Assault is a serious crime in Colorado. Upon conviction for assault, penalties range from 3 to 24 years in prison depending on the specific nature of the crime.
What exactly constitutes "assault"? Colorado law carefully defines three types of assault crimes:
- First degree assault
- Second degree assault
- Third degree assault
All three assault crimes require that a perpetrator act "knowingly" or "intentionally" when causing injury to a person. That requirement, along with other factors, could provide the means for a successful defense of the charge.
Defending an assault charge
To gain a conviction, the state must prove every element of its case. If the prosecutor can't do that, it could result in a not guilty verdict, dismissal of the charge, or induce the prosecutor to offer a satisfactory plea deal. Let's look at how a defense attorney could attempt to overcome an assault charge.
Knowledge or intent - Did the accused "knowingly" or "intentionally" injure or attempt to injure another person? In some cases, the answer to this question can be one of perception. To be successful, a defense attorney need not actually disprove knowledge or intent, but only show that the evidence presented by the prosecutor fails to meet the critical threshold of "beyond a reasonable doubt".
Identity of the assailant - Depending on the facts of the case, the defense could attempt to show that the police arrested the wrong person.
Self-defense or defense of others - In some cases, this can prove an effective means of defeating an assault charge.
A savvy defense lawyer will carefully examine all of the facts surrounding the case, including the sequence of events that led up the the alleged assault. Just one fact or nuance could result in a positive outcome for the defendant. If you or a loved one has been charge with assault in Colorado, get legal help as soon as possible.