Crimes Against Persons

Many crimes against persons charges are felonies and can involve the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence. In addition to court-imposed penalties, convictions can have long-term impacts on employment, family, and residential rights, as well as triggering adverse out-of-country travel restrictions and immigration consequences. Even if an alleged crime is strictly verbal in nature, sometimes just creating the risk of harm may be enough to result in charges being filed. That’s why it is vital to have an attorney representing you who understands all the nuances of crimes against persons laws and can decide on the best course of action in your specific circumstances.

At Decker and Jones, we are trial tested, and courtroom accomplished. Contact us to set up a free and confidential consultation and case evaluation, and find out how we can help you navigate through this complicated area of the law.

We have represented numerous defendants in the following areas:

1st Degree Murder

The crime of 1st-degree murder is one of the most serious of all charges. A person can be charged with murder in the first degree if they deliberately intend to cause death of another person and then actually cause the death of that person or another.

Specific instances where a charge of murder in the first degree may apply also include:

  • If a person attempts to commit or actually commits a felony acting alone or with others, and cause a death during the commission of that crime.
  • If they commit perjury and that causes the conviction and execution of any innocent person.
  • If a person acts with universal malice, manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life generally, and engages in conduct that creates a grave risk of death to another, and the death of another is caused.
  • If a person commits illegal distribution, dispensation, or sale of a controlled substance to a minor on school grounds, and the death of a minor is caused by the controlled substance.
  • If the person causes the death of a child under 12 years old and that person held a position of trust related to the victim.

Murder in the first degree is a class 1 felony.

2nd Degree Murder

A person can be charged with murder in the second degree if the person knowingly causes the death of another.

In most cases, 2nd-degree murder is a class 2 felony.  However, murder in the second degree can be a class 3 felony where the act causing the death occurred in a sudden heat of passion, provoked by the intended victim.

Manslaughter

A person can be charged with manslaughter if they recklessly cause the death of another person, or intentionally cause or aid another person to commit suicide.

Manslaughter is a class 4 felony.

Criminally Negligent Homicide

A person can be charged with criminally negligent homicide if they cause the death of another person by conduct that meets the test for criminal negligence.

Criminally negligent homicide is a class 5 felony.

1st Degree Assault

Depending on the circumstances of the case, a person can be charged with assault in the first degree if:

  • The individual causes serious bodily injury to any person by means of a deadly weapon while acting with the intent to cause serious bodily injury; or,
  • The individual causes disfigurement or permanent disability to another while acting with intent to do so; or,
  • The individual causes serious bodily injury to another while engaging in conduct creating a grave risk of death; or,
  • The individual uses a deadly weapon to threaten a peace officer or firefighter who is acting in his or her official duties and whom the individual should reasonably know is a peace officer or firefighter, while the individual possesses the intent to cause serious bodily injury; or,
  • The individual uses a deadly weapon to threaten a judge or officer of the court who is acting in his or her official duties and whom the individual should reasonably know is a judge or officer of the court, while the individual possesses the intent to cause serious bodily injury

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Generally, 1st-degree assault is a class 3 felony. However, if 1st-degree assault is committed upon a sudden heat of passion, provoked by the intended victim, it can be a class 5 felony.

2nd Degree Assault

A person can be charged with assault in the second degree if:

  • They cause bodily injury to another person using a deadly weapon and possess intent to cause bodily injury
  • They intentionally cause bodily injury to any person while acting with intent to prevent a peace officer or firefighter from performing a lawful duty;
  • They recklessly cause serious bodily injury to another person using a deadly weapon
  • They intentionally cause physical or mental impairment to another person by administering a drug or substance capable of causing physical or mental impairment

A2nd-degree assault charge can be a class 3, 4 or 6 felony.

3rd Degree Assault

A person can be charged with assault in the third degree if they cause bodily injury to another person, or if the individual causes a peace officer, a firefighter, or an emergency medical technician to come into contact with bodily fluids or materials.

Assault in the third degree is a class 1 misdemeanor and is an extraordinary risk crime that is subject to enhanced sentencing requirements.

