Denver Assault Lawyer

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Denver Assault Attorney

In many instances, assault is a perceived threat to another person. In Colorado, however, the legal definition of assault is unlawful and deliberate contact that results in injury to another person. If you are accused of assault in Denver, CO, your career and well-being are very likely to be threatened as you fight these allegations. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to calmly defend yourself when you are faced with the stress surrounding this type of accusation.

Assault can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Speaking with a skilled defense attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. The Law Center P.C. is dedicated to exceeding our clients’ expectations. We can build an effective defense strategy to obtain a positive outcome for their cases. We accomplish this by leveraging technology and knowledgeable paraprofessionals to ensure efficient use of time. The Law Center P.C. can help you understand the legal process, guiding you through this complex situation until completion.

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What Is Assault?

Colorado law makes a clear distinction between assault and battery. The legal definition of assault is different from that in many other states. It requires contact to be made between the accused and the victim. Examples of assault include actions such as punching, shoving, or kicking a person, with an injury resulting from the action.

Battery, however, refers to using intimidation, threats, or actions that place a person in fear of imminent bodily harm. The term is often used interchangeably with menacing. Examples include yelling at someone, making threatening gestures, or waving a baseball bat. Because battery involves situations where there was no contact, the penalties are often less severe than those arising from an assault charge.

Degrees of Assault

Colorado recognizes three levels of assault. As the severity of the assault increases, so do the associated penalties. The degrees, ranging from least severe to most severe, are:

  • Third Degree
    This is committed when a person recklessly, knowingly, or negligently causes harm to another person while using a deadly weapon. Harassing, annoying, or threatening a police officer can also be charged as third-degree assault.This offense is punished as a Class 1 misdemeanor of extraordinary risk, resulting in a potential sentence of 6 to 24 months. If a first responder, police officer, pregnant person, or other person considered an at-risk adult was the victim of the assault, the six-month sentence becomes mandatory. The fine for third-degree assault will not exceed $5,000.
  • Second Degree
    This type of assault involves the intentional injury of another. It can also include preventing police from doing their duty or causing injury to a police officer. Crimes that involve the use of a deadly weapon, using a substance to drug another, or recklessly causing injury to another can also fall under second-degree assault.Unlike third-degree assault, second-degree assault is classified as a felony. Because assault is considered a crime of violence, the judge is required to give a sentence between the midpoint of the presumptive range and twice the maximum of the presumptive range. This translates to a prison sentence of 5 to 16 years. The fine for second-degree assault will not exceed $500,000.
  • First Degree
    This form of assault is the most serious. It occurs when an individual causes serious and intentional harm to another while using a deadly weapon. The distinction of serious harm carries a potential risk of disfigurement, permanent bodily impairment, or death. It is also done with extreme indifference to the value of human life. In many cases, this charge is used when the aggression was targeted toward a police officer or first responder.First-degree assault is also a felony and follows similar sentencing requirements as second-degree assault. The judge must choose a sentence that falls within the midpoint of the presumptive range and twice the maximum of the possible sentences. This results in a potential prison sentence of 10 to 32 years. The fine for first-degree assault can be up to $750,000.

Charges Associated With Assault

Depending on the specific circumstances of the assault, several additional charges can be filed. Some of the more commonly associated charges include:

  • Domestic Assault
    When an assault occurs against a family member, spouse, or resident of the defendant’s household, the crime is considered domestic assault.
  • Assault With a Deadly Weapon
    This charge is added when the crime involves a knife, gun, or any other object designed with the intent of injuring or killing another person.
  • Crime of Passion
    If the assault was a crime of passion, it can significantly increase the charges against the defendant. An example would be assaulting a romantic partner as revenge for wrongdoing in a relationship.
  • Vehicular Assault
    If a vehicle is used in place of, or in addition to, a deadly weapon, the charges will be adjusted to include vehicular assault. This will typically include the addition of reckless driving as well.
  • Aggravated Assault
    This charge is a distinction made based on the specifics of the assault. This enhancer can be added to both first- and second-degree assault charges.
  • Battery/Menacing
    The legal definition of menacing is when a person puts someone else in fear of being hurt. The charge also applies if they brandish an object meant to look like a deadly weapon.

Possible Defenses Against Assault Charges

The burden of proof relies on the prosecution in a criminal trial. This means they are responsible for proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, every element of an assault in your case. Common elements that must be proven in an assault case are intention and imminent harm. The defendant must have intended for their behavior or actions to create an injury. The victim’s injuries must also be an instant response to an impending risk of harm or a threat. Therefore, there are a few defense strategies that can be especially successful in an assault case.

A skilled defense attorney can examine your case and determine the most effective defense strategy. They may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed before a trial even begins. If your case does progress to trial, they can craft a defense that appeals to the jurors and results in a not-guilty verdict.

FAQs About Denver, CO Assault Law

Do I Need a Criminal Defense Attorney If I Am Accused of Assault?

You have the legal right to defend yourself or potentially have a public defender take your case. However, these may not be the safest options to ensure a good outcome. An experienced defense attorney has prior exposure to assault cases. They may already have potential ideas for how to approach your case. Their skill and professionalism can help you feel at ease while their talented team builds your defense.

Is Assault a Misdemeanor or a Felony?

Depending on the severity of the assault, it may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The least serious offense, assault in the third degree, is the only type of misdemeanor assault. Second- and first-degree assaults are more severe and result in significantly harsher penalties. Part of your defense strategy may well be reducing a second- or first-degree assault charge to a third-degree assault charge.

How Long Will You Be Incarcerated for Assault in Colorado?

The penalties for being convicted of assault depend on the type and severity of the charge, as well as some of the circumstances of the case. If the assault is considered a misdemeanor in the third degree, incarceration can range from 6 to 24 months. Alternatively, if the crime is considered a felony, such as assault in the first degree, the defendant faces between 10 and 32 years of incarceration.

How Much Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost in Colorado?

Generally, defense attorneys will charge an hourly rate between $250 and $500. An attorney’s specific costs will be dependent upon

  • Their level of experience
  • The complexity of your case
  • Their legal knowledge in the area

Although the cost of a skilled attorney may seem high, their knowledge will usually prove invaluable, resulting in the most positive outcome for your case.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Assault?

The statute of limitations for an assault depends on the severity of the charge. Prosecutors have up to three years to bring felony assault charges. However, the prosecutor only has 18 months to file if the assault charges are a misdemeanor. If the victim would like to file a civil suit against the defendant, they generally have 1 year from the date of the assault.

Defending Against Assault Charges

If you or a loved one is facing assault charges, you should immediately create a plan to handle them. A felony assault conviction can result in up to 32 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000. It will take an attorney applying both strong ability and thorough legal knowledge to potentially get your charges dismissed or reduced to a misdemeanor. The Law Center P.C. has experienced Denver defense attorneys ready to help you through this complex and uncertain time. Contact our office today to move forward in this process and begin planning your defense.

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