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C.G.S. § 53a-60 – Assault in the Second Degree

Assault in the Second Degree Assault in the second degree is a serious criminal offense. This crime is widely known as an "aggravated assault" in other states, Connecticut does not have a crime of "aggravated assault." In Connecticut, an assault in the second degree or an assault in the first degree would be considered aggravated assaults. Since assault in the second degree is either charged as a Class D or a Class C felony you need to take this allegation very seriously.

You can be charged with this offense under numerous situations. The two most common instances of assault in the second degree involve either a violent physical attack that caused a serious physical injury or causing any injury with a deadly weapon or dangerous weapon.

As with all other degrees of assault, assault in the second degree can be charged as a domestic violence crime depending on the relationship between the victim and the alleged victim. This can be of particular importance for first time offenders as those charged with the Class C felony level assault in the second degree would not be eligible to apply for the family violence education program while those charged as a Class D felony would be eligible for that program if they could establish “good cause” why the program should be granted.

Elements of the Crime Which Must be Proven by The State

To be convicted of assault in the second degree in violation of C.G.S. § 53a-60, the state’s attorney must prove these elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt:

There are five different situations under which you can be charged with an assault in the second degree.

Situation 1 – Serious physical injury - Intentional action

  1. The accused acted intentionally to cause a serious physical injury; and
  2. The accused caused a serious physical injury to the victim

Situation 2 – Deadly or dangerous weapon – Injury

  1. The accused acted with intent to cause an injury; and
  2. The injury, however slight, was caused by a deadly or dangerous weapon, other than a firearm.

Situation 3 – Serious physical injury – Recklessness – Use of a dangerous or deadly weapon

  1. The accused acted with recklessness; and
  2. The accused caused an injury to the victim; and
  3. The injury, however slight, was caused by a deadly or dangerous weapon.

Situation 4 – Serious physical injury – Intent – Striking in the head

  1. The accused acted intentionally; and
  2. The accused intended to cause serious physical injury by rendering the victim unconscious; and
  3. The attack was unprovoked; and
  4. The accused caused such injury by striking the victim on the head.

Situation 5 – Physical injury – Intent – Striking or kicking in the head while in lying position

  1. The accused acted intentionally; and
  2. The accused struck or kicked the victim in the head while the victim was in a lying position; and
  3. The victim suffered an injury.
Examples

A man is in a heated argument with another man and intentionally punches the other man in the face breaking his nose and eye socket. The victim requires numerous surgical procedures to treat his injuries. He could be charged with assault in the second degree in violation of C.G.S. § 53a-60 because the attack was intentional and caused a serious physical injury. In this case the crime would be charged as a Class C felony as the victim suffered a serious physical injury. C.G.S. § 53a-60(a)(1).

A man gets into an argument with his wife over unpaid bills and picks up a bottle of wine and hits her it the head. Although the wife’s injuries are not serious the man could be charged with assault in the second degree in violation of C.G.S. § 53a-60 because under these circumstances the bottle of wine would be treated as a dangerous instrument which caused an injury. Because the injury was not a serious physical injury this crime would be charged as a Class D felony. C.G.S. § 53a-60(a)(2). Due to the relationship between the parties this crime would be classified as a domestic violence crime.

Same facts as above only the woman is five months pregnant. The man could be charged with assault on a pregnant person in the second degree in violation of C.G.S. § 53a-60b and face a mandatory minimum two year in jail.

Related Offenses Defenses to Assault in the Second Degree

While assault in the second degree in violation of C.G.S. § 53a-6o is a serious felony level offense, there are a lot of prosecutorial burdens that make this a challenging case for the state’s attorney to prove in court. As with any other criminal charge the state has to prove each an every element of the case beyond a reasonable doubt. In most situations assault in the second degree requires that the state prove the accused acted with the intent to cause a serious physical injury. In defending an assault in the second degree case often the first approach is to prove that the accused did not act intentionally. Doing something accidentally, or even recklessly is not a violation of C.G.S. § 53a-6o unless the actor was using a dangerous instrument or weapon and acting recklessly. Mere negligence can never constitute assault in the second degree.

Another issue that commonly comes up in the defense of assault in the second degree cases is when the police claim that the victim suffered a serious physical injury. Often the police do not understand that the term serious physical injury is defined by statute in C.G.S. § 53a-3(4) which defines a serious physical injury as an injury that either causes a serious risk of death; permanent disfigurement or serious impairment of health or an organ. Having a really bad looking black eye for example is not a “serious physical injury” and the accused should not be charged with an assault in the second degree for giving someone a black eye for example no matter how bad it looks. The state has the burden to prove that the alleged victim suffered a serious physical injury. Usually, even though the police may have charged the accused with assault in the second degree a skilled Connecticut criminal defense attorney can convince the state’s attorney to lower the charge to misdemeanor simple assault of assault in the third degree.

Self defense is always an issue in assault cases. Often these cases are he said/she said situations. If someone assaults you, you are allowed to use reasonable force to defend yourself. That use of force must be proportionate and reasonable for your self-protection. Additionally, in Connecticut you have an affirmative duty to exhaust all reasonable means, such a retreat, to avoid a physical confrontation.

As with other criminal offenses, first time offenders may be eligible for diversionary programs such as the accelerated rehabilitation program. Applying for a diversionary programs is not an admission of guilt. The successful completion of the diversionary program would result in a dismissal of the charges against you if you successfully complete the program. Those offenders charged as a domestic violence offense would use the family violence education program as the proper diversionary program. Since assault in the second degree C.G.S. § 53a-6o is a serious offense you should consult with an experienced Connecticut criminal defense lawyer to explore the suitability of using a diversionary program in your case.

Penalties

Assault in the second degree C.G.S. § 53a-60 can either be a Class D or a Class C felony depending on the level of injury to the victim. A Class D felony is punishable by up to 5 years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. A Class C felony is punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

In those situations where the victim was a pregnant, elderly or disabled person there is a two year mandatory minimum jail sentence pursuant to C.G.S. § 53a-60b.

Criminal Defense for Assault in the Second Degree

If you have been arrested for assault in the second degree in violation of C.G.S. § 53a-60, it is essential that you immediately speak with an aggressive and experienced Connecticut criminal defense attorney. Stamford criminal lawyer Allan F. Friedman has more than 25 years of experience in defending allegations of assault. Being arrested for a felony can be a frightening and terrifying experience. You need a tenacious and effective defend your rights and fight to obtain the best result possible.

For more information about defending assault in the second-degree charges, and to arrange a free consultation to review your case, contact Stamford criminal defense lawyer Allan F. Friedman at The Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman located at 24 Hoyt St #A, Stamford, CT 06905. Mr. Friedman can be reached 24/7 at (203) 357-5555, or you can contact us online for a prompt response.

Our office is conveniently located one block from the Stamford Courthouse.

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