Colorado law has specific legal penalties for people who commit assault. The types of charges that an alleged assailant might face depend on a number of factors explored below. Also, mitigating circumstances might reduce the punishment in some cases while aggravating ones will likely increase the punishment.
How is “assault” defined under Colorado law?
The types of assault per Colorado law divide into categories based on the type of attack, the severity of the attack and sometimes the victim of the attack. Regarding the severity of the attack, Colorado has three levels: first-degree assault, second-degree assault and third-degree assault.
First degree is the most severe level of assault charge. The criteria for the first and second degree take into account the knowledge of the criminal act and the intent to cause “serious bodily injury.” Third-degree assault, considered the least serious type of assault, is appropriate in cases where no intent to cause harm can be determined on the part of the accused. If the legal strategy in an assault case is to fight the charge, a Colorado defense attorney may help a client during plea deal negotiations to lower the degree of the charge.
Additional penalties for assault in Colorado
Because of the potential lethal harm of assault with a vehicle, Colorado law allows for harsher punishment in instances when a car is used as a weapon. Similarly, assaulting an elderly Colorado resident carries greater penalties.
Legal defenses in assault cases
Not all events that result in bodily injury are crimes. For example, under Colorado law, assaults that occur as a means of self-defense or in the legitimate execution of law enforcement are generally not grounds for an assault case.
Prosecutors usually have some discretion in how they charge assault individuals under Colorado law. When the defendant is facing harsh penalties, a strong legal defense may be able to challenge the charges to avoid lengthy, unjust prison sentences or excessive fines.