If you have been charged with Assault in the Third Degree or have any questions about assault charges in Connecticut, contact the law offices of Koffsky & Felsen, LLC at 203-327-1500. Attorneys Audrey Felsen and Bruce Koffsky have over 50 years of combined experience in handling assault and domestic violence cases. At Koffsky & Felsen, LLC our attorneys work closely with our clients to ensure the best possible outcome.
Here’s what you need to know about 3rd Degree Assault charges in Connecticut:
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.
How Can I be found guilty of Assault in the Third Degree in Connecticut?
Pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-61, you can be found guilty of Assault in the Third Degree if you commit the following conduct:
- With intent to cause physical injury, you injure that person or another;
- You recklessly cause serious physical injury to another person; or
- With criminal negligence, you cause physical injury to another person with a deadly weapon, dangerous instrument or electronic defense weapon.
Assault in the Third Degree and Domestic Violence
In some cases, you can be charged with Assault in the Third 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
How does the Court define Physical Injury?
Physical injury is defined under Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-3 as impairment of physical condition or pain.
How does the Court define Serious Physical Injury?
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; or
- results in a loss of body parts
Whether an injury constitutes a serious physical injury is a fact-intensive inquiry and, therefore, a question for a jury.
How is Criminal Negligence defined?
Under Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-3, a person acts with criminal negligence with respect to a result or circumstance when he or she fails to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a result will occur or that a circumstance exists.
Note: Criminal Negligence is judged by a reasonable person standard where the risk must be of such nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from a reasonable person’s standard of care.
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 Third 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.
Important: 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
What is an Electronic Defense Weapon?
Connecticut law defines an electronic defense weapon is a device that can temporarily immobilize someone with an electronic impulse or current and is capable of inflicting serious physical injury. Stun guns and tasers are the most common electronic defense weapons.
Note: Electronic defense weapons can be considered deadly weapons or dangerous instruments depending on the situation in which they were used.
Penalties for Assault in the Third Degree
Assault in the Third Degree is a Class A misdemeanor. If you are convicted, you face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
If you committed Assault in the Third Degree by the criminally negligent use of a deadly weapon, dangerous instrument or electronic defense weapon in causing physical injury to someone, you face a minimum of one year in jail.
How can my Attorney help?
While every case is different, there are ways to resolve your criminal case without you having a criminal record. Your attorney will work with you to help you resolve any underlying issues that led to your arrest, and gather all relevant information to have productive pretrial meetings with the prosecutor.
An arrest for Assault in the Third Degree can be considered a family violence, or domestic violence crime, and if so, your case will be handled on a family docket. If your case involves family violence or is considered a domestic assault, your attorney can help you address any protective orders or other restrictions that you may face as a result of your arrest.
You may be eligible for a diversionary program if you are charged with Assault in the Third Degree. If you participate in and successfully complete a diversionary program, such as the Family Violence Education Program (FVEP) or Accelerated Rehabilitation Program (AR), the judge will dismiss the charges against you after you successfully complete a probationary period. Having your case dismissed will protect your record. Having a clean criminal record is important when applying for employment or when undergoing a background check for educational purposes.