What Are The 3 Types of Assault?
Assault is a serious criminal charge that can result in significant legal consequences. It is a crime that involves an intentional act that causes another person to fear physical harm, whether or not that harm actually occurs. There are different gradations of this crime in Colorado, and it’s essential to understand the criteria and potential consequences.
First-degree assault is a serious violent crime that involves causing serious bodily injury to another by using a deadly weapon, strangulation, creating an extreme risk of death, or threatening a police officer with a deadly weapon.
“A person commits the crime of assault in the first degree if:
(a) With intent to cause serious bodily injury to another person, he causes serious bodily injury to any person by means of a deadly weapon; or
(b) With intent to disfigure another person seriously and permanently, or to destroy, amputate, or disable permanently a member or organ of his body, he causes such an injury to any person; or
(c) Under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, he knowingly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to another person, and thereby causes serious bodily injury to any person; or
(e) With intent to cause serious bodily injury upon the person of a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical service provider, he or she threatens with a deadly weapon a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical service provider engaged in the performance of his or her duties, and the offender knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical service provider acting in the performance of his or her duties.”
First-degree assault is a felony in Colorado. The sentence ranges ten to 32 years’ incarceration. In addition to prison time, fines and other penalties, such as probation, community service, or mandatory counseling or treatment, may be implemented.
If the defendant acted in the heat of passion, the penalty might be reduced to 30 months to 8 years of prison time. Heat of passion refers to a situation where the defendant was provoked and reacted with violence without premeditation. However, this defense is not always successful and requires a skilled criminal defense lawyer to argue.
Second-degree assault is a serious charge in Colorado involving several types of behavior. These include causing bodily injury to someone else with a deadly weapon, knowingly drugging or intoxicating someone without their consent, and engaging in certain illegal acts toward law enforcement or emergency personnel. Understanding these different behaviors is necessary to know how the law applies to your case.
“(1) A person commits the crime of assault in the second degree if:
(b) With intent to cause bodily injury to another person, he or she causes such injury to any person by means of a deadly weapon; or
(c) With intent to prevent one whom he or she knows, or should know, to be a peace officer, firefighter, emergency medical care provider, or emergency medical service provider from performing a lawful duty, he or she intentionally causes bodily injury to any person; or
(c.5) With intent to prevent one whom he or she knows, or should know, to be a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical service provider from performing a lawful duty, he or she intentionally causes serious bodily injury to any person; or
(d) He recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon; or
(e) For a purpose other than lawful medical or therapeutic treatment, he intentionally causes stupor, unconsciousness, or other physical or mental impairment or injury to another person by administering to him, without his consent, a drug, substance, or preparation capable of producing the intended harm…”
The potential consequences for second-degree assault are severe. In Colorado, a conviction can result in a class 4 felony punishable by up to 16 years in prison. Additionally, if there are aggravating circumstances, such as if the victim is a police officer, firefighter, or emergency medical worker, the penalties can be even more severe.
If the defendant acted out of sudden heat of passion, the offense is reduced to a class 6 felony with 18 months to 4 years of imprisonment.
Third-degree assault involves knowingly or recklessly causing bodily harm to another person or property, negligently causing harm with a deadly weapon, or harassing public officials such as police, firefighters, and EMS by spitting, throwing fluids, or other violent means.
This crime is a class 1 misdemeanor, and a conviction can result in a maximum sentence of 364 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Legal Defenses to Assault
Self-defense is one of the most common legal defenses against assault. This defense asserts that the accused felt at risk of bodily harm and that using force was necessary to protect themselves. Self-defense is successful when the accused can demonstrate that the force used was proportional to the perceived threat.
False accusation is another defense used in assault cases. This defense argues that the alleged victim falsely accused the accused of assault for personal, financial, or other reasons.
Finally, plea bargaining may be an option. In many cases, particularly for first-time offenders, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea to less serious charges or even have the charges dropped.
If you need help with an assault charge in Colorado Springs, we can help. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.