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When you get charged with a crime like assault in Colorado, you don’t simply have to accept the charges – you have the right to fight back. An assault conviction can affect the rest of your life, even after you’ve fulfilled the penalties. It is vital to work with your lawyer to have assault charges dropped or reduced, and it is possible.
Where do you start? After bringing an experienced and capable attorney on board your defense team, the real work begins. There are many tactics they can use to help reduce or even eliminate the charges against you. Here are a few strategies and why fighting back against criminal assault charges can prove vital to your future.
In Colorado, a person commits the crime of assault if they knowingly or recklessly cause another person to sustain a bodily injury. It can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the case’s facts.
If a deadly weapon is used to commit assault, it will likely result in a felony. The status of the victim also plays a role in how a person ends up charged with assault. There are three degrees of assault in Colorado.
First-degree assault carries a felony charge. A first-degree assault occurs in cases where a person uses a deadly weapon and permanently disfigures, damages bodily organs’ functions, or causes serious injury to a person.
A Class 3 felony, first-degree assault can result in up to 32 years imprisonment and fines of as much as $750,000.
When no deadly weapon gets used in a crime, but severe bodily injury occurs, an assault charge will likely be filed. This level of assault is classified as a 3, 4, or 6-class felony in Colorado. If convicted, you can serve anywhere from two to 16 years behind bars with fines as much as $500,000.
This is the least serious assault charge in the state. It’s often charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor. This level of assault is punishable by up to two years in jail and fines of as much as $5,000.
The key to getting assault charges reduced or dropped altogether in Colorado is a solid defense with the help of an experienced and skilled attorney.
The defense your attorney will use depends on the facts surrounding your case. However, there are some common defenses put forward to the court that can work to reduce charges or even have them dropped.
You are allowed under the law to defend yourself against another person. The law also clearly defines when self-defense is warranted – and how much force is reasonable.
If you are charged with assault while protecting someone else or yourself from physical harm at the hands of another person, then that’s a workable defense. However, your actions must be proportionate to your inflicted harm or threat.
For example, deadly force can only be used in self-defense cases when you or the person you were defending thought that severe bodily injury, death, sexual assault, or kidnapping would occur.
Sometimes, feelings and emotions get the best of us, provoking extreme reactions in people. Under the law in Colorado, the heat of passion crimes can be recognized in certain circumstances. This crime occurs when a person is provoked or reacts suddenly and without control, often violently.
This defense may not work to have charges dismissed, because it can be viewed as an affirmative defense. But it can help reduce the charges against you in some cases. As a partial defense, it can reduce the charge of assault by up to two classes.
Other defenses your attorney may use in your assault case include no intent to cause injury on your part, accidental contact, and even the assertion that the police blamed the wrong person. Remember, you are entitled to a defense, so work with your attorney to find the one that best suits the circumstances and facts of your case.
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.