Colorado Assault and Battery Laws

In Colorado, assault is generally defined as knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person, while battery (identified as “menacing”) is defined as knowingly causing a person to fear imminent serious bodily injury through threat or physical action. Read on to learn more about specific degrees of assault and battery in Colorado.

(Colo. Rev. Stat. § § 18-3-202, 18-3-206.)

Misdemeanor vs. Felony Assault and Battery

In Colorado, assault charges are classified as first, second or third degree assault, depending on the actions taken and the seriousness of the results.

First degree assault

First degree assault occurs when a person intentionally causes serious bodily injury, often by use or threat of use of a  deadly weapon, and often against a peace officer or other protected employee in the performance of his or her duties. When considered a crime of passion, it is charged as a Class 5 felony. Otherwise, it is considered a Class 3 felony. In Colorado, first degree assault is a crime of violence, meaning that the judge must sentence the defendant to a term of incarceration of at least the midpoint in, but not more than twice the maximum of, the presumptive range provided.

(Colo. Rev. Stat. § § 18-3-202, 18-1.3-401, 18-1.3-406.)

Second degree assault

Second degree assault occurs when a person intentionally causes bodily injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon, intentionally causes bodily injury to a peace officer or other protected employee to prevent him or her from performing his or her duties, recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous substance, or intentionally causes serious bodily injury to another person. When deemed a crime of passion it is charged as a Class 6 felony. Otherwise, it is considered a Class 4 felony. In Colorado, second degree assault is a crime of violence, meaning that the judge must sentence the defendant to a term of incarceration of at least the midpoint in, but not more than twice the maximum of, the presumptive range provided.

(Colo. Rev. Stat. § § 18-3-203, 18-1.3-401, 18-1.3-406.)

Third degree assault

Third degree assault occurs when a person knowingly, recklessly, or through criminal negligence causes bodily injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon; or when they knowingly threaten, annoy, harass or injure a peace officer or other protected employee with a dangerous substance. Third degree assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, if the crime is directed at a peace officer or other protected employee, harsher penalties can be imposed, up to twice the minimum sentence and/or fine.

(Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-3-204.)

Menacing

Menacing occurs when a person, by threat or physical action, knowingly places or attempts to place another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. Menacing is a Class 3 misdemeanor, but it is a Class 5 felony if it involves the use or threatened use of a deadly weapon. This includes items designed to look like and displayed as deadly weapons (replica guns, rubber knives), in addition to verbal or physical representations that the one is armed with a deadly weapon.

(Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-3-206.)

Penalties for Assault and Battery in Colorado

Charge

Classification

Penalty

Assault: First and Second Degree

Felony

Class 3: $3,000 to $750,000 in fines; 4 to 12 years incarceration

Class 4: $2,000 to $500,000 in fines; 2 to 6 years incarceration

Class 5: $1,000 to $100,000 in fines; 1 to 3 years incarceration

Class 6: $1,000 to $100,000 in fines; 1 to 1.5 years incarceration

Assault: Third Degree

Misdemeanor

Class 1: $500 to $5,000 in fines; 6 to 18 months incarceration

Menacing

Misdemeanor

Class 3: $50 to $750 in fines; up to 6 months incarceration

Menacing: Deadly Weapon

Felony

Class 5: $1,000 to $100,000 in fines; 1 to 3 years incarceration

(Colo. Rev. Stat. § § 18-3-202, 18-3-203, 18-1.3-401, 18-1.3-406, 18-1.3-501.)

Plea Options for Assault and Battery in Colorado

Plea arrangements are possible throughout the Colorado justice system. Because the severity of the penalties for assault and menacing are often based on the intent of the offender, it is often effective to prove lack of intent or that the crime was one of passion. In those situations, offenders may receive a lesser charge or shorter sentence if they are willing to plead guilty to a crime without intent.

Get Legal Help

Defendants facing these charges should seek the counsel of a skilled Colorado defense attorney to guide them through the criminal court process. A seasoned attorney can safeguard the defendant’s rights and provide an effective defense.

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