Colorado Assault: You Could Face Serious Penalties

When people think of assault, they often think of bar fights or muggings, but the truth is that many different scenarios can be defined as assault under the law.

A recent story out of Colorado Springs highlights this fact. A woman has been accused of deliberately striking and injuring a pedestrian with her car. Police are charging the driver with first-degree assault, as well as felony criminal mischief and reckless driving.

One way to avoid this charge is to understand what constitutes assault under the law. Also, it’s helpful to understand what could happen if you are ever charged and convicted with assault in Colorado. Here’s what you need to know.

What Is Assault in Colorado?

Colorado legally defines assault as causing bodily injury to someone unlawfully. In most cases, assault involves actions such as slapping, hitting, pushing, punching, shoving, strangling, shooting, kicking, stabbing, or throwing objects at a person.

Degrees of Assault in Colorado

Colorado has different degrees of assault. The degree of charges you might face can depend on several factors, such as:

  • Whether or not a deadly weapon was used in the assault
  • What the state of mind of the defendant was at the time of the assault
  • The physical injuries sustained by the victim
  • Whether or not the victim was an on-duty official such as a police officer, emergency medical provider, judge, or firefighter.

First Degree Assault

If a person intentionally uses a deadly weapon to cause injury to another, disfigures someone permanently, or disables the function of an organ, then they can be charged with first-degree assault.

Second Degree Assault

This level of assault can be charged if someone intentionally or recklessly causes bodily harm to another with a weapon or deadly weapon, causes bodily injury intentionally, or drugs another intentionally without their consent.

Third Degree Assault

Third-degree assault can be charged if someone recklessly or knowingly causes bodily injury to another. It can also be charged if a person acts with criminal negligence and causes bodily injury through the use of a deadly weapon.

Another way to acquire this charge: if you cause an official, like a police officer, to come into contact with a toxic substance or bodily fluids with the intent to threaten or harass them.

Penalties for Assault in Colorado

There are separate penalties for each degree of assault in Colorado. They are:

First Degree Assault

This is a Class 3 felony in the state. It’s also considered a crime of violence. That means the penalties for this level of assault are quite severe, with someone facing up to 32 years in prison and fines of as much as $750,000 if convicted.

Second Degree Assault

As a Class 4 felony, anyone convicted of second-degree assault faces as many as six years in prison and fines of as much as $500,000. However, the prison sentence can increase to 16 years if a deadly weapon was used or if the incident caused serious bodily injury.

Penalties for Assault in Colorado

Third Degree Assault

This level of assault is charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor. It’s a crime that is considered one of extraordinary risk, which means you can still spend up to two years in jail and pay fines of $5,000 if convicted.

Assault is a serious crime with serious penalties. If you are charged with it, make sure you understand the charges against you as well as your rights in the situation.

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.