FAIRFIELD — Karen Smith, 40, of Taunton Road, attacked her husband while he was sleeping last Friday night, punching him in the face and threatening him with a butcher knife, police said.

Smith was charged with third-degree assault, second-degree threatening and disorderly conduct, and sent to St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport for evaluation.

Police said Smith called them to the house around 11:30 p.m. Friday, saying she and her husband had been arguing and she wanted to make sure their children were safe.

When officers arrived, they said Smith's husband was bleeding from the mouth, which Karen Smith told officers was the result of a fall three days earlier. Later, they said, she admitted to hitting her husband with her fists. She also allegedly admitted to holding a butcher knife, but said she did it solely to intimidate her husband because he is bigger than she is.

The husband told police he was sleeping in a spare bedroom with his 8-year-old daughter when he awoke to find Smith on top of him, hitting him in the face. He said she then got the knife, but he was able to wrestle it away from her in the hallway. Police said the daughter confirmed the victim's story.

During questioning, police said, Smith kept changing the subject, and refused to elaborate on why she was arguing with her husband. According to the report, she appeared to be intoxicated.

Smith also was arrested last December when she allegedly tried to take another woman's purse and license plate. The victim said she was low on gas and had stopped to get directions to a gas station when Smith came to her car and tried to rip off her license plate and reached in the car to try to take her purse. Smith said she suspected the woman of having an affair with her husband and wanted to get her license plate number and identification.

Smith was scheduled to appear Tuesday at state Superior Court in Bridgeport.