Colorado Assault in the Second Degree: What Are Your Defenses?

Assault is a crime that can occur quickly – before you may have time to really register what is going on. But it’s also a crime that can change your life just as quickly as it occurred, following you around through your criminal record forever.

This is why it’s so important to understand what types of actions can result in a charge of criminal assault, also known as assault in the second degree, in Colorado.

Here’s what you need to know about this crime and the possible defenses a criminal defense attorney can use to help protect your rights in court.

Second Degree Assault in Colorado

Under Colorado law, second-degree assault is perpetrated when someone causes bodily harm to someone else with a deadly weapon. It is a felony in Colorado. You can be charged with second-degree assault if any of these actions are taken:

  • Purposefully using a deadly weapon to produce bodily injury to another
  • Recklessly using a lethal weapon to produce serious bodily injury to another

The law defines a lethal weapon one of two ways:

Per Se Deadly Weapon

A per se deadly weapon is designed to cause through its use death or serious injury to another person. A good example of a per se deadly weapon is a firearm, but other weapons also fit into this category such as:

  • Swords
  • Brass knuckles
  • Combat knives
  • Daggers

They are basically weapons that are meant to cause severe damage to a living being.

Tools and Objects Capable of Death or Serious Injury

In this second category of deadly weapons, you find objects that aren’t necessarily meant to produce harm, but they can trigger harm or death if used to assault another person. Examples of this type of deadly weapon include vehicles, metal pipes, tools, or even furniture.

If it’s used to inflict serious injury or if it kills someone, then the law can interpret it as a deadly weapon.

Second Degree Assault Penalties in Colorado

Second-degree assault is a serious crime in Colorado. If you are found guilty, then you can face some significant consequences, because it is considered a crime of violence in the state. That means that those found guilty of second-degree assault in the state will be subject to minimum mandatory prison sentences.

The minimum mandatory sentence for second-degree assault is at least five years in prison, but you can be sentenced up to 16. There is also a minimum parole term of three years once you are released from prison. Fines can also be assessed up to $500,000.

Defenses For Second-Degree Assault

Defenses For Second-Degree Assault

Every person is entitled to a defense against charges in court.

The particular strategy used in your case depends on the circumstances, but in general, those facing second-degree assault charges use these types of defenses in court:

  • The assault that occurred came from a need for self-defense
  • The defendant was forced under duress to commit the crime by another person
  • Entrapment
  • Assault was a necessary evil to prevent injury to the public
  • There was no intent to cause serious injury or death to the victim
  • The events occurred in the heat of passion brought on by an emotional event

It’s crucial to understand the charges against you and your rights in serious cases such as this.

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 recognized by countless legal organizations for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2020, and is Lead Counsel rated.