Colorado Assault Charges: Should I Take a Plea Deal?
Posted By: Jacob Martinez
Sometimes a disagreement can go way off the rails and become physical between people. In these cases, dissenters may be charged with assault in Colorado. Whether or not they’re charged depends on the circumstances of the specific case.
Assault is a serious offense. If you are convicted, you can face some pretty severe penalties that could impact on the rest of your life. Read on to learn about assault in Colorado, penalties you face, and the right time to accept a plea deal from the prosecution.
Assault in Colorado
Under the law in Colorado, assault is defined as causing injury to another person. It can be a felony or misdemeanor crime, which depends on the specific circumstances.
In general, there are three degrees of assault in Colorado. They are:
This is the least serious type of assault. It occurs when harm is caused through negligence, and it may involve a deadly weapon. It can also be charged if emergency medical personnel, firefighters, or law enforcement officers come into contact with hazardous bodily fluids.
This is generally a Class 1 misdemeanor in Colorado. However, it is a crime of extraordinary risk in the eyes of the law, which means there can be enhanced penalties attached if you are found guilty.
This occurs when serious injury is intentionally caused with a deadly weapon. There are several actions that can qualify as second-degree assault in Colorado such as:
- Giving someone substances without consent to impair them mentally or physically
- Injuring a firefighter or officer when they are attempting to execute their duties
- Using violent force against employees in detention facilities when being legally held there
It is considered a Class 4 felony unless it is perpetrated in the heat of passion.
A crime elevates to this degree when serious injury occurs with intention using a deadly weapon or under circumstances that show indifference toward human life. It can also be charged if someone causes injury in a way that disables or disfigures them for life. This is the most serious type of charge.
In some cases, threatening a firefighter, officer, or officer of the court with a deadly weapon can qualify as first-degree assault.
This is generally a Class 3 felony in Colorado.
The Penalties for Assault in Colorado
The penalties for assault in Colorado include:
Class 3 Felony
If convicted of first-degree assault, you can face up to 32 years in prison and pay fines for as much as $750,000.
Class 4 Felony
Often accompanying second-degree assault, a Class 4 felony can result in up to six years in prison and fines of as much as $500,000.
Class 1 Misdemeanor
This is often the result of a conviction of third-degree assault. The penalties include up to two years in prison and maximum fines of $5,000.
What About a Plea Bargain?
In some cases, the prosecution will offer a plea bargain to the defendant. This is a legally binding agreement between the defendant and the prosecution that resolves the criminal matter without going to trial.
Plea bargains are quite common. These days, it is actually quite uncommon for a case to go before a judge or jury at all.
A plea bargain can be reached at any point in the criminal process, but it often happens before or right after any formal charges. It’s important to understand that plea bargains can be negotiated in most cases. That is why you need an experienced attorney on your side to help navigate the process.
When Should You Take a Plea Bargain?
Whether or not you take a plea bargain is ultimately up to you. In most bargains, they require you to plead guilty to some crime, even if it’s a lesser charge than the original. There are advantages to accepting a plea from the prosecution, especially if you are uncertain about the outcome of your trial. You may want to avoid jail entirely, reduce prison time, or reduce criminal fines.
If you take a plea deal, then it will go to a judge for their approval. Realize that it is up to the judge at this point to approve it. While they often do, it’s not guaranteed.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.