An overview of assault charges in the state of Colorado

Inflicting bodily injury on others may result in assault charges in Colorado, which could carry serious penalties with lasting consequences.

Sometimes, arguments between people in Greeley, and throughout Colorado, may become physical. Depending on the circumstances, those involved in physical confrontations with others may be charged with assault. A serious criminal offense, being convicted of this crime could carry severe penalties with lasting implications.

Colorado state law establishes three variations of assault offenses - third-degree, second-degree and first-degree assault. Each of these charges has differing levels of severity and carry different penalties for a conviction.

Third-degree assault

The least severe of the assault variations is assault in the third degree. According to the Boulder County Bar Association, people may be accused of third-degree assault if they knowingly, negligently or recklessly cause others to suffer injuries using deadly weapons. Additionally, causing a law enforcement officer, firefighter or emergency medical service worker to come into contact with certain bodily or hazardous fluids may also qualify as third-degree assault.

Under most circumstances, third-degree assault is a class one misdemeanor. As an extraordinary risk crime, people may be subject to enhanced penalties if convicted of this offense. Colorado state law stipulates that those convicted of third-degree offense may face up to 24 months in prison, a fine of $5,000 or both.

Second-degree assault

There are many actions that may qualify as second-degree assault under Colorado state law. Intentionally injuring others, and deliberately or recklessly injuring others with a deadly weapon typically constitutes this level of offense. Giving others drugs or other substances without their consent to mentally or physically impair them is also considered second-degree assault. So too is purposely injuring law enforcement officers or firefighters while preventing them from executing their lawful duties. People who are legally being held in jail or prison and use violent force against detention facility employees, law enforcement officers, firefighters, court officers or judges may also be charged with second-degree assault.

Unless this offense is committed in the heat of passion, it is considered a class four felony. As such, those convicted of second-degree assault could face a minimum or four years, and a maximum of 12 years, in prison. They may also be fined between $2,000 and $500,000. When a person is in an intense emotional state when this type of offense occurs, his or her charges may be downgraded to a class six felony.

First-degree assault

According to the Boulder County Bar Association, first-degree assault is the most serious variation of this type of charge. There are a number of actions, which may qualify as first-degree assault, including the following:

  • Using a deadly weapon to intentionally cause serious bodily injury
  • Causing serious bodily injury under circumstances that show evident indifference for human life
  • Purposely causing disfiguring or disabling injuries

Threatening law enforcement officers, firefighters, judges and officers of the court with deadly weapons may also qualify as first-degree assault. Likewise, threats against detention facility workers made with deadly weapons by those held in jail or prison may also constitute this type of offense.

With few exceptions, first-degree assault is a class three felony. As such, those convicted of this offense may face a prison sentence of between eight and 24 years. Additionally, they may be fined anywhere between $3,000 and $750,000.

Fighting Colorado assault charges

Being charged with and convicted of assault in the state of Colorado can have a lasting effect on a person's future. As such, those who are facing such charges may benefit from working with an attorney. A legal representative may help them to understand their rights and options, as well as to establish a criminal defense.