Assault on a Pregnant, Elderly or Disabled Person
The best Stamford criminal defense attorneys would agree that any allegation involving an assault upon a pregnant person, an elderly person over the age or 60 or a blind or disabled person is a very serious criminal offense. This crime is a sentencing enhancement statute for assault crimes committed against individuals that fall within the protected class of parties which the statute is designed to protect. This enhancement requires a mandatory minimum jail sentence when you commit an assault upon a person who falls within the protected class of class of victims. The minimum mandatory sentences range from one year on a charge of assault in the 3rd degree to 5 years mandatory minimum on a charge of assault in the 1st degree.
These offenses are prosecuted very zealously by the Connecticut State’s Attorneys and taken very seriously by Connecticut Judges. When the alleged assault is made upon a pregnant person, an elderly person or a disabled person you face a mandatory minimum one year in jail if you are convicted. In addition a conviction of this type of offense would have significant collateral consequences and a huge negative impact upon your reputation and ability to seek employment. It is very common for local arrest details to be posted on line either on the “patch” or in local newspapers. An arrest for assaulting a pregnant person or an elderly or disabled person is certainly not what you want showing up when potential employers perform a google search of your name. If you have been arrested for assaulting a pregnant woman, elderly person or disabled person contact an experienced Stamford criminal defense attorney today to protect your liberty and defend your rights. At the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman we have empathy and compassion for the unfortunate position you facing. We understand that you have many unanswered questions, a lot of stress and confusion about the Court process and we are here to answer your questions and make the process as stress free as possible.What Types of Victims Does the Sentencing Enhancement Protect?
There are three separate statutes which make up this sentencing enhancement one for assault 3rd crimes – C.G.S. Section 53a-61a; one for assault 2nd crimes C.G.S. Section 53a-60b and finally one for assault in the first degree C.G.A. Section 53a-59a. Each of these sentencing enhancements protects the same group of victims from assaults:
- Victim is a pregnant woman
- Victim is over 60 years old
- Victim is blind or disabled
- Victim has an intellectual disability and the actor does not have an intellectual disability
Although the Police can charge you on the same information with both the regular assault and the enhanced assault on an elderly or pregnant victim and the State’s Attorney can prosecute you for both you can NOT be convicted for both offenses. The reasoning here is that in the event that the proof of the crime does not establish a conviction for the enhanced penalty statute that way they can still convict you of the regular assault. However, in establishing the mandatory minimum jail sentences the Legislature did not intend to double up the penalties in other words enable the Police to convict you for two assaults for one crime. So in drafting the sentencing enhancement the Legislature expressly stated that you can’t be convicted for both the sentencing enhancement and the underlying assault charge.Affirmative Defenses Based Upon Lack of Knowledge
The legislature provided two affirmative defenses to the sentencing enhancement. If you did not know that the victim was pregnant at the time of the assault then you can’t be found guilty of the sentencing enhancement of assault on a pregnant victim. Similarly if you did not know that the victim was a person with an intellectual disability then you can’t be found guilty of the sentencing enhancement of assault on a person with an intellectual disability. It should be noted that there is no affirmative defense provided for lack of knowledge about the age of a victim or the fact that a victim was disabled or blind. Presumably, the legislature in drafting the statute is drawing the distinction that often it is more difficult to determine if someone is pregnant or not – particularly in the early stages of the pregnancy and also it may be very difficult upon observation to ascertain that someone has an intellectual disability.Penalties
The sentencing enhancement for assault on a blind, pregnant, disabled or a person with an intellectual disability are as follows:
- For assault in the 3rd degree – per C.G.S. Section 53-61a – one year mandatory minimum in jail.
- For assault in the 2nd degree – per C.G.S. Section 53a-60b – up for 5 years in jail two years of which is a mandatory minimum jail term.
- For assault in the 1st degree – per C.G.S. Section 53a-59a – up to 20 years in jail 5 years of which is a mandatory minimum jail term.
