When a person is accused of causing physical harm to another person, she or he may be charged with assault. Colorado recognizes three different levels of assault charges, with first degree assault being the most serious and third degree assault carrying the fewest penalties.
Regardless of the type of assault charge you are facing, it is important to recognize that any criminal conviction can impact your life immensely. Not only can you be required to serve time in prison and to pay a substantial penalty, but you can also face difficulties once you have served your sentence. For example, you may have difficulty renting a home, obtaining credit, or even being eligible for certain jobs.
If you are facing assault charges, it is extremely important to get in touch with a Colorado assault defense lawyer as soon as possible to begin working on your defense.
Understanding the Types of Assault Charges Under Colorado Law
Under Colorado law, there are three degrees of assault:
- 1st degree assault (Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-3-202);
- 2nd degree assault (Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-3-203); and
- 3rd degree assault (Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-3-204).
Each involves causing bodily injury to another person, but the severity of the charge depends on several different factors. First degree assault is the most serious of the three charges, while third degree assault is the least serious of the three charges.
Generally speaking, the degree of the assault depends upon the answer to some of the following questions:
- Did you intend to commit the assault?
- Did you use a deadly weapon in committing the assault?
- How serious was the injury (or risk of injury) to the alleged victim?
- Was the victim someone who receives special protection (in the role of a peace officer, firefighter, emergency medical provider, judge, or detention facility employee) at the time of the offense?
First degree assault typically requires intent to commit assault and bodily injury to another person, while both second degree assault and third degree assault can involve reckless behavior in which a person causes bodily injury to another person with or without the use of a deadly weapon.
Penalties for Assault in Colorado
If you are convicted of assault, you can face serious penalties depending upon the degree of the assault charge. The following are the penalties for the different levels of assault charges.
First degree assault in Colorado (felony offense):
- Up to 24 years in prison; and/or
- Fine of up to $750,000.
Second degree assault in Colorado (felony offense):
- Up to 12 years in prison; and/or
- Fine of up to $500,000.
Third degree assault in Colorado (misdemeanor offense):
- Up to 6 months in prison.
Defenses to Assault Charges in Colorado
A criminal defense lawyer can help you to build the strongest defense in your case. Common defenses to assault charges include but are not limited to:
- Self defense;
- Defense of another person;
- Duress, meaning that you were forced to commit the assault by another party;
- Actions were morally or ethically justifiable; and
- Lack of intent (especially in first degree assault charges).
A Colorado Assault Defense Attorney Can Help With Your Case
If you are facing assault charges in Colorado, you should seek advice from a Colorado assault defense attorney as soon as possible. A dedicated advocate at our firm can get started on your case as soon as you reach out to us. Contact Miller Leonard, PC for more information about the services we provide to people who are facing assault and other criminal charges in Colorado.