Assault & Battery

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Connecticut Assault Laws

(Connecticut General Statutes C.G.S. §§§ 53a-59, 53a-60, 53a-61)

In Connecticut, the crime of assault can either charged in the first, second, or third degree depending the severity of the crime, use of dangerous instrumentality, the victim's status, as well as the defendant's intent when he or she allegedly committed the assault.

Legal Definition of Assault

Under common law, assault is defined as attempted battery or the intent to cause another reasonable apprehension of contact. A battery is the willful application of force with the intent to cause bodily injury or offensive contact. Under Connecticut law, however, there is no legal distinction between assault and battery, but rather criminal assault or battery is only called or labeled an assault.

Prosecution of Assault in Connecticut

The state's burden of proving an assault varies depending on the specific type of assault alleged. Generally, in order to be convicted of assault, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you:

  • (1) Acted voluntarily;
  • (2) With the intent to commit an assault or some other crime; AND
  • (3) Caused injury or otherwise unlawfully harmed another in some manner.

Intent

Intent means that you specifically intended, that it was your conscious objective, to commit the crime(s) alleged. Transferred Intent is allowed under Connecticut assault laws. That means that it does not matter whether or not the defendant intended to hit a specific person or whether the meant to commit a different crime. For example, if you intended to hit John, but instead hit Mary, it is inconsequential that you didn't mean to hit Mary; the fact that you someone is enough, your intent transfers, and thus this element of the crime is met. Likewise, if you intended to murder John, but instead you only succeed in wounding him, you still intended to commit an assault because of transferred intent.

Serious Physical Injury

Serious physical injured is defined as an injury whereby there is a substantial risk of death, disfigurement, or will have a serious effect on normal organ functioning. It is something more serious than an impairment of physical condition or pain, or mere physical injury.[1]

Multiple Incidents of Assault

Under double jeopardy laws, the state cannot charge you for multiple counts of assault where the alleged assault was one single and continuance action. For example, if Mary shoots John in the leg, but John is also wounded by that same bullet in his foot, this scenario would amount to one count or instance of assault.

If, on the other hand, you can be charged with multiple counts of assault as separate offenses when each count of assault requires a different mental state, e.g. recklessness versus intent.

Different Types of Assault Charges in Connecticut

  • First Degree Assault
    • Assault with a Deadly Weapon or Dangerous Instrument [C.G.S. § 53a-59]
    • Assault by Maiming [C.G.S. §53a-59(a)(2)]
    • Assault by Reckless Indifference [C.G.S. § 53a-59(a)(3)]
    • Assault Aided by Two or More Persons [C.G.S. § 53a-59(a)(4)]
    • Assault by Discharge of a Firearm [C.G.S. § 53a-59(a)(5)]
    • Assault of an Employee of the Department of Correction [C.G.S. § 53a-59b]
    • Assault of a Pregnant Woman Resulting in Termination of Pregnancy [C.G.S. § 53a-59c]
  • Second Degree Assault
    • Serious Physical Injury [C.G.S. § 53a-60(a)(1)]
    • Intentional Assault with a Deadly Weapon [C.G.S. § 53a-60(a)(2)]
    • Reckless Assault with a Deadly Weapon [C.G.S. § 53a-60(a)(3)]
    • Assault by Administration of Stupefying Drugs [C.G.S. §53a-60(a)(4)]
    • Assault on Board of Parole Employee or Member [C.G.S. § 53a-60 (a)(5)]
    • Assault by Knockout [C.G.S. § 53a-60(a)(6)]
    • Assault with a Firearm [C.G.S. § 53a-60a]
    • Assault with a Motor Vehicle [C.G.S. § 53a-60d]
  • Third Degree Assault
    • Assault by Physical Injury [C.G.S. § 53a-61(a)(1)]
    • Assault by Recklessness [C.G.S. § 53a-61(a)(2)]
    • Assault with Deadly Weapon) [C.G.S. § 53a-61(a)(3)]
    • Assault of an Elderly, Blind, Disabled, Pregnant or Intellectually Disabled Person [C.G.S. §§§§ 53a-59a, 53a-60b, 53a-60c, and 53a-61a]

Punishment and Sentencing for a Connecticut Assault Conviction[2]

An assault conviction in Connecticut carries different penalties depending on the type of assault of which you're found guilty. Penalties can increase significantly depending on the facts and circumstances of your case and whether or not sentencing enhancements apply.

Penalties for 1st Degree Assault

Assault in the first degree is a Class B felony. If convicted, you face:

  • 5 to 20 years in prison;
  • Fine up to $15,000

Penalties for 2nd Degree Assault

Assault in the second degree is a Class D felony. If convicted, you face:

  • 1 to 5 years in prison;
  • Fine up to $5,000

Penalties for 3rd Degree Assault

Assault in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, you face:

  • Up to 1 years in jail;
  • Fine up to $2,000

Legal Defenses to Assault

  • Self-defense: where you reasonably and proportionately react to an imminent threat of harm, you can claim self-defense to an assault charge and Connecticut, and if successful, be acquitted of the applicable charges.
  • Defense of another: like, self-defense, you are entitled to use reasonable and proportional force defending another person from an imminent threat of harm.
  • Intoxication: The defense of intoxication may be alleged to negate the required mental state element of assault.
  • State's burden of proof not met: The state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed each and every element of the assault charge alleged.

If you or a loved has been arrested for assault in New Haven, Bridgeport, Hartford, New London, contact an Assault Lawyer at Sorrentino Legal today at (202) 904-4016 for a free consultation.

[1] https://www.jud.ct.gov/JI/criminal/

[2] https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_952.htm#sec_53a-59

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