Vehicular assault is a serious offense in Colorado, and the consequences can be severe. A recent news story that illustrates this is the case of a Colorado Springs man charged with vehicular assault after a crash that injured two people. According to reports, the man was driving under the influence when he crashed into a vehicle, causing severe injuries to the driver and passenger. The man was arrested at the scene and charged with vehicular assault, DUI, and other related [...]
Colorado Assault Charges Can Be Beat with the Right Criminal Lawyer
Maybe you lost your temper in the heat of the moment. Or you were drinking or doing drugs and not thinking clearly. Perhaps you were desperate and did not know what else to do. It could even be that you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or that they got the wrong person entirely.
There are many reasons why someone might be charged with assault in Colorado. Often, when someone has been charged, they worry that there is nothing they can do. They believe that the evidence against them is too strong or no one will listen to their side of the story.
These feelings are normal, but you cannot allow them to control you. A charge is not a conviction. No matter what you have been accused of, those charges still need to be proven in a court of law.
As an experienced Colorado assault attorney, Jacob Martinez has used his legal skills and knowledge of the criminal laws of our state to help countless people successfully battle all kinds of charges related to assault. He knows what prosecutors must prove in order to secure a conviction, and he understands how to craft a defense strategy that can cast doubt and call their arguments into question.
This kind of help is particularly important right now because law enforcement officials are grappling with research that shows a big jump in crime across the state – including for assault. That means they will be working hard to crack down on criminal activity, and anyone unlucky enough to be charged is more likely to face the most serious possible consequences.
What It Means to Be Charged with Assault in Colorado
Assault is one of the most commonly charged violent crimes in our state. Despite this – or perhaps in part because of it – assault is also something that typically comes with severe penalties.
Colorado defines assault as intentionally or recklessly causing bodily harm to someone else.
This is important to understand because in many other states, the legal definition of assault is very different. Elsewhere, assault often just means threatening someone so that they fear violence – there does not need to be physical harm at all. Colorado lawmakers, however, have labeled this type of criminal act menacing.
Not surprisingly, assault in states where it is defined as mere threatening is generally treated much more leniently than assault as it is defined here. Colorado assault charges are much closer to what other states call battery.
The important part to remember is that if you are accused of assault here, the charge is saying that you caused actual physical harm to someone. Because of this, our assault penalties are quite severe – more severe than you might be familiar with if you are not from Colorado.
Here is how our assault charges break down:
18-3-204. Assault in the third degree
You can be charged with assault in the third degree for:
- knowingly or recklessly injuring someone physically
- using a deadly weapon with criminal negligence so that it results in the physical injury of another
- alarming, annoying, harassing, or threatening an emergency medical worker, firefighter, or peace officer by causing them to come into contact with any kind of bodily fluid or caustic, hazardous, or toxic material
This is a class 1 misdemeanor and you can get up to six months imprisonment if convicted.
18-3-203. Assault in the second degree
This charge is similar to assault in the third degree. However, it is deemed more serious because someone either needs to show an intent to physically harm another or engage in a reckless act that results in serious bodily injury.
The charge is a felony, and it is punishable by up to $500,000 in fines and 12 years in prison.
18-3-202. Assault in the first degree
In order to be convicted of assault in the first degree, someone must show intent to:
- Cause serious physical injury to someone else and do so by using a deadly weapon
- Cause serious and permanent disfigurement, including amputating or permanently disabling part of another’s body and actually do so
Or, with intent to bring about serious physical harm, they use a deadly weapon to threaten:
- an emergency medical worker, firefighter, or peace officer who is in the middle of performing their duties
- the judge or officer of a court, when they know or should know their roles
- anyone who works with a detention facility or is classified as a youth services worker if they are in custody due to being convicted of or charged with a crime, or as a delinquent child
Or they knowingly engage in behavior that shows an “extreme indifference” to human life and “creates a grave risk of death” to someone else and results in serious physical injury to another.
Or they choke someone or otherwise prevent their ability to breathe with the intent to cause severe physical harm.
Such assaults carried out in the “heat of passion” are charged as class 5 felonies. Otherwise, they are charged as class 3 felonies.
First degree assault charges are incredibly serious, with consequences including up to $750,000 in fines and up to 24 years in prison.
You can be charged with vehicular assault if:
- You seriously hurt someone due to driving recklessly
- You seriously hurt someone due to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Injuries due to reckless driving are charged as a class 5 felony. Injuries due to driving under the influence are charged as a class 4 felony.
As we briefly touched on above, menacing means knowingly threatening or engaging in some kind of physical act that makes someone fear “imminent serious bodily injury.”
Menacing is charged as a class 3 misdemeanor. However, if the threat involves a deadly weapon, the charge will be bumped up to a class 5 felony.
Importantly, a deadly weapon does not actually need to be present for this charge to apply. If the accused pretends that another type of object is a deadly weapon and the victim reasonably believes it to be one, or if they say that they have a deadly weapon, they can be charged with a class 5 felony.
18-3-207. Criminal extortion – aggravated extortion
Essentially, criminal extortion involves inducing someone to do something (or not do something) against their will by threatening them with a negative result. The threat in question could involve bodily harm, holding them against their will, damaging their reputation or property, causing them financial difficulty, reporting their immigration status and so on. The threat can be directed at them or another.
These acts are charged as class 4 felonies.
If the acts described above include threats of using:
- biological, chemical, or harmful radioactive agents
charges will be bumped up to a class 3 felony.
18-3-208. Reckless endangerment
You can be charged with reckless endangerment if you are accused of behaving in a way that creates a substantial injury risk to others.
This type of crime is charged as a class 3 misdemeanor.
Why Anyone Facing a Colorado Assault Charge Should Contact Denver Criminal Attorney Jacob Martinez Now
Simple answer: because he can help.
If you are convicted of an assault charge in Colorado, it is likely that serious consequences will be imposed, such as time in prison, high fines, and the loss of some of your rights. Your criminal record will also follow you around for the rest of your life and make it a lot harder to do seemingly simple things like get an apartment, land a good job, secure a loan, and possibly even find a date since many people now do background checks before meeting new people in person.
Jacob Martinez will fight to make sure these things do not happen, and he has the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience. He will tell you how to act around law enforcement officials and prosecutors, including what you should and should not say. He will ensure that cops and others respect your rights and stay within the boundaries of the law instead of bending it as far as they can to put you behind bars. He will push hard to secure evidence helpful to your case and work to have damaging evidence removed if possible.
You must take the first step though. Get in touch right now by contacting our office. We’ll set up a free initial consultation where we can go over the facts of your case and discuss the options available to you.