Most top Stamford criminal defense attorneys would agree that these type of assault charges most typically arise in domestic violence situations. However, we have seen many cases of people arrested for assaulting pregnant of elderly people in nondomestic violence situations as well. If you are have been arrested for one of these serious crimes you should immediately hire an experienced Stamford criminal defense lawyer to begin planning your defense as soon as possible. Often as time passes, then important witnesses who may have observed the alleged attack may start to forget important exculpatory details regarding in the crime. If there is any video surveillance footage which proves your innocence it may be necessary to take immediate action to file motions to obtain and preserve video footage before it is erased. The Police and State’s Attorney have a head start because they have been already working on building a strong case against you before charges were even brought against you. The State has been working on its case by interviewing witness, obtaining medical reports regarding the victim’s injuries and documenting the injuries sustained by the victim by taking photos. In order to defend your liberty and develop the strongest defense strategy you need to act quickly to start preserving evidence that supports your defense before it disappears. In every criminal allegation we start with a very through detailed free initial free initial consultation in which we go over all the details of your alleged crime, any possible defense strategies that may apply, review the client’s criminal history, (if any) and get to know the client on a personal basis. The next step is to carefully review the Police reports and all of the State’s evidence against you which may include witness statements and medical reports documenting the victim’s injuries. In many cases hasty Police work leads to the violation of your Constitutional rights. If for example statements were coerced by Police without reading you your rights we may be able to suppress these statements or admissions on the basis that your Constitutional rights have been violated.Intent Required as Element in Many Assault Crimes
Most of the sub sections of the assault statutes require the proof of a mental intention to commit an assault. As with any criminal offense the State bears the burden of proof to prove beyond a reasonable doubt each and every element of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt. All of the separate degrees of assault each have their own individual elements which must be proven by the State in order to achieve a conviction. If your defense attorney can establish reasonable doubt as to one element of the crime then it will be enough to get an acquittal at a jury trial. The State has a very high threshold of proof to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused acted with an intention to cause an injury. There is no substitute for hard work and carefully going over every detail of the case with a fine tooth comb to spot any inconsistencies in the statements of the witnesses and any holes in the prosecution’s case.Self Defense
Self-defense is often a reason for a physical confrontation. Often victims who were the original aggressor will lie to the Police and claim that they were attacked first. In cases where there were no eye witnesses it can come down to a he said she said scenario. No matter what the fact pattern of your particular assault case, self-defense is a defense to an assault arrest. You have the absolute right to defend yourself a physical attack. If we can prove that the victim was the initial aggressor then under the doctrine of self-defense any actions you took in self-defense may be legally justified. In most cases the best proof of self-defense would be an eye witness of the incident who is willing to testify that the victim attacked you first.Alibi Defense
Using an alibi defense to a charge of assault is essentially claiming that you could not have possibly been the attacker because we have conclusive proof that you were in another location at the time of the attack. This kind of defense is a variety of mistaken identity, meaning that the Police have arrested the wrong person. In order to prove this kind of defense the best evidence is electronic surveillance evidence, however, cell phone records, credit card records, eye witness statements and ez-pass toll records are also useful.Accelerated Rehabilitation Program
Connecticut has been very active in creating a whole series of diversionary programs which may be available to use which could result in a complete dismissal of the charges against you. The accelerated rehabilitation Program is the most common of the diversionary programs. This program is very straightforward. One problem with these kind of charges is that the Court must find that the crime is “not so serious.” This may present a problem where an assault was alleged to have occurred on a pregnant, elderly or disabled person. Obviously, having a skilled Stamford criminal defense attorney who is able to put a favorable spin on the situation and present arguments of mitigation is essential to getting your application approved. In cases involving these kind of allegations which involve assaults on pregnant or elderly victims, getting an accelerated rehabilitation program granted is going to take some advance planning and preparation. It is always a good idea to make any restitution claimed by the victim up front for out of pocket unreimbursed medical expenses (if any) incurred. A through lawyer will work with you to prepare a mitigation package consisting of letters of reference; school transcripts; employment records and other information attesting to your good character to present to the Court. The final and most important part of getting the accelerated rehabilitation program granted is the persuasive oral argument which an Stamford criminal defense lawyer will present to the Court on your behalf to put the most positive light on the situation and convince the Court why you are a good candidate for the program.Let Us Fight your Assault on a Pregnant or Elderly Person Charge!
We provide free initial case consultations. We have 25 years of experience defending assault charges throughout Fairfield County and the State of Connecticut. We will carefully listen to all the facts of your case and aggressively defend your rights and freedom. In many cases, working with an experienced Stamford criminal defense lawyer can make the difference in having your case dismissed or reduced down to a lesser charge.
If you have been arrested for assault, Stamford, New Canaan, Norwalk, Fairfield, Darien, Wilton, Westport, Cos Cob, Weston, Greenwich, Bridgeport and throughout the County of Fairfield do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman. Our rates are reasonable and we offer payments plans as needed. We accept all major credit cards. Call Attorney Friedman at 203.515.4110 to schedule your free initial consultation we are available 24/7. Or you can contact us online for a prompt response.