Criminal charges for assault are taken extremely serious in Colorado, and individuals could face harsh consequences if convicted. Colorado has a violent crime enhancement for offenses (hint: this includes assault) that allows for more severe penalties to be imposed. You do not need to fight assault charges alone. Let a mountain communities assault lawyer assist you with your case if you have been charged with a criminal offense.
Our attorneys at Nicol Gersch Petterson can protect your best interests and safeguard your legal rights. A skilled criminal defense attorney could also prepare a strategy for defending you against the charges and will work hard to secure the best result possible for your situation.
Individuals who have been charged with assault could be charged in the first, second, or third degree. Both first and second-degree assault is considered a felony in Colorado, but third-degree assault is a misdemeanor.
First-degree assault is the most serious charge and involves intentionally causing serious bodily injury to another individual with a deadly weapon. Serious bodily injury–or what we call SBI–is defined as an injury that involves severe risk of death, permanent disfigurement, protracted loss or impairment.
First-degree assault generally requires intent to cause SBI, or at least “extreme indifference to the value of human life.” First-degree assault is charged often when there is a good chance of death due to the alleged conduct. For more on first-degree assault, check out CRS 18-3-202.
Second-degree assault generally involves intentionally causing any bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon (note not serious bodily injury), or recklessly causing serious bodily injury with a deadly weapon. To be reckless with a deadly weapon, such a person need only take an unnecessary risk with the weapon that puts someone else in danger. However, second-degree assault also includes intentionally interfering with an EMT, cop, firefighter, etc. and causing injury or SBI in the process. Drugging someone or strangling them constitutes second-degree assault, as does fighting with a government agent while in custody.
There are a LOT of ways to commit second-degree assault in Colorado, but by far, the most common we see is causing injury with a deadly weapon. To find out what else might constitute second-degree assault, we recommend reading CRS 18-3-203 here.
Third-degree assault involves causing bodily injury to another person through recklessness or criminal negligence (i.e. without explicitly intending the harm/injury). Also, individuals may commit third-degree assault if they intentionally throw bodily fluids, or hazardous materials at a police officer, firefighter, or medical care provider without the intent to infect them with anything (if there is an actual communicable disease that the individual is trying to expose someone to intentionally–then that becomes second-degree assault). Third-degree assault is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor.
A knowledgeable mountain communities assault lawyer could answer your questions about the differences between first, second, and third-degree assault offenses, whether the DA can prove each element necessary to charge you with the higher offenses, and how good mitigation and defense strategy could affect your case.
The consequences of a conviction for assault depends on the severity of the crime. Based on the classification of assault, individuals could face serious prison sentences and hefty fines.
Assault in the first degree is considered Class 3 felonies. Under the law, the penalty for Class 3 felonies usually is a prison term of four to 12 years and a possible fine. However, Colorado’s violent crime enhancement raises the penalty for assault in the first degree, which carries a prison term of up to 32 years. The violent crime enhancement authorizes the courts to impose more severe sanctions for criminal offenses involving violence.
Assault offenses in the second degree are Class 4 felonies punishable by a prison term of 2 to 6 years in jail and a major fine. However, if a deadly weapon is used, the sentence can be increased up to 16 years in prison under Colorado’s violent crime enhancement.
Assault offenses in the third degree are Class 1 misdemeanors punishable by a jail term of 6 to 18 months. A fine between $500 and $5,000 could also be imposed for convictions of assault in the third degree. An assault lawyer within the mountain communities or throughout Colorado could answer your questions about the penalties for different degrees of assault.
A person could also be charged with vehicular assault. Vehicular assault involves causing serious bodily injury to another person as a result of operating a motor vehicle in a reckless manner, which could include driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A diligent assault attorney could explain vehicular assault laws in greater detail.
You are not alone in dealing with assault charges. A mountain communities assault lawyer could be on your side, advocating for you and your best interests. A skilled attorney can advocate on your behalf and help you build a strong legal defense to the charges you are facing.
Let Justie and Jenn help you fight the charges and get justice for you today!