Criminal assault can happen in the blink of an eye, and the consequences can literally alter the rest of your life. Maybe you were sitting in a bar and the next thing you knew, you were drawn into a fight where people were seriously injured. Or perhaps you had an argument with your spouse where you lost your temper and things got way out of hand. The truth is getting charged with assault can happen fast and with no premeditation.
If you are ever arrested for assault, you need to immediately request a Colorado criminal defense lawyer. Your future hangs in the balance, and this is no time to face the police or courts without expert counsel.
If you are convicted of assault under Colorado Revised Statute 18-3-204, you will have a criminal record that will stick with you throughout life. It can adversely impact your ability to hold a job and get credit. The sooner you consult a criminal defense lawyer, the better your representative will be able to protect and defend your interests.
What are the possibilities when charged with assault in Colorado?
There are first, second and third degree levels of assault, with first degree being the most serious and carrying the harshest penalties.
You may be charged with first degree assault if the prosecutor believes he or she can prove one of the following:
- Using a deadly weapon, you intentionally caused serious bodily injury to another person.
- You knowingly took part in activity that put another person in grave risk of death, and resulted in serious bodily injury.
- You intentionally disfigured, destroyed or amputated another person’s member.
- You threatened a police officer or firefighter with a deadly weapon with the intent of causing serious bodily injury.
First Degree Assault is a Class 3 felony and is a crime of violence under C.R.S. 13-3-204.
What does crime of violence (COV) mean?
The Colorado legislature has designated certain offenses as crimes of violence. Conviction for a COV carries a mandatory sentence to prison, and that sentence will be in an enhanced penalty range.
If you are convicted of first degree assault, you can expect to spend between 10 and 32 years in prison. In addition the court may impose a fine a fine ranging from $3,000 – $750,000.
Second degree assaults are also serious offenses. You can be charged with this crime if you have done any of the following:
- Intentionally cause bodily injury to someone with a deadly weapon
- Recklessly cause serious bodily injury by means of a deadly weapon
- Caused bodily injury to any person while attempting to keep a firefighter or police officer from doing their job
- While intending to cause bodily injury to someone, you actually cause serious bodily injury
Second degree assault is a class 4 felony, and the assaults described above are also in the COV category. These second degree assaults carry a mandatory sentence of five to 16 years in prison, and a possible fine up to $500,000.
Third degree assaults are Class 1 Misdemeanor charges. While less serious, third degree assault can land you in county jail for six to 24 months. Third degree assault is still an offense no one should take lightly.
You can find yourself facing this charge if the police believe you knowingly or recklessly caused bodily injury to someone. Even criminal negligence can bring a charge of third degree assault if a deadly weapon is used to cause bodily injury.
Who decides your fate?
Ultimately, a court will determine your fate and a judge will hand down your sentence.
If you committed the crime in an act of defending yourself, your criminal defense attorney can use this information to get a mitigated sentence, a reduction of charges or possibly get the charges dropped.
Also, if the offense came about through heat of passion, you may receive leniency from the court. In sentencing, the court often takes into account such factors as whether or not this is your first offense of this nature, if the assault was aggravated, and whether or not there were circumstances that justified your actions.
If the assault is classified as a domestic violence offense, you will be required to take mandatory domestic violence classes as part of your probation, if probation is granted.
Mandatory sentence for a COV means there is no possibility of a sentence to probation after a COV conviction.
The bottom line in Colorado assault cases
If you’ve been charged with assault, don’t delay in contacting a criminal defense attorney. Your future is at stake, including not just the next few years during which you may be held in prison and/or required to pay a substantial fine, but also the future when a criminal record may impede your opportunities.
If you assault another person your life can change in a split second. If you live in Denver, Littleton, Castle Rock, Colorado Springs or other Colorado communities and someone in your family has been charged with assault, contact our criminal defense lawyers at immediately. Call 303-688-0944 for representation.