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Understanding Colorado's assault laws

Assault charges can be classified in three degrees in Colorado. There are also different types of assault, such as assault on a disabled or elderly person or vehicular assault.

The degree of harm that an alleged victim suffers is what determines whether an assault is classified as first-, second- or third-degree. In order for someone to be charged with first-degree assault, an intent to cause "serious bodily injury" must be present. For second-degree assault, the intent must be to commit "bodily injury." For third-degree assault, there does not have to be an intent to harm the alleged victim, but the person either recklessly or knowingly caused harm or acted negligently with a deadly weapon and caused harm.

The penalties for a conviction on an assault charge can be quite serious. Both first- and second-degree assault charges are felonies. First-degree assault can result in up to $750,000 in fines and up to 24 years in prison. Second-degree assault can result in up to $500,000 in fines and up to 12 years in prison. Third-degree assault is a misdemeanor and a conviction can result in up to six months in jail.

If you or someone you love is currently facing charges for assault, it is important to learn as much as you can about the prosecution's case and the charges against you. An attorney can help you develop a strong defense to the charges. Should the prosecution offer a plea bargain, your attorney can also help you decide if accepting the plea bargain is in your best interests or if it is something you should reject.

Source: FindLaw, "Colorado Assault Laws," accessed Feb. 23, 2017

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