If you have a history of anger issues or run-ins with assault, you need to do your best to prevent these types of altercations. Some ways that you can do this include:
- Identify your triggers: If you know that certain events cause you to become physically violent, avoid them at all costs. If you find yourself in a situation that is escalating, remove yourself from it.
- Diffuse the situation: Stay in touch with your emotions. Recognize when you are becoming angry, frustrated, or you feel threatened. If this starts to happen, remove yourself from the situation.
- Learn how to calm yourself: Use strategies that work for you in order to stop yourself from getting worked up and doing something that you will regret.
- Seek professional help: You can seek the help of a therapist or go to group meetings for people who struggle with anger issues in order to learn how to prevent further incidents.
Types of Assault
If you are charged with assault in Connecticut, it is important to know that there are three major types of assault in Connecticut. They include assault in the first, second, and third degree. While there are other types of assault, these are the ones that I will focus on here.
Third Degree Assault
This is the type of assault that Ray Rice was charged with. Of the three, it is the least serious, as it is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, and the other types of assault are considered felonies. Regardless, third degree assault carries penalties of up to $2,000 in fines and up to a year in prison. You are charged with third degree assault if:
- You cause bodily harm to someone with intent to hurt them.
- Serious injury to someone occurs as a result of your actions.
- You cause injury with a weapon (this is not a mandatory requirement for a third degree assault charge).
Second Degree Assault
Second degree assault is considered a felony, but it is a Class D felony, meaning it is less serious than first degree assault. The penalties for second degree assault include a fine of up to $5,000 and a 1-5 year prison sentence. You will be charged with second degree assault if you:
- Cause serious harm with intent.
- Use a deadly weapon (other than a firearm) to harm someone.
- Drug someone.
First Degree Assault
First degree assault is considered the most serious type of assault. It is classified as a Class B felony and the penalties can be as high as a $15,000 fine and 20 years in prison. Please note that in Connecticut, if you are convicted of first degree assault, you face a mandatory minimum of five years in prison. First degree assault carries such serious penalties because it involves:
- Injury caused by a gun or other weapon.
- Intent to cause serious bodily harm.
- Aggressive behavior that can result in death.
- Serious harm or disfigurement.
Ray Rice was actually charged with third degree aggravated assault. Any of these types of assault can be “aggravated” if the assault is considered serious. In light of video footage showing the altercation, it is clear that Rice attempted to cause serious harm to his wife given the force of his blow, his size, and her size. At least this is what the prosecution would try to prove.
Many assault defenses to assault of a protected person charges includes proving that you did not realize that the victim had a disability or pregnancy. If you didn’t know about these special circumstances and you can prove this in court, you might face different charges. They might reduce down to assault charges. This defense can be difficult to prove in court. So, it is in your best interest to hire a criminal defense lawyer who can assist you with your case.
Another common defense to assault is self defense. If you feel that you did not instigate the incident that you were involved in, or if you were provoked into action because you felt threatened, you can use self-defense as a legitimate excuse for your actions. To find out if self-defense is a viable defense in your situation, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer experienced with assault cases. They will be able to determine the facts of your case and how a judge or jury will view them.