Fights and brawls happen all the time. Two tough guys may square off in a bar. One person cuts another off in traffic and they both pull over and get into an altercation. A boyfriend and girlfriend may get into an argument that quickly escalates with one laying a hand on the other. Assault and battery cases are among the most common violent crimes that take place in Colorado. While there are many variations of the crime, all can lead to potentially serious fines, jail time and prison sentences if you do not take every possible action to legally defend yourself.

The difference between assault and battery

Assault is defined as an intentional act that causes a person to fear that they are about to suffer harm. It recognizes that placing another person in fear of being physically harmed is an act that deserves to be punished, even if the potential victim is not actually harmed.

Battery was once considered a separate crime from assault and was defined as the actual physical act of completing an assault on another person. However, over time, the laws defining the two crimes have tended to merge together so that now “assault and battery” are considered a single act that may just be referred to as assault when an actual case of physical violence takes place.

Unfortunately, when police officers arrive on the scene of an assault, the person who won the fight many times gets stuck with the assault charge. The scene is usually chaotic and witnesses will probably be friends or associates of the persons who are still at the scene, which is many times the one who is the most injured. As a result, officers can get a highly biased account of what actually happened. Even when both sides give their versions, it’s up to the officer to decide which side to believe. When someone looks like more of a victim, they may end up being the winner, even though they may have been the instigator.

There are many kinds of assault charges

You can face many different types of assault and battery charges in Colorado. The particular one that you face will depend on the circumstances of your alleged crime.

First-degree assault

The most serious of all assault charges, you will be charged with first-degree assault if you:

  • intend to cause serious bodily injury to another person or if you actually cause serious bodily injury to another person through the use of a deadly weapon
  • intend to disfigure another person seriously and permanently, or if you intend to amputate or destroy a vital organ
  • engage in conduct that results in extreme indifference to human life, putting another person in grave risk of death or serious bodily injury
  • intend to cause or threaten a peace officer or firefighter with bodily injury during the performance of his or her duties
  • intend to cause serious bodily injury to a judge of a court, an officer of the court or a detention facility employee
  • commit an assault during a “heat of passion”

Second-degree assault

You can be charged with second-degree assault if you:

  • commit bodily injury to another person while using a deadly weapon
  • prevent a peace officer or firefighter from performing a lawful duty
  • recklessly cause serious bodily injury to another person by using a deadly weapon
  • intentionally drug someone without their consent, causing stupor or some other form of mental or physical impairment

Third-degree assault

This is a class 1 misdemeanor and the only assault charge that is not a felony. It is commonly the charge in minor physical altercations where there are no apparent injuries but there is some degree of physical pain. It is often the charge in cases of domestic violence, when one spouse may claim that the other one pushed or shoved them.

Vehicular assault

Just as the name implies, it is a felony for a driver to operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol in a reckless manner that can cause bodily injury to another person.

Assault on the elderly or persons with disabilities.

When an assault takes place on a person who is 60 years or older or someone who meets the definition of disabled, there are enhanced penalties attached to the crime because Colorado views that older adults and the disabled are not fully able to protect themselves.

Sexual assault

There are many kinds of sexual assault that a person can be charged with. These crimes receive extra scrutiny from law enforcement officials and as a result can mean long prison sentences as well as having to register as a sex offender which will follow you around for the rest of your life.

Aggravated assault

Assaults are classified as either simple or aggravated. It depends on the level of severity of the harm that takes place or is likely to take place. Slapping someone across the face will be treated differently than purposely attempting to run them down with a car. Aggravated assault is a felony and may involve the use of a weapon or an intent of committing a more serious crime during the commission of an assault. For example, a person may threaten to strike another for the purpose of robbing or raping them.

All of these types of assaults can be complicated and require diligent investigation to uncover the facts, especially those that may have been overlooked by the police during the initial incident. At Decker & Jones, we are experienced in processing additional tests of the evidence and making sure it is properly analyzed and admissible in a court of law.

Penalties for assault and battery convictions

Although every assault and battery case is different, you can face serious consequences depending on
which type of assault you are convicted of.

First-degree assault

is a felony that can be punished by up to 24 years in prison and a $750,000 fine.

Second-degree assault

is a felony that can be punished by up to 12 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Third-degree assault

is a misdemeanor that can be punished by up to six months in jail.

Vehicular assault

is a class 4 felony that can be punished by up to 12 years in prison if aggravating circumstances are present. It should be noted there are several differences between a DUI charge and a vehicular assault charge.

Contact Decker & Jones if you have been charged with assault and battery

There are many different types of assault laws on the books in Colorado. However, each one has the possibility of impacting your life dramatically if you are convicted. Because many assault charges carry a mandatory prison sentence, to give yourself the best chance of winning an assault case, you need to contact Decker & Jones as soon as possible.

Depending on your circumstances, we can employ several possible defense strategies including self-defense, entrapment, justification (when an assault is necessary to avoid imminent danger or injuries), a lack of intent to cause harm, and several others. However, it is imperative that you contact us as soon as possible so that we can begin because the process of evidence collection may take time but is an important step required to give you the best possible chance of maintaining your freedom.

At Decker & Jones, we have nearly 50 years of combined legal experience and have provided people with compassionate and comprehensive legal services as they fight serious charges such as these. We will thoroughly evaluate your case and provide you with the best possible legal options for your situation.

Contact us today at Denver office at 303-573-5253 or by filling out our online contact form for a free consultation to see how we can put our skills and experience to work for you.

Assault and Battery Statutes

Have you been charged with one of the following? Click the statute numbers for more info. We understand that the wording can be confusing, so feel free to call Decker & Jones today for your complimentary consultation.