Have you ever been out and someone tried started a fight with you? If you engage, you could be facing assault charges. In Colorado, the charges vary from Misdemeanor to Felony for either 3rd, 2nd, or 1st degree assault. It’s important to know the breakdown of the several ways you could be charged with assault, and to understand what you should do if you are facing an assault charge.
3rd Degree Assault: Third degree assault is the least serious and most common assault charge in Colorado. This is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, and most typically associated with a bar fight or a physical altercation that doesn’t cause serious bodily injury. The word “serious,” is very important to note when talking about assault charges. You have committed 3rd Degree Assault if you knowingly or recklessly caused bodily injury to another, or if you negligently caused bodily injury with a deadly weapon to another. A key note: you don’t have to cause a visible injury to the person to cause “injury” in the eye of the court. Pain is enough to uphold a claim of “bodily injury.” A charge of 3rd Degree Assault could get you up to 6 months in jail and various fines. If you get into an altercation and the other person sustains serious bodily injury, this is when you’ve bumped up your charge to potentially 2nd or 1st degree assault.
2nd Degree Assault: When looking at 3rd degree to 2nd degree, the consequences and seriousness of offense increase greatly. You are facing a misdemeanor versus a felony. Here are the several points needed to be present for a 2nd degree assault charge:
- You intended to cause bodily injury to another person and caused such injury with a deadly weapon;
- You intended to prevent a peace officer or firefighter from performing a lawful duty and intentionally caused bodily injury to any person, recklessly caused bodily injury to a person with a deadly weapon;
- You intentionally caused the physical or mental impairment of another person by administering drugs or other substances to that person without that person’s consent;
- You were lawfully confined and knowingly and violently applied actual physical force against a peace officer, firefighter, judge, court officer or detention facility employee;
- You were lawfully confined and caused a detention facility employee to encounter feces, urine, saliva or other bodily fluids for the purpose of infecting, injuring, harassing or annoying that employee, or intended to cause bodily injury to another and caused serious bodily injury.
If you are charged with 2nd degree assault you could face between 5-16 years in prison, and very hefty fines upwards of $100,000.
1st Degree Assault: First degree assault is a very serious felony, and you are 99% likely to spend time in prison for this charge. Like 2nd degree assault, 1st degree assault has various ways in which you could be charged with this crime; they are the following:
- You intended to cause serious bodily injury to someone with a deadly weapon;
- You knowingly engaged in conduct which created a grave risk of death to another and resulted in injury;
- You intentionally destroyed, disfigured, or amputated the member of another person;
- You threatened a police officer or firefighter with a deadly weapon with the intent of causing serious bodily injury.
The consequences for 1st degree assault vary, but you are likely to face between 8-30 years in prison and upwards of $500,000 in fines.
You might be thinking that assault sounds like a serious crime and something you would never think about doing, but remember plenty of unforeseen moments happen in life, and you never know what might happen in a heated moment. The most important aspect of protecting yourself during the court process is having a competent and expert lawyer. Hire someone who knows your local system, and has won previous assault cases. It’s important to know your rights and keep yourself protected legally.
If you need help with assault charges in Colorado, contact Liberty Law Center today. We have trained experts on our team of attorneys that know how to handle assault charges to help you navigate your case.
Remember, a person is innocent until proven guilty, and every case plays out different or may vary from what is described above.