The Denver assault lawyers of Colorado Legal Defense Group fight to get your assault charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense.
Prosecutors know that police sometimes arrest the wrong person. In many cases, the defendant was lawfully defending him- or herself from the accuser.
Our Denver assault attorneys champion your side of the story. And we aggressively negotiate with the district attorney in pursuit of the most favorable resolution possible in your case.
What is considered assault in Colorado?
Colorado law defines assault as “causing bodily injury to another person.”1 Assault ranges from a simple push, shove, or slap to punching, kicking, shooting, stabbing, or strangling.
Assault is a more serious crime than menacing (CRS 18-3-206). Whereas assault requires physical contact, menacing is just causing someone to fear imminent bodily injury.2
Example: A gang member in the Denver Metro area throws a brick at a rival gang member. If the brick hits the person, it is an assault. If the brick misses – but the victim believed he or she was about to be hit – then the thrower would face menacing charges.
What are the three levels of assault?
First-degree assault (CRS 18-3-202) is the most serious form of assault. There are six types of behavior that qualify as first-degree assault.
- Intending to cause – and then causing – a “serious bodily injury” to another person.
- Intentionally disfiguring another person “seriously and permanently.”
- Destroying, amputating, or permanently disabling another person’s organ or body part.
- Seriously hurting another person while knowingly engaging in extremely risky behavior, even if there was no intent to injure.
- Using a deadly weapon to threaten serious bodily harm on a police officer. Or
- Intentionally suffocating or strangling another person to cause serious bodily injury.
First-degree assault is generally a class 3 felony and a crime of violence. The sentencing range is:
- 10 to 32 years in Colorado State Prison, and/or
- A fine of $3,000 to $750,000
Also, class 3 felony convictions can never be sealed from the person’s criminal record. That is why it is so important to fight the charge in attempt to get the charge reduced or dismissed.3
Second-degree assault (CRS 18-3-203) is the second-most serious form of assault. It encompasses these eight actions:
- Intentionally injuring someone with a deadly weapon.
- Recklessly causing a serious injury with a deadly weapon.
- Intentionally hurting someone to keep a police officer, firefighter, or EMT from working.
- Intentionally causing a person to sustain a physical or mental impairment. (An example is drugging the person.)
- Knowingly using physical force against a court worker, prison worker, or emergency responder.
- Trying to infect a prison worker or emergency responder by using bodily fluids.
- Causing a serious injury while attempting to inflict a non-serious injury. Or
- Intentionally hurting a person by strangling or suffocating him or her.
Second-degree assault is usually a class 4 felony. The punishment is:
- 2 to 6 years in prison (or 5 to 16 years if a deadly weapon or serious injury was involved), and/or
- A fine of $2,000 to $500,000
Class 4 felony convictions can be sealed three years after the case ends.4
The least serious form of assault, third-degree assault (CRS 18-3-204) comprises three scenarios:
- Knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury.
- Acting with criminal negligence to cause bodily injury by a deadly weapon. Or
- Causing an official to come into contact with bodily fluids or toxic substances by acting with intent to harass or threaten the official.
Third-degree assault is a class 1 misdemeanor and an “extraordinary risk” crime. The penalty range is:
- 6 to 24 months in county jail, such as Denver County Jail, and/or
- A fine of $500 to $5,000
Class 1 misdemeanor convictions can be sealed three years after the case ends.5
What is the penalty for assault in Colorado?
Colorado assault crime
|1st degree||Class 3 felony: |
|2nd degree||Class 4 felony: |
|3rd degree||Class 1 misdemeanor: |
Will I go to jail for first time assault in Colorado?
Prison is mandatory for first degree and second degree assault. But it may be possible to get probation with no jail or a reduced jail sentence for third degree assault. And if our Denver assault lawyers can get the charges reduced or dismissed, there may be no jail sentence at all.
What if there is a DV enhancement?
Defendants face a domestic violence (DV) sentencing enhancement when the alleged assault victim is the defendant’s current or former spouse or dating partner. In these cases, the court would issue a protection order against the defendant. And if the defendant is convicted of assault, he or she may be sentenced to treatment.6
Can you drop assault charges in Colorado?
Possibly. Our Denver assault attorneys conduct a thorough investigation in search of all the weak links in the state’s case. If we can show the prosecutors that their evidence is too faulty to sustain a conviction, they may dismiss the charge.
Perhaps the accusers left voicemails or texts showing their motivation to lie and impeaching their credibility. Maybe an expert witness can show that the victim self-inflicted his or her wounds. Sometimes we can persuade the judge to suppress the state’s evidence if the police may have found it through an illegal search. All of this raises reasonable doubt.
Four of the most common defenses in assault cases are:
- The defendant was acting in lawful self-defense, and the “victim” attacked first.
- The incident was an innocent accident, and the defendant had no criminal intent.
- The defendant was falsely accused (which is common in domestic disputes).
- Law enforcement committed misconduct, such as coercing a confession.
There are also four partial defenses that could get an assault charge reduced to a lesser crime category. These include
- No deadly weapon was involved.
- The defendant had no intent to injure.
- The defendant did not realize the victim was a first responder. Or
- The defendant acted in the sudden heat of passion.
The heat of passion defense can actually get a class 3 felony charge knocked down to a class 5 felony, carrying 1 to 3 years in prison and/or a $1,000 to $100,000 fine. And a class 4 felony assault done in the heat of passion would get reduced to a class 6 felony, carrying one year to 18 months in prison and/or a $1,000 to $100,000 fine.7
Arrested? Our Denver criminal defense attorneys use our years of experience in the justice system to fight for the best possible outcome in your case. We have a long track record in the Denver area of achieving criminal charge reductions or dismissals through negotiation alone. But if necessary, our zealous trial lawyers are prepared to pursue a full acquittal of your criminal matter at jury trial.
Our Denver criminal defense lawyers provide legal services throughout the state of Colorado including Denver County, Lakewood, Westminster, Englewood, Jefferson County, Arapahoe County, Boulder, and more. Our practice areas range from minor misdemeanors to serious felonies such as DUI, theft crimes, drug crimes, child abuse, violent crimes, and sex crimes, including sexual assault. Disclaimer: Results cannot be guaranteed.
- CRS 18-3-202 – 204. See, e.g., People v. Denhartog, 2019 COA 23, 452 P.3d 148.
- CRS 18-3-206. See also People v. Procasky, 2019 COA 181, 467 P.3d 1252.
- CRS 18-3-202. CRS 72-24-701-708. See, e.g, Matt Jablow, Housemate of Aurora cop facing assault charges says he shouldn’t have been hired as police officer, 9 News NBC (August 18, 2021). Defendants face homicide charges when an assault leads to death. See Janet Oravetz, Woman dies weeks after assault, attacker on the loose, 9 News NBC (August 3, 2021).
- CRS 18-3-203. CRS 72-24-701-708.
- CRS 18-3-204. CRS 72-24-701-708.
- CRS 18-1-1001; CRS 18-6-800.3.
- CRS 18-3-202. CRS 18-3-203.