Vehicular Assault

A person can be charged with vehicular assault if they drive a motor vehicle in a reckless manner, and the individual’s conduct is the proximate cause of serious bodily injury to another.

They can also be charged if they drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and the individual’s conduct causes a serious bodily injury to another.

Vehicular assault is a strict liability crime. If a person is entitled to use one or more drugs under Colorado law, this will not constitute a defense against a vehicular assault charge.

Vehicular assault can be a class 4 or class 5 felony.

Menacing

A person can be charged with menacing if, by any threat or physical action, they place or attempt to place another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.

Menacing can be a class 3 misdemeanor, or it can be a class 5 felony if the use or threat of use of a deadly weapon is involved.

Criminal Extortion and Aggravated Extortion

Depending on the circumstances of the case, a person can be charged with criminal extortion if the individual, possessing the intent to induce another person against the other person’s will to act or refrain from acting, threatens the other person physically, financially, or with regard to their reputation.

A person can also be charged with extortion if the individual, possessing the intent to induce another person against that other person’s will to give the individual money or another item of value, threatens to report to law enforcement officials the immigration status of the threatened person or another person.

Some of the above conduct may be considered aggravated criminal extortion if the individual threatens the use of weapons or harmful substances to bring about the individual’s objective.

Criminal extortion is a class 4 felony. Aggravated criminal extortion is a class 3 felony.

Reckless Endangerment

A person can be charged with reckless endangerment if the individual recklessly engages in conduct creating a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to another person.

Reckless endangerment is a class 3 misdemeanor.

1st Degree Kidnapping

A person can be charged with kidnapping in the first degree if they forcibly seize and carrya person from one place to another. They can also be charged if they entice or persuade another to go from one place to another, or imprisonsomeonewith the intent to force the victim or any other person to make any concession or give up anything of value to secure a release of the victim.

First-degree kidnapping is a class 1 felony if the person kidnapped suffered bodily injury. However, the death penalty will not be available in the state if the person kidnapped was freed alive prior to the conviction of the kidnapper. Otherwise, 1st-degree kidnapping is a class 2 felony.

2nd Degree Kidnapping

A person can be charged with kidnapping in the 2nd degree if they seize and carry any person from one place to another, without his consent and without lawful justification. They can also be charged if they take or entice away any child not belonging to them while intending to keep or conceal the child from his parent or guardian, or with intent to sell, trade, or barter the child.

A2nd-degree kidnapping can be a class 2, 3 or 4 felony.

Coercion of Involuntary Servitude

A person can be charged with coercion of involuntary servitude if they coerce another person to perform labor or services by:

  • withholding or threatening to destroy documents relating to a person’s immigration status
  • threatening to notify law enforcement officials that a person is present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws
  • threatening serious harm or physical restraint against that person or another person
  • means of a scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause the person to believe that, if the person does not perform the labor or services, he or she or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint; or, abusing or threatening abuse of law or the legal process

An individual can commit coercion of involuntary servitude regardless of whether the individual provides compensation to the person who is coerced.

Coercion of involuntary servitude is a class 6 felony.

Stalking

A person can be charged with stalking if they make a credible threat to another person and, in connection with the threat, repeatedly follow, approach, contact, or placethemselves or anyone they have had a continuing relationship with under surveillance.

Stalking charges can also be filed if a person makes a credible threat to another person and, in connection with the threat, repeatedly makes any form of communication with that person, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship, regardless of whether a conversation ensues.

Charges may also be filed if a person repeatedly follows, approaches, contacts, places under surveillance, or makes any form of communication with another person, a member of that person’s immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to suffer serious emotional distress.

Stalking is a class 5 felony for a first offense. However, if at the time of the offense there was a court order in effect against the individual that prohibited certain behavior, stalking can be a class 4 felony.Stalking can also be a class 4 felony upon a second or subsequent offense.

False Imprisonment

A person can be charged with false imprisonment if they confine or detain another person without that person’s consent.

False imprisonment is a class 2 misdemeanor, but it can be a class 5 felony if the individual uses force or threat of force to confine or detain the other person, and the other person is detained for 12 hours or longer.