What Constitutes First-Degree Assault in Colorado?

Sometimes, interactions between people escalate. Sometimes they become physical, and sometimes, getting into a physical confrontation with someone else results in criminal assault charges.

Furthermore, who you assault often plays a big role in how you’re charged. Recently, KKTV’s “Monday’s Most Wanted” highlights several Coloradans facing a laundry list of charges, such as second-degree assault against a peace officer and assault with a deadly weapon.

While the circumstances of each case are different, and anyone charged with a crime is considered innocent until proven guilty, here in Colorado, there are three primary types of assault charges.

Here’s what anyone charged with an assault needs to know about each of them and the penalties they may face upon conviction.

Third-Degree Assault

This is the least serious assault charge that can be faced in Colorado. It is perpetrated when someone negligently, recklessly, or knowingly causes injury to another with the use of a deadly weapon.

It can also be charged if someone puts a firefighter, emergency medical worker, or police officer into contact with a hazardous fluid or bodily fluid as well as threatening, harassing, injuring, or annoying them knowingly with a dangerous substance.

This is normally charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor, which means it is punishable by up toto 18 months in jail or 24 months the assault was an act of domestic violence. If the crime is perpetrated on a peace officer, then the penalties can be harsher – up to two times the sentence or fine imposed.

Second-Degree Assault

Second-degree assault can be charged when someone causes bodily injury to another person intentionally by means of a deadly weapon or causes bodily harm or injury intentionally to a protected employee or peace officer while they are performing their duties.

Second-degree assault is also often charged in cases where someone knowingly or recklessly causes the serious bodily injury of another person without the use of a deadly weapon.

Second-degree assault is often charged as a Class 6 felony if it’s considered a crime of passion, but in cases where it’s been determined not to be a crime of passion, it is charged as a Class 4 felony. This can result in up to 16 years in prison and fines of $500,000.

First-Degree Assault

First-degree assault is the most serious assault charges you can face. It occurs when someone causes serious bodily injury to another person, usually by the use of a deadly weapon.

It also can be charged when the assault is perpetrated against a protected employee or police officer while they are performing their official duties.

In most cases, the perpetrator intended to cause serious bodily injury. However, there are instances in which prosecutors determine it’s a crime of passion. In these cases, it can be charged as a Class 5 felony.

In other circumstances, it’s charged as a Class 3 felony and is considered a crime of violence. That means that the sentence imposed by the judge mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, with a potential maximum sentence of 32 years.

You can spend up to 24 years in prison for first-degree assault and be required to pay fines of as much as $750,000 if found guilty.

Colorado Springs Assault Defense Lawyer

Being charged with any level of assault can have a big impact on your future, so make sure to understand the laws that apply in your case as well as your legal rights in court to make sure you have the best outcome.


About the Author:

Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.