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One man threatening another with assault

Hartford Criminal Assault Defense Lawyers

Protecting the rights of the accused throughout Connecticut

Convictions for a felony or misdemeanor in Connecticut are severe. A conviction could mean imprisonment, especially if it is a crime such as assault. Convictions mean large fines. You may be ordered to pay for any medical treatment the victim needs. There are also secondary consequences. You may have a hard time finding a job or a place to live if an employer or apartment owner runs a background check.

At Barry, Barall, Taylor & Levesque, LLC, our Hartford criminal defense lawyers have been fighting for the accused for 20 years. We represent you through all stages of the criminal process including the arrest, bail hearing, preliminary hearing, suppression motions, plea negotiations, and trial. We fight aggressively to have the charges dismissed, to obtain acquittals, and to negotiate just plea bargains. We handle every type of assault charge including 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-degree assault. Our lawyers understand the defenses that can help you keep your freedom.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Hartford assault crimes

What are the types of assault crimes in Hartford, Connecticut?

The essence of an assault charge is that you physically injure, or try to injure, someone. Connecticut defines assault offenses as follows:

  • Section 53a-59. Assault in the first degree. This crime is a class B felony. The elements of the crime are:
    • Intent to cause serious physical injury to someone, causing injury to that person or a third person, and using a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
    • Intent to disfigure someone seriously and permanently, or to destroy, amputate, or permanently disable a “member or organ of his body,” and causing such injury to the person or a third person.
    • Exercising extreme indifference to human life and “recklessly engag[ing] in conduct which creates a risk of death to another person, and thereby causes serious physical injury to another person.”
    • Intent to cause serious physical injury to another person – and causing such injury to the person or a third person – while aided by two or more other people.
    • Intent to cause physical injury to another person and causing such injury to such person or to a third person – by using a firearm.

The penalties for a Class B felony will include imprisonment for five to 20 years. The maximum fine is $15,000.

  • Section 53a-60. Assault in the second degree. This crime is a Class C or a Class D felony, depending. The elements of this offense include:
    • Intent to cause serious physical injury to a person, and causing such injury to the person or a third person.
    • Intent to cause physical injury to a person, causing such injury to the person or a third person, by use of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument (not including a firearm discharge).
    • Recklessly causing serious physical injury by use of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
    • For a purpose other than lawful medical or therapeutic treatment, the actor intentionally causes stupor, unconsciousness or other physical impairment or injury to another person by administering to such person, without his consent, a drug, substance or preparation capable of producing the same.”
    • The defendant is a parolee and with intent to cause physical injury to someone who works for the Board of Pardons and Paroles, and does cause physical injury to that employee or member.
    • Intent to cause serious physical injury – by “rendering such person unconscious,” and without provocation by the other person – causes such injury to that person by striking the intended person on the head.
    • With intent to cause physical injury to another person, the defendant causes such injury by “striking or kicking such person in the head while such person is in a lying position.”

This crime is a class D felony unless someone is seriously physically injured – in which event, the crime is a Class C felony. The penalties for a Class D felony are one to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. If a gun is involved, the defendant must serve at least one year in prison.

  • 53a-61. Assault in the third degree. This crime is a Class A misdemeanor. The elements of the crime are:
    • Intent to cause physical injury to a person, and causing injury to that person or a third person.
    • Recklessly causing physical injury to another person.
    • Causing physical injury to another person (with criminal negligence) by use of a deadly weapon, a dangerous instrument, or an electronic defense weapon.

If convicted of the Class A misdemeanor, you can be sentenced up to one year. The sentence cannot be suspended or reduced. You can be fined up to $2,000.

  • 53a-60d. Assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle. This offense is a Class D felony. The elements of this offense apply if a person while “operating a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or both, causes serious physical injury to another person as a consequence of the effect of such liquor or drug.”

If convicted, the defendant’s motor vehicle license will be suspended for one year. The defendant will need to install and use an interlock ignition device for two years.

Assault charges can come from barroom brawls, fist fights, and road rage. They can also include deliberate attacks with a weapon. Some of the key factors include whether the conduct was intentional or just negligent, the severity of the victim’s injuries, and whether a weapon was used. They may include who the victim was, as assaults on certain individuals, like police or civil servants, are categorized differently.

Penalties for repeat offenders

If you have been convicted of assault before, the penalties may increase dramatically. For example, if you have a previous conviction for assault with a deadly weapon and are convicted of assault in the first degree again, your minimum sentence will be 10 years.

What factors may result in an increase in penalties for an assault offense in Hartford?

Increases in penalties may apply if the assault involves a victim who is any of the following:

  • Less than 10 years of age
  • Elderly
  • Physically disabled
  • Mentally disabled
  • Blind
  • Pregnant

Defendants may also be charged with family violence offenses if the victim is a relative, spouse, in-law, roommate, or someone the defendant dated or is dating.

What defenses can be asserted in Hartford assault cases?

Our experienced Hartford defense lawyers assert every legal and factual defense possible:

  • We question the credibility of the “victim.” How long did it take for the victim to report? Did he or she attempt to “blackmail” you with a threat of an assault accusation? Has the alleged victim engaged in dangerous behavior before, or filed false claims? Does this person have anything to gain by accusing you?
  • We argue self-defense. If the alleged victim threw the first punch, entered your property illegally, or otherwise engaged in behaviors which led you to believe you were threatened, we can argue that you acted in self-defense. We often claim that the defendant encouraged or provoked the attack, leading you to protect yourself.
  • We argue the assault was made under duress. Was your home in danger? Your spouse? Your children? Were you behaving in a way that is unnatural to you, or in a way that your friends and loved ones would find strange or suspicious? Were you being held against your will? Were you under the influence of a prescribed medication with known side effects? Any of these factors could be relevant.
  • The fight was planned/consensual between you and the other party. Another common argument we raise is that the assault was part of a consensual fight. When fights are involved, we argue that the charges should be dropped or reduced to less serious charges.

A strong legal defense includes holding the prosecution to its burden to prove each element of an offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Many times, the prosecution can show there was an injury, but they can’t prove “intent.” When there are injuries, we often argue that the injuries were accidental, and therefore not applicable in an assault charge. We seek to suppress any evidence obtained in violation of your Constitutional rights.

Will I automatically go to prison for an assault conviction in Hartford, CT?

Generally, because assault involves violence, there are no alternatives to being tried for assault offenses. Some offenses require mandatory imprisonment, based on sentencing guidelines.

However, there may be alternatives to incarceration for some assault crimes depending on the circumstances. In some cases, the judge may approve substance abuse treatments, anger management classes, and therapy. If you are a first-time offender accused of a misdemeanor assault crime, you could be eligible for pre-trial diversion. If the charges against you involve domestic violence, then you may be able to enter the Family Violence Education Program rather than go to prison. If you successfully complete the program, your case can be dismissed entirely. If your child is accused of an assault crime, there may be alternatives available to him or her as a “youthful offender.” Our skilled Hartford defense lawyers will explain if these options are available for your personal situation.

Strong protection for defendants charged with assault offenses in Hartford

At Barry, Barall, Taylor & Levesque, LLC, our defense lawyers understand how frightened defendants are. Your freedom and reputation are at stake. In assault cases, there are often circumstances that help either justify your actions or reduce the severity of your actions. We move quickly to assert your rights and preserve your defenses. We are experienced at negotiating with prosecutors and arguing criminal cases before a jury. You can reach us by calling 860-649-4400 or filling out our contact form.