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Charged with Assault? Make Sure You Know the Facts

By on Dec 12, 2011 in Blog, Boulder Colorado Law Advice Blogs | 0 comments

Hand bringing down a gavelAssault is one of the most common charges in Colorado. It’s important to understand the differences between first, second, and third degree assault and consult a Boulder criminal defense attorney who can counsel you on what defenses are available.

First, Second, and Third Degree Assault—What’s The Difference?

Third Degree Assault—by far the most common of the three—is defined as “knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person.” Though it’s a First Degree Misdemeanor, as an extraordinary risk crime it can carry a maximum sentence of two years in county jail. (It’s important to note that in some rare instances, a definition based on accidentally causing injury with a deadly weapon is used instead.)

If you are convicted of Second Degree Assault, the situation is much more serious. As a Fourth Degree Felony, this charge carries a mandatory prison sentence of five years. Below are the definitions a jury uses to determine whether a person will be found guilty of Second Degree Assault. If the District Attorney convinces the jury the defendant is guilty of any of the following actions, the sentence could be up to eight years in prison.

1. The Defendant intentionally caused bodily injury to another by the use of a deadly weapon.
2. The Defendant recklessly caused serious bodily injury to another by the use of a deadly weapon.
3. The Defendant intended to cause any injury, and caused serious injury.
4. The Defendant caused injury to anyone while intentionally trying to hinder the police or firefighters.
5. The Defendant knowingly applied violent force to (certain) government officials.
6. The Defendant intentionally drugged someone without their consent / knowledge.

First Degree Assault is the most serious charge of all three, and, as a class three felony, (as well as an extraordinary risk crime) it carries a sentencing range from 4 to 16 years in prison. Since the judge must sentence a defendant to at least as high as the midpoint of this range, he or she must impose at least 10 years in prison for the defendant. The definitions for First Degree Assault are as follows:

1. The Defendant intended to cause serious injury, and does in fact cause serious injury.
2. The Defendant intended to, and in fact did, seriously disfigure or disable another person.
3. The Defendant, acting with “extreme indifference to the value of human life,” knowingly created a grave risk of death, and by doing so caused serious bodily injury.
4. The Defendant threatened a police officer, firefighter, judge, or prison staff with a deadly weapon and in doing so caused serious injury.

How Can a Boulder Lawyer Help Me?

Phil Clark is an experienced criminal defense attorney who can provide you with a knowledgeable and aggressive defense. Contact a Colorado lawyer now and bring this expertise to your case.

If “Heat of Passion” is a factual circumstance of the offense, there can be exceptions. “Heat of Passion” means that the person charged with assault was provoked by another person, and as a result the judge can decide not to send the person to prison.

Self Defense is another defense against an assault charge. If the person charged with assault presents evidence that demonstrates they used violent force in order to protect themselves from the alleged victim, it could remove their case from a mandatory prison sentence. It’s important to note that the Defendant is only allowed to use as much force as is justified to defend him or herself—for example, they can’t fatally stab someone to avoid being hit.

The sentence will also depend on how “aggravated” or “mitigated” the actions of the defendant were. If their actions seem especially aggressive or mean-spirited to the judge, they are more likely to result in jail or prison sentences than acts that are smaller or provoked. It’s important to know which Boulder lawyers can meet your needs.

Call a Boulder criminal attorney today to discuss your situation and all possible options. Though there are many Boulder attorneys to choose from, the law offices of Phil Clark can provide you with competent and caring service while you explore all your options. To contact Boulder lawyer Phil Clark, or for more information on Boulder law firms, go to

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