Cases that allege assault in Fort Collins can be surprisingly complex. State law classifies three different versions of assault, each with their own definitions and potential penalties upon conviction. In addition, each classification comes with multiple ways in which a prosecutor may be able to prove an illegal act. As a result, people facing assault charges in Fort Collins need to give themselves the best available protection.
Hiring a proactive Fort Collins assault lawyer may be your first step towards a better outcome. A trustworthy criminal attorney from The Colorado Lawyer Team could help explain the law that controls your case, investigate the incident to obtain a full understanding of what happened, and present arguments before judges and juries that aim to protect your rights and freedoms.
Three Levels of Assault Charges Under State Law
No two assault cases in Fort Collins are exactly alike. Depending on the circumstances under which law enforcement made an arrest, prosecutors may file charges under one of three statutes for assault or other statutes depending upon the circumstances. The statute that they choose will determine what a prosecutor must prove at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.
Assault in the Third Degree
The simplest and least serious version of assault is an assault in the third degree. According to Colorado Revised Statute § 18-3-204, a prosecutor must prove that a defendant knowingly or recklessly caused bodily injury to another. Alternatively, prosecutors may allege that an individual caused harm to another through their criminal negligence in handling a deadly weapon. Finally, there is a section that addresses threatened or harassed first responders who come into contact with bodily fluid by intentional acts. As you can see, the law for simple assault is not simple to understand.
Convictions here are Class 1 misdemeanors. However, the law also classifies these cases as extraordinary risk crimes if the alleged victim fits into specific categories. This means that a conviction can bring a minimum jail term or increased penalties in addition to any fine that the court may order a defendant to pay.
Assault in the Second Degree
The next type of assault is an assault in the second degree. Under C.R.S. § 18-3-203, this charge covers cases where a defendant is alleged to have caused bodily injury or harm with a deadly weapon, caused harm to a police officer or firefighter, gives drugs to a person without consent, and various acts while in custody (in jail).
This allegation is a felony. The exact seriousness of the charge depends on the circumstances of the case. Regardless, a conviction here comes with enhanced penalties and ultimately may include a mandatory prison sentence.
Assault in the First Degree
The harshest form of an assault is an assault in the first degree. For an assault to qualify under this statute, the prosecution must prove a defendant intentionally caused serious bodily harm to another person with a deadly weapon, committed acts against first responders or other alleged serious acts involving weapons and serious bodily injury such as choking another person.
First degree assault is a felony. The most severe cases can result in a long mandatory prison sentence. An experienced Fort Collins assault attorney with The Colorado Lawyer Team is prepared to help people fight against these serious charges.
Reach Out to a Fort Collins Assault Lawyer to Build a Strong Defense
Every allegation involving assault in Fort Collins is a serious matter. Even a conviction for a third-degree level offense can bring a minimum jail sentence. Assault charges can have a lasting impact on your present and future.
Knowledgeable attorneys with The Colorado Lawyer Team could help you defend yourself against these significant accusations. We are ready to perform a full investigation into not only the incident but also the police work that led to your arrest. Contact our Fort Collins assault lawyers now so we can get to work helping you.