The state of Connecticut has three different Assault statutes, classified by degree. Assault in the First Degree is the most serious and is a Class B felony. Assault in the Second Degree is a Class D felony and Assault in the Third Degree is an A misdemeanor.
Can I be charged with Assault in the Second Degree?
Pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-60, you can be charged with Assault in the Second Degree for any of the following acts:
- With intent to cause serious physical injury to another person, you cause such injury to such person or another; or
- With intent to cause physical injury to another person, you cause such injury to such person or another using a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument other by discharging a firearm; or
- You recklessly cause serious physical injury to another person with a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument; or
- For a purpose other than lawful medical or therapeutic treatment, you intentionally cause 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; or
- You are a parolee from a correctional institution and with intent to cause physical injury to an employee or member of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, you cause physical injury to such employee or member; or
- With intent to cause serious physical injury to another person by rendering such other person unconscious, and without provocation by such other person, you cause such injury to such other person by striking such other person on the head; or
- With intent to cause physical injury to another person, you cause such injury by striking or kicking that person in the head while he or she is lying down.
Assault in the Second Degree and Domestic Violence
In some cases, you can be charged with Assault in the Second Degree for a domestic violence, or family violence, incident. Domestic or family violence crimes are acts that result in physical harm, bodily injury or assault, or a threat of violence that causes fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault to a family or household member.
Connecticut defines family or household member to include any of the following persons regardless of their age:
- Spouse or former spouse
- Parents or their children
- Persons related by blood or marriage
- Persons other than those related by blood or marriage but who presently reside together or have resided together (e.g.; roommates)
- Persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have ever been married or lived together
- Persons who are currently in or who have recently been in a dating relationship
Assault in the Second Degree with a Firearm
Pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 53-60a, you can be charged with Assault in the Second Degree with a Firearm if you use or are armed with and threaten the use of or display or represent by words or conduct that you possess a pistol, revolver, machine gun, shotgun, rifle or other firearm.
Assault in the Second Degree with a Motor Vehicle
Pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-60d, you can be charged with Assault in the Second Degree with a Motor Vehicle by operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, drugs (or both) and causing serious physical injury to another person as a result of the effect of the alcohol and/or drug.
How does the Court define Serious Physical Injury?
Physical injury is defined under Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-3 as impairment of physical condition or pain.
Serious physical injury is defined as physical injury that:
- creates a substantial risk of death, causes serious disfigurement, serious impairment of health, or serious loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ
- results in a loss of consciousness
- results in a loss of body parts
- Whether an injury constitutes a serious physical injury is a fact-intensive inquiry and is a question for a jury.
Note: It is entirely possible to cause serious physical injury, as an element of Assault in the Second Degree, without causing disfigurement or a permanent injury.
What is the definition of a Deadly Weapon?
A deadly weapon is also defined in Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-3 and includes:
- any weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, from which a shot can be fired
- switchblade knife
- gravity knife
- billy or blackjack club
- metal knuckles
What is the definition of a Dangerous Instrument?
A dangerous instrument is defined in Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-3 as any instrument, article, or substance that is used, attempted or threatened to be used that can cause death or serious physical injury.
Note: For an item to constitute a “dangerous instrument” for purposes of Assault in the Second Degree, it is enough that a defendant used the item in a manner that created the potential for causing serious bodily injury, whether or not the item actually caused serious injury. Under this definition, almost anything can be considered a dangerous instrument depending on the circumstances under which it was used.
The following items have been found to be dangerous instruments:
- metal chair
- aerosol spray
- clothing iron
How can someone prove that I intended to hurt anyone?
Assault in the second degree is a specific intent crime; this means that under certain circumstances the state has to prove you intended to perform a certain act and to achieve a particular result when committing that act. A person acts with the requisite intent under the Assault in the Second Degree statute when he or she intends to act with a “conscious objective” is to cause serious physical injury. Intent is usually proven through circumstantial evidence.
How is Recklessness defined?
Recklessness is defined under Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-3 as a state of mind in which the actor is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and justifiable risk that a dangerous event will occur. Whether someone acts recklessly is evaluated based on a reasonable person standard. A reasonable person standard refers to whether a reasonable person would have acted the same way in that situation.
Recklessness can be found when a person knowingly and consciously puts another person at risk or in danger.
Þ For example, a defendant who pointed a knife toward the victim level with the victim’s heart as they engaged in a verbal and physical argument was found to have acted recklessly in causing victim’s injuries and committed Assault in the Second Degree.
Penalties for Assault in the Second Degree
If you are convicted of Assault in the Second Degree you face any or all of the following penalties:
- Up to five years’ imprisonment
Note: For a conviction of Assault in the Second Degree with a Firearm, you face a mandatory minimum of one year in jail. That means the judge cannot sentence you to less than a year in jail.
If the victim is elderly, blind, intellectually or physically disabled, or pregnant you face a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in jail.
If you used a firearm when committing this offense, you face a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in jail.
- Fines of up to $5,000
- If you are convicted of Assault in the Second Degree with a motor vehicle, your license will be suspended for one year and, after restoration of privileges, for the following two years you can only drive a motor vehicle equipped with an approved ignition interlock device (IID).
How can my Attorney help with my 2nd Degree Assault charge?
An experienced attorney will make sure you understand the possible penalties and how to best protect your rights if you are charged with Assault in the Second Degree. Your attorney will review the police report and the charges against you and will conduct his or her own investigation to build a defense or mitigate the charges. Your attorney will also help you preserve and gather information as part of your defense.
Your attorney can recommend counseling or treatment that will help address any underlying issues that led to your arrest. Such treatment could include counseling or anger management courses. Successful completion of these programs may result in reduction of the charges against you, a sentence of probation instead of prison and sometimes even a dismissal of the charges.