Recently in my practice, I have noticed a rise in the number of filings of assault against a peace officer charges in Denver, Jefferson and Larimer County for criminal defendants. Most commonly, these cases arise based on the interaction between the person suspected of a crime and law enforcement (police or sheriff) when an arrest is attempted.
In general terms, a peace officer is a member of the judicial system or law enforcement, whether it be a police officer, sheriff deputy, firefighter, a district attorney, judge, or other officer of the court or the judicial system. The law does not care whether they are employed at the municipal, county or state level. There are two different types of assault and both carry increased penalties (over traditional assault cases), including mandatory jail or prison time.
Third Degree Assault on a Peace Officer - 18-1.3-501
Third degree assault in Weld and Summit County only requires that a person knowingly or recklessly cause bodily injure (pain). C.R.S. 18-3-204. If a person is charged with hurting a peace officer engaged in the performance of his or her lawful duties, then the fact that the victim is a peace officer operates as a sentence enhancer and increases the term of imprisonment in the county jail. Probation is not an option as the law requires a sentence to the county jail of at least 2 years and 1 day up to four years.
Second Degree Assault on a Peace Officer- 18-3-203(1)(f)
Second degree assault in Douglas, Arapahoe or Adams County involves the knowing and violent application of physical force against a peace officer while the suspect is in police custody. The fact that a suspect is in custody elevates this to a felony offense and subjects the suspect to increased penalties including this being charged as a crime of violence (meaning a sentence to the Department of Corrections that runs consecutive to any other sentence). This charge can also result from the suspect causing an employee of a detention facility to come into contact with the suspect's blood, seminal fluid, urine, feces, saliva, mucus, vomit or any other caustic or hazardous material.
In either case, the involvement of a police / peace officer means a substantial increase in penalties. Unfortunately, these charges often result from simply resisting arrest, C.R.S. 18-8-103, or obstructing a peace officer, C.R.S. 18-8-104 in Denver. Officers have started piling on these charges to get revenge against suspects. Because the penalties are substantial, if you are charged with Assault on a Peace Officer, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call an attorney in our office at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.