Colorado Assault – Questions And Answers
What are the major differences in the three different assault classes in Colorado?
First-degree assault is the most serious of the three charges and it is generally charged when a person has the intent to cause serious bodily injury and causes serious bodily injury. When a deadly weapon is used in Denver or Douglas County, first degree is usually charged. Second-degree assault is most frequently charge when a police officer is injured in the line of duty. In other cases, it can be charged if nonserious injury is caused by a deadly weapon. Assault in the third degree results from the knowing injury (defined as “pain”) of another without a deadly weapon. This last charge is easy to commit in any pushing or hitting fight.
What are common defenses to assault charges?
Self-defense is the most common defense we have to assault charges. It works best if our client has not given a statement to police where officers will try and disprove it upfront. Self-defense in Adams and Larimer counties is where a person admits the conduct occurred, but says the other person provoked them and out of fear of being harmed they struck the other person to protect themselves.
Why does first-degree assault involve serious bodily injury and a weapon?
Colorado has distinguished this crime from others with the combination of serious bodily injury and the use of a deadly weapon. The idea is to separate out the most violent offenders who use weapons capable of producing death or permanent impairment.
Is second-degree assault involving police officers a mandatory prison count?
Yes. Officers are given a special status that people otherwise don’t receive. Most importantly, for second-degree assault, there is no requirement of serious bodily injury to the officer or a weapon. All you have to do is cause the officer “pain” and you will face mandatory prison at the Department of Corrections. We feel this charge is overly severe. DAs like it because people are more willing to take a plea agreement with mandatory prison hanging over their head.
Are there circumstances where third-degree assault can be a felony?
Third-degree assault is always a misdemeanor. Therefore, a person will only face a maximum of two years in the county jail, whether in Arapahoe County or Jefferson County.