What Does an Assault Charge Mean?

Posted By: Jacob Martinez

Category: Assault

What Does an Assault Charge Mean

Being charged with a violent crime like assault involves high stakes. An assault conviction can hold serious repercussions that can affect all aspects of your life – your freedom, your employment, your relationships, and your reputation.

According to Colorado law, assault is generally defined as knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person. Under this definition, your assault charge might be confusing. That’s why it’s important to understand what an assault charge means and what punishments you could potentially face if convicted of this crime.

That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced assault attorney when you’re charged with assault or any violent crime. A criminal defense attorney who knows the laws will be able to fight for your rights and try to minimize the consequences.

Degrees of Assault

Depending on the circumstances of the incident and the severity of the outcome, assault can be classified as first, second, or third degree assault in Colorado.

First Degree Assault. First degree assault is considered aggravated assault. It occurs when a person:

  • Intends to cause serious bodily harm to someone else, or causes serious bodily harm to someone else with a deadly weapon.
  • Intends to cause serious bodily harm to a peace officer by using or threatening to use a deadly weapon.
  • Intends to seriously and permanently disfigure another person, or destroys, amputates, or permanently disables a part of someone else’s body.
  • Knowingly acts in a way that creates a severe risk of death to another person.

If it’s considered a crime of passion, you will be charged with a Class 5 felony. A Class 5 felony is punishable by $1,000 to $100,000 in fines and 1 to 3 years in prison.

If it’s not a crime of passion, you will be charged with a Class 3 felony. A Class 3 felony is punishable by $3,000 to $750,000 in fines and 4 to 12 years in prison.

Since first degree assault is a violent crime, a judge is required to sentence the defendant to at least the middle of the prison term range but not more than two times the maximum of the range.

Denver Assault Lawyer

Second Degree Assault. Second degree assault is also considered aggravated assault. It occurs when a person:

  • Intends to cause bodily injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or without a deadly weapon.
  • Intends to cause bodily injury to a peace officer or other protected employee to prevent him or her from performing his or her duties.
  • Recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous substance that causes stupor, unconsciousness, or other physical or mental impairment or injury.

If it’s considered a crime of passion, you will be charged with a Class 6 felony. A Class 6 felony is punishable by $1,000 to $100,000 in fines and 1 to 1.5 years in prison.

If it’s not a crime of passion, you will be charged with a Class 4 felony. A Class 4 felony is punishable by $2,000 to $500,000 in fines and 2 to 6 years in prison.

Since second degree assault is a violent crime, a judge is required to sentence the defendant to at least the middle of the prison term range but not more than two times the maximum of the range.

Denver Third Degree Assault Attorney

Third Degree Assault. Third degree assault occurs when a person:

  • Knowingly, recklessly, or through criminal negligence causes bodily injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon.
  • Knowingly threatens, annoys, harasses, or injures a peace officer or other protected employee with a dangerous substance.

Third degree assault carries a Class 1 misdemeanor charge, which is punishable by $500 to $5,000 in fines and 6 to 18 months in prison.

If the assault is directed at a peace officer or other protected employee, you may face harsher penalties that include two times the minimum fine or prison term.

Defending an Assault Charge

If you’re going to fight your assault charge – and you should – you will want to hire a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney with a proven track record will look at the facts of your case and do everything in his power to reduce the charges to a lower level felony or in certain cases even get the charges dropped or dismissed. He will look into police records, witnesses, evidence, the victim’s injuries, the circumstances of the incident, and if there was alcohol involved. Prosecutors are getting tougher on violent crimes, so it’s crucial to start planning your defense immediately.

 

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.