Assaulting another person can lead to serious consequences. Depending on the circumstances, you could be facing some lengthy prison time and fines. It could even result in a protective order, which is also known as a restraining order. If this happens, you will be limited on where you can go and who you can see based on the court order.
An assault charge doesn’t necessarily mean you seriously injured or maimed someone. Some people are charged with assault because they were inebriated, and their actions got out of hand. Others are charged with assault due to a simple misunderstanding. No matter the circumstances of the crime, it’s important you have legal counsel.
Assault Defense Attorney in El Paso County, CO
Harming another person could result in criminal charges. You might be charged with assault and face time behind bars. Thankfully, you have options. You can instead choose to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC and have a strong defense.
Call us now at (719) 328-1616 to set up a free consultation. We can overlook your case and chart out a plan to attack your charges. Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC accepts clients throughout the greater El Paso County area and surrounding counties including Denver County and Arapahoe County.
Overview of Assault in Colorado
- What is Assault in Colorado?
- Penalties for Assault in Colorado
- Self Defense
- Sudden Heat of Passion in Assault
- Additional Resources
What Constitutes as Assault in Colorado?
The crime of assault is categorized by severity into three degrees. Each type of assault has its own specific elements and penalties. The penalties may be lightened if you can prove certain mitigating factors existed such as a history of domestic violence or being in the heat of passion.
Third-Degree Assault in Colorado
The lightest charge out of the three is assault in the third degree. Third-degree assault is when:
- You recklessly, knowingly, or with criminal negligence cause bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon; or
- Cause a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical care provider to come into contact with bodily fluids or toxic substances for the sole purpose to annoy, threaten, or alarm them or someone else
The term “deadly weapon” is defined as:
- Any loaded or unloaded firearm; or
- Any other weapon that can be used to produce death or serious bodily injury
Criminal negligence is when you acted recklessly or failed to act at all in a situation with a substantial risk of death or injury. It’s only criminal negligence if the way you acted was out of the norm for a reasonable prudent person.
Second-Degree Assault in Colorado
Your charges could be enhanced to second-degree assault if you:
- Cause bodily injury or serious bodily injury to another person;
- Threaten a peace officer, firefighter, judge, emergency medical service personnel or a detention facility worker with intent to cause serious bodily injury;
- Intentionally cause bodily injury to an official as to prevent them from performing their lawful duties;
- Recklessly cause serious bodily injury with a deadly weapon;
- Drug another person without their consent;
- Violently apply physical force to a detention facility official while you are detained;
- Cause a detention facility official to come into contact with bodily fluid with the intent to infect, injure, harm, annoy, threaten or alarm that person while you’re detained;
- Cause a firefighter, peace officer, emergency medical care provider or judge to come into contact with hazardous materials such as blood, saliva or vomit for the purpose to alarm, annoy, harass, infect or injure them
A “detention facility” is any building or infrastructure used to lawfully hold people in custody who are under the authority of the state of Colorado. For example, a prison or a youth group house could be considered a detention facility. The term doesn’t just include buildings but also vehicles, such as prison transportation buses.
First-Degree Assault in Colorado
The highest assault charge is assault in the first degree. A first-degree assault conviction will likely result in a felony, meaning you could face prison. In Colorado, you’re guilty of first-degree assault if you:
- Intentionally caused serious bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon;
- Disfigure another person seriously and permanently;
- Destroy, amputate or disable permanently a body part or organ of another person;
- Due to an extreme indifference to the value of human life, you engage in conduct that created a grave risk of death to another and caused serious bodily injury to someone;
- Threaten one of the following people with a deadly weapon while they are performing their lawful duties:
- Emergency medical service personnel;
- Prison and juvenile detention workers
The term “serious bodily injury” is defined under Colorado law as any injury involving substantial risk of death, serious permanent disfigurement, bone fractures, second or first-degree burns or loss or impairment of a body part or organ. For example, a traumatic brain injury or breaking your back would be considered a serious bodily injury.
Penalties for Assault in Colorado
Third-degree assault is a class 1 misdemeanor if convicted. Since assault is an “extraordinary risk” crime, Colorado adds the possibility of an extra 6 months to the standard sentencing. The penalties for a class 1 misdemeanor include:
- Up to 24 months in jail; and
- A fine of up to $5,000
Second-degree assault is a class 4 felony, which is punishable by:
- Up to 6 years in prison; and
- A fine of up to $500,000
However, if you threaten to use or do use a deadly weapon the crime will be classified as violent. That means your penalties may be enhanced with a maximum of 16 years in prison.
First-degree assault is a class 3 felony that can lead to:
- Up to 32 years in prison; and
- A fine of up to $750,000
The most common defense to assault is self-defense. However, self-defense is not an automatic defense in Colorado. The person charged must be able to show factors such as who the initial aggressor was, if the person charged was in fear of imminent bodily injury and, most importantly, if the self-defense was reasonable.
Sudden Heat of Passion Factor in Assault Cases
The penalties for assault may be lightened if you can prove the act stemmed from a sudden heat of passion. A sudden heat of passion is when the victim committed a serious and highly provoking act which caused you to assault them. For example, sudden heat of passion may apply if you assaulted your spouse after catching them in bed with another person.
You can only claim a sudden heat of passion if there was no interval between the provocation and the assault. This time period is known as “the voice of reason and humanity to be heard.” If there was time for you to cool down before the attack, then you can’t claim sudden heat of passion.
Sudden heat of passion will not lead to a dismissal of your charges. However, it may reduce your sentencing. If proved, then the mitigating factor will knock a felony assault conviction down by two classes. For example, if you were charged with first-degree assault your penalty would change from a class 3 felony to a class 5 felony.
Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence – Visit of the official website of the Violence Free Colorado, an organization whose mission is to raise awareness regarding domestic violence. Access their site for victim resources, how to find help if you’re dealing with domestic abuse and how to get involved.
Colorado Assault Laws – Visit the official website of the Colorado Revised Statutes to learn more about their assault laws. Access their legislation to learn the charge specifics, penalties, possible mitigating factors and more.
Assault Lawyer in Colorado Springs, CO
If you or someone you know has been charged with assault, it’s vital you have legal representation. An assault charge is incredibly serious and because it’s a violent crime some employers may be hesitant to hire you. You can fight back, however, by calling Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC.
You can call us now at (719) 328-1616 to set up a consultation today. Our team of lawyers will overlook your charges and help guide you through the legal process. Law Offices of Clifton Black, PC accepts clients throughout the greater Colorado Springs area including Manitou Springs, Fountain and Calhan.