Colorado First- and Second-Degree Assault Questions and Answers

First- and Second-Degree Assault  Charges in Colorado Are Felony Charges With Differences

What Circumstances Separate First- and Second-Degree Assault in Colorado?

In all Colorado counties including Denver, Jefferson, Arapahoe, Adams and Douglas, second-degree assault (CRS 18-3-203) is a Class 3 felony and is committed when someone uses a deadly weapon to seriously hurt someone, or he or she hurt someone in trying to keep a police officer or firefighter from doing their his or her job. Our criminal defense lawyers have defended people in assault crimes where the government called a gun, knife, baseball bat, hammer, stick, fists, rock or a bottle a deadly weapon. Assault in the second degree does not always result in prison time, but if it is shown to be a crime of violence (COV), the person charged will automatically face a prison term of at least five years.

First-degree assault (CRS 18-3-202), also a Class 3 felony in Colorado, is committed when someone acts in a way which causes a risk of death to another person, is extremely unconcerned about that person's life and causes serious injury or disablement because of his or her reckless actions. Assault in the first degree is always a COV and the mandatory prison term is at least 10 years in Colorado

What Does Colorado "Heat of Passion" Mean and What Can It Do for Your Defense?

Heat of passion explains the mental state of the person at the time he or she committed the assault. It means that the assault was committed because the person was highly provoked by someone else and that the provocation resulted in sudden heat of passion in an otherwise reasonable person. Heat of passion does not excuse guilt from an assault charge, but is very helpful in reducing the severity of your charges if provable by your experienced criminal defense attorney.

What Are Some Other Defenses for Assault?

Credible evidence must be shown to prove self-defense.  It is a powerful defense if a Colorado criminal attorney is successful in proving self-defense, all charges of first-or second-degree assault will result in a finding of not guilty. Self-defense is used when someone defends him or herself from another person. The person must believe he or she was in danger and needed to use force for protection, but the person can only use an amount of force that is reasonable for the situation. Self-defense can even be used if a person started a fight but then backed away and the other person continued to attack. Because there are so many factors needed to claim self-defense, you will need an experienced criminal lawyer involved quickly to get the facts established.

Any assault charges brought against someone who was defending their home from an intruder can result in a "not guilty" verdict under Colorado's "Make my Day" law (CRS 18-1-704.5), which states that every person has the right to resort to physical force in his or her home when another person has made an unlawful entry into their home, when the occupant has the belief that the other person has committed a crime in the dwelling and when the occupant believes the other person might use physical force against them.

Why call the O'Malley Law Office?

Assault charges are some of the most serious charges, outside of some sex crimes, which a person can face in Colorado. Most assault charges are filed with circumstances involving domestic violence. It is essential to quickly investigate both sides of the story and gather as many witnesses as possible to get the best evidence of what actually happened. Assault charges are serious and may require mandatory prison time, but there are some great defenses available when the case is handled properly. If facing assault charges, exercise your right to remain silent and call the O'Malley Law Office at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.

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