In Colorado, felony assault is a charge of assault that is a felony, rather than a misdemeanor. An assault involves intentionally or even recklessly hurting someone. Felony assaults often involve deadly weapons. Four instances where assault is charged as a felony include:
- First-degree assault (CRS 18-3-202), a Class 3 felony,
- Second-degree assault (CRS 18-3-203), a Class 4 felony,
- Vehicular assault (CRS 18-3-205), a Class 5 felony, and
- Vehicular assault while driving under the influence (CRS 18-3-205(1)(b)), a Class 4 felony.
The crimes of felony assault in Colorado
In Colorado, assault is the crime of hurting someone else. It can be done intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly. It can also involve the use of a deadly weapon, like a:
- Knife, or
Colorado divides assaults into 3 degrees. They cover assaults without vehicles. Only the first 2 degrees are felonies. The third is a misdemeanor offense.
In addition to these felony assaults, there are also vehicular assaults. A vehicular assault comes with higher penalties if it involves a DUI, as well.
First-degree assault under CRS 18-3-202
First-degree assault is the most severe. It usually involves intentionally causing a serious injury with a deadly weapon. It can also include causing a severe injury after knowingly putting someone else in a grave risk of death. It can also involve threatening an emergency responder with a deadly weapon.
An assault in the first-degree is a Class 3 felony. A conviction carries:
- Between 4 and 12 years in jail, and
- At least $3,000 in fines.
Second-degree assault under CRS 18-3-203
A second-degree assault either:
- Intentionally causes a serious injury without using a deadly weapon, or
- Recklessly causes a serious injury, using a deadly weapon.
Assaults in the second-degree are also felonies. They are Class 4 felonies that can carry the following penalties for a conviction:
- Between 2 and 6 years in jail, and
- At least $2,000 in fines.
Vehicular assault under CRS 18-3-205
Vehicular assault involves seriously hurting someone while driving recklessly.
In order to seriously hurt someone, their injuries have to include:
- A substantial risk of death, permanent disfigurement, or protracted impairment,
- Broken bones, or
- Burns of at least the second degree.
Vehicular assault is a Class 5 felony. Convictions carry:
- Between 1 and 3 years in jail, and
- At least $1,000 in fines.
Vehicular assault with DUI
A vehicular assault under CRS 18-3-205 is worse if you were under the influence. If the crash was caused by your inebriated driving, it becomes a Class 4 felony. Penalties include:
- Between 2 and 6 years in prison, and
- A minimum of $2,000 in fines.
The sudden heat of passion defense to an assault charge
There are legal defenses to a first-degree or second-degree assault charge. One of them is that you only acted in the sudden heat of passion.
The sudden heat of passion defense does not acquit you of an assault charge. It can, however, reduce the sentence. It lowers the severity of the crime by 2 classes. The defense does not turn a felony assault charge into a misdemeanor, though. Instead, it turns:
- A first-degree assault charge from a Class 3 felony into a Class 5 felony, and
- A second-degree assault charge from a Class 4 felony into a Class 6 felony.
Assaults that are not felonies
There are some assault charges that are not felonies. There are other assault charges that can be felonies, but are not always felonies.
While less severe than felony offenses, these charges are still serious.
Third-degree assault under CRS 18-3-204
Third-degree assault is the least severe type of assault. It knowingly or recklessly hurts someone else. It can also involve hurting someone else with a deadly weapon through criminal negligence.
Assault in the third degree is a Class 1 misdemeanor, the most severe type of misdemeanor.
Domestic violence assault under CRS 18-6-801
Domestic violence assault can be a felony, but is not always one. An assault becomes a domestic violence assault if the victim is in an intimate relationship with the defendant.
If the assault charge behind the domestic violence crime is in the first or second degree, it will be a felony. If it is a third-degree assault charge, it will only be a misdemeanor.