A misdemeanors up to Class B felonies, and penalties may be increased depending on factors such as the age, condition, disability, or occupation of the victim.
As a Class A misdemeanor, assault in the third degree is technically the least serious of all assault charges, but it still carries stiff criminal penalties. A person commits third-degree assault when he or she:
- Intentionally causes injury to another person;
- Recklessly causes serious injury to another person; or
- Negligently uses a deadly weapon to cause injury to another person.
Possible penalties for assault in the third degree include up to a year in prison and $2,000 in fines. If a firearm is involved, there is a mandatory one-year minimum prison sentence.
Assault in the second degree is a Class D felony. It may be charged in situations similar to third-degree assault if the injuries sustained by the victim are considered serious. Second-degree assault includes intentionally causing serious injury to another person with a non-firearm weapon and recklessly causing serious injury with any deadly weapon. Drugging another person without his or her consent is also second-degree assault.
The minimum one-year sentence still applies for using a firearm in the commission of the offense, and sentences may be as long as five years. A conviction will also result in up to $5,000 in fines.
The most serious of assault-related offenses is assault in the first degree, which is a Class B felony. First-degree assault carries a minimum of five years in prison and could result in sentences of up to 20 years. The associated fines could range up to $15,000. A person commits first-degree assault if he or she:
- Causes serious injury to another person using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument;
- Causes serious injury to another person with the intent of causing permanent injury or disfigurement;
- Acts with “extreme indifference to human life” and engages in behavior that causes serious injury to another person;
- Intentionally causes serious injury to another person with the help of two or more other people; or
- Causes serious injury by discharging a firearm with the intent to cause physical injury.
As with the other degrees of assault, the penalties for first-degree assault may be elevated depending on the circumstances of the crime.
Seek Qualified Help
If you or a loved one has been charged with assault or any other violent crime, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Connecticut. Call [[phone1]] for a free consultation at Woolf Law Firm, LLC today and get the help you need from a lawyer dedicated to protecting your rights.