What Makes an Assault “Aggravated” in Colorado?
Posted By: Jacob Martinez
Every day, there are many instances of assaults taking place across our state. Some of these assaults are more serious than others, and the law has been formulated with this in mind. Commit a more serious assault and you will be subject to more severe penalties.
When an assault is considered “more serious,” it is commonly referred to as an “aggravated” assault. What exactly makes an assault “aggravated,” though? How is it different from a regular assault?
Colorado Aggravated Assault vs Assault
The State of Colorado separates the act of assault into three different degrees. 1st and 2nd-degree assault are considered to be aggravated assault, whereas 3rd-degree assault is not. The question, then, is what criteria need to be satisfied to make an assault into an aggravated assault? There are a couple of different things that law enforcement officials will look at.
Aggravated assault can be determined by the severity of the injuries resulting from an assault, as well as the method in which they were delivered. If the attacker intended to cause or did cause serious bodily injury, if they used a deadly weapon, or if they attacked a peace officer, the act is considered aggravated.
Aggravated assaults are much more serious than assaults, with 1st and 2nd-degree assault being classified as felonies and 3rd-degree assault as a misdemeanor. Each degree of assault carries different charges.
Defining the Degrees of Assault Charges in Colorado
There are three possible assault charges in the state of Colorado.
First Degree Assault
An assault is classified as a first-degree assault when it results in grievous bodily harm of another, often through the use of a deadly weapon. In addition, causing bodily harm to a person of protected status, such as a peace officer, can constitute a first-degree assault.
First-degree assault is considered a Class 3 felony in our state unless it is a crime of passion. If the act is a crime of passion it is considered a class 5 felony.
In the state of Colorado, first-degree assault is also considered to be a crime of violence. This means that a judge who convicting someone for assault must sentence them to at least the midpoint of the listed range for the offense and no more than twice the maximum of the listed range.
Thus, if the range for a Class 3 felony is 4-12 years imprisonment, then a judge must sentence a defendant to no less than six years but no more than 24 for a crime of violence.
First-degree assault is charged as a Class 3 felony, which carries a sentence of 4-12 years incarceration and/or a $3,000-$750,000 fine.
First-degree assault as a crime of passion is considered a Class 5 felony, which carries a sentence of 1-3 years incarceration and/or a $1,000-$100,000 fine.
Second Degree Assault
An assault is considered to be of the second degree when a person intentionally causes bodily harm to another person. This can include the use of a deadly weapon as well as bodily injury to a peace officer or someone of protected status. The main difference between first and second-degree assault is the extent of injuries.
Second-degree assault is also considered a crime of violence.
Second-degree assault is charged as a Class 4 felony, which carries a sentence of 2-6 years incarceration and/or a $2,000-$500,000 fine.
Second-degree assault as a crime of passion is considered a Class 6 felony, which carries a sentence of 1-1.5 years incarceration and/or a $1,000-$100,000 fine.
Third Degree Assault
An act of assault is considered to be third-degree when a person knowingly or recklessly causes bodily harm to another person. Threatening, harassing or annoying a police officer or a person of protected status can result in a third-degree assault charge.
Third-degree assault is charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a sentence of 6-18 months incarceration and/or a $500-$5,000 fine.
Civil Liability for Assault
Offenders in assault cases may also be liable to a personal injury lawsuit from the victim.
Because acts of assault include all types of bodily harm being inflicted on a person, it is possible that individuals could be wrongfully charged with assault. Moreover, you have a legal right to use reasonable force to protect yourself if you feel that you or someone else is in danger.
Although aggravated and non-aggravated assault may seem similar, the penalties they carry are significantly different. It is important to understand the difference between the two when evaluating acts of assault.
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.