Connecticut Assault Statutes

Understanding Assault Charges in Connecticut

Assault 1st Degree

Connecticut has 11 separate Assault statutes. We will discuss a few of the most commonly applied Assault charges. The most serious being Assault 1st. Assault in the 1st degree often carries a 5-year minimum mandatory sentence, and if the victim is under the age of 10, then the court must impose a 10-year minimum mandatory sentence. What a minimum mandatory sentence means is the sentencing judge has no choice under Connecticut law but to impose the minimum sentence.  The judge is free to impose a higher sentence, but he/she is not allowed to impose a lesser sentence than that which is allowed under the law.  Generally, Assault in the 1st degree involves the use of a weapon that causes a serious physical injury, or simply causing a serious physical injury.  A defendant that is charged with Assault 1st degree is usually accused of using a gun, knife or some other weapon to seriously injure another person.  It should be noted that a person can be charged with Assault 1st degree even if no weapon is used.  It is enough to cause a serious physical injury to another person.  Almost all assaults cause a physical injury, however, a charge of Assault 1st degree requires there be a serious physical injury.  Assault 1st degree carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail.

Assault 2nd Degree

Assault 2nd degree is either a class C or D felony depending on the facts.  A person that is charged with Assault 2nd degree is accused of injuring another person with “dangerous instrument” other than a firearm, and that person has been in fact injured.  If the injury is not a serious injury then it is a class C felony which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years. Any weapon can be used in assault in the 2nd degree.  Some examples of “dangerous instruments” can be an ash tray, a pry bar, a glass bottle, a shovel, hammer, garbage can, a plate, etc.  The list of “dangerous instrument” can be just about any item that can cause a serious physical injury.  If the injury caused is not of a serious nature then it is considered a class D felony which carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in jail.  If there is a serious injury then it becomes a class C Felony which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail.

Assault 3rd Degree

Assault 3rd degree is the least serious of all assault charges.  It is a class A misdemeanor, carrying a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail.  Assault in the 3rd degree is the most commonly charged statute in criminal cases.  Some examples would be a spouse slapping or punching another spouse, a typical bar fight, a shoving match, and just about any other act which causes unwanted physical contact with another person that causes some injury.  It is important to note that the injury need not be serious.  Any injury, however slight, can cause someone to be charged with Assault 3rd degree.

There are a number of other Assault statutes in Connecticut.  The above three are the most common.

What makes assault charges so difficult to resolve is that Connecticut prosecutors are required to contact all victims of crimes prior to resolution.  Crime victims have a right to appear in court to object to any disposition and/or are allow to be heard before sentencing.  The New Haven Criminal Court is a complex and busy court.  It is one of the busiest in the state.  It is imperative that a person charged with a crime in the New Haven Criminal court hire an experienced attorney to make sure you get the best possible resolution for your case.

All Assault cases are treated very seriously in the New Haven Criminal Courts.