In general, violent criminal acts carry more serious penalties and also have a stronger negative impact when they show up during a background check. Allegations of assault can lead to major consequences for the person accused. An assault charge could affect your living arrangements or your career. You could even lose your freedom in some cases if you end up in prison after a conviction or guilty plea.
Those accused of assaults in Colorado can secure the best outcome if they hire a skilled defense attorney to defend them against those upcoming charges. To effectively avoid conviction in criminal court, you typically need to plan ahead and develop a strategy. There are two strategies that could work when responding to assault charges and a commonly-suggested strategy that is not legally viable.
What won’t work?
The strategy that some people hope to employ when facing assault charges is to claim that they did not have the mental capacity to commit a crime because they were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. People sometimes mistakenly think that since they can’t enter a contract while intoxicated that they aren’t in the mental state to have criminal intent toward another person.
The criminal law in Colorado clearly states that voluntary intoxication is not a defense against criminal charges. Only those who did not consent to the chemical intoxication can potentially use their impairment as part of an affirmative defense strategy.
What strategies might work?
Sometimes, you can avoid a criminal conviction by showing that the charges against you are the result of mistaken identity or an error by a witness. The two simplest ways to prove you are not the one involved in an assault are to have another person corroborate your whereabouts and establish that you were nowhere near where the assault took place. The other is to use digital technology, like a timestamp on your phone, to place you elsewhere.
Another potentially useful strategy is to claim self-defense. If you acted to protect yourself from someone else’s aggression or intervene to protect another person, what would otherwise be assault is no longer technically a criminal act under state law.
Exploring different ways of defending yourself can help ensure that recent assault charges won’t affect your life for years to come.