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What are the Types of Assault Charges in Colorado?

On behalf of Dolan + Zimmerman LLP October 2, 2021

All types of criminal charges are serous, but violent crimes can be particularly worrisome. In Colorado, there are several different types of assault charges. It’s important to know what you can be charged with, what the penalties are, and what you and an experienced criminal defense lawyer can to do defend you from these charges.

First-Degree Assault 

In Colorado, first-degree assault is the act of intentionally and seriously hurting another individual by using physical force, often with a deadly weapon. This is one of the most serious assault charges in Colorado and is classified as a class 3 felony. It carries between ten and 32 years in prison as well as a fine of between $3,000 and $750,000.

Second-Degree Assault

Second-degree assault is the crime of intentionally or recklessly injuring another person using a deadly weapon. It is a class 4 felony and is punishable by two to six years in prison. Second-degree assault doesn’t always causer serious bodily injury, but it does involve the use of a deadly weapon. This could include hitting someone in the face with a gun. One of the primary differences between first and second-degree assault is that in first-degree assault, there’s the occurrence of serious bodily injury, and with second-degree assault, there’s an intention to simply cause bodily injury. 

Third-Degree Assault 

In Colorado, you can be charged and convicted of third-degree assault if you knowingly or recklessly cause bodily injury to another person by using a deadly weapon. It also occurs when you injure someone through criminal negligence, or threaten, annoy, harass, or injure a peace officer or other protected employee. This is typically considered a class 1 misdemeanor, though if a peace officer is injured, the penalties can be more severe. The possible penalties are between six and 18 months in prison and a fine of between $500 and $5,000.

Legal Defenses

While it’s ultimately up to your criminal defense lawyer to develop a legal strategy to defend you, it can be still be helpful for you to be familiar with some of the ways to defend your assault charges. Some of the most common ones include the following: 

  • Self-Defense

One of the most common defenses to assault charges is self-defense. In Colorado, an individual is permitted to use physical force to defend themselves if they believe it’s necessary to protect themselves from imminent danger, as long as they use the degree of force that is appropriate for the situation. This means if someone is about to hit you, you likely can’t pull out a gun and shoot them. That would not be a reasonable amount of force. 

  • Falsely Accused

In some cases, a person will accuse you of assault when nothing actually happened. This can happen in a number of ways. Perhaps you know someone who is angry at you and they decide to accuse you of committing a crime. Alternatively, you might be falsely identified as someone who committed a crime against a stranger, even if it wasn’t you and you were nowhere in sight.

This list certainly isn’t exhaustive, and any experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you determine the best defense for your charges. 

Contact a Lawyer For Assistance

If you or a loved one has been charged with any type of assault, it’s not something to be taken lightly. Contact an experienced Boulder criminal defense attorney right away for help.