Third Degree Assault Attorneys in Colorado Springs
Being charged with a crime, regardless of the details, can leave a person with a sinking feeling. Indeed, being arrested and facing criminal penalties often means the possibility of jail time and large fines, and even more severe consequences–such as a long-term prison sentence–in some cases. An arrest on one’s record can also be damaging to their personal reputation, and affect other elements of their life, such as their ability to maintain custody of their children.
Being charged with a violent crime can be even more nerve-wracking, as violent crimes are often prosecuted more harshly than are non-violent crimes. If you are facing charges for third-degree assault in Colorado, our skilled criminal defense lawyers at the law firm of Anderson & Carnahan Attorneys at Law are here to defend you and protect your best interests. Call our law firm today to learn how we can help.
What Is Assault?
Generally speaking, assault refers to the crime of attempting to cause bodily injury to, or actually causing bodily injury to, another person with intent. While the specific definition of assault varies on a state-by-state basis, in Colorado, state statute puts acts of assault into three different categories: first-degree assault, second-degree assault, and third-degree assault. Of these, first-degree assault is the most serious, and third-degree assault is the least serious. However, while the penalties for third-degree assault may be less severe than they are for first-degree assault, make no mistake – third-degree assault is still a crime, and a conviction will be reflected on one’s criminal record.
What Is Third-Degree Assault?
Assault in the third degree is defined in Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-3-204. According to the statute, a person commits an act of assault in the third degree if:
- They knowingly or recklessly cause bodily injury to another person with criminal negligence or with the use of a deadly weapon; or
- They cause someone else whom they know to be–or should reasonably know to be–a peace officer, firefighter, emergency responder, or medical provider to come into contact with a hazardous substance, including (but not limited to) vomit or blood, by any means.
It is typically the first definition above that is most applicable in a third-degree assault case. Important words in the statute to consider when understanding a charge of third-degree assault and building a defense include knowingly and recklessly, criminal negligence, and the use of a deadly weapon.
Penalties for Third-Degree Assault in Colorado
As stated above, a third-degree assault conviction is penalized less harshly than is a first- or second-degree conviction for assault. Per the same section of the statute cited above, assault in the third degree is a Class 1 misdemeanor crime and is also an “extraordinary risk crime.” This means that the ordinary penalty for a Class 1 misdemeanor crime is increased by six months, as the misdemeanor offense is considered to “present an extraordinary risk of harm to society” (Section 18-1.3-501(3)(a)). As such, the potential incarceration period for a conviction of third-degree assault is up to two years. In addition to up to two years in jail, the convicted person may also face a fine of up to $5,000. In some cases, both penalties can be levied.
Defending Yourself Against Charges
Facing criminal charges is scary, especially if the possibility of going to jail for up to two years exists. In order to best protect yourself and defend yourself against charges, it is strongly recommended that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. At the office of Anderson & Carnahan Attorneys at Law, our lawyers will work hard to start building your defense immediately. Potential defenses to third-degree assault charges include:
- Self-defense. One of the most common and effective defenses to assault charges is self-defense. In order for a claim of self-defense to be effective, you must be able to prove that you reasonably believed yourself or another person to be in danger of bodily injury, and that you used the degree of force that was reasonable to protect yourself.
- Lack of intent. Remember, in order for the prosecution to secure a conviction against you, they must be able to prove that you intended to harm another person – that you acted knowingly and recklessly. You may be able to offer evidence that you acted without either – i.e. you made a mistake, or that you acted negligently, but not recklessly. By proving that the injuries suffered to the other party were accidental, you cannot be convicted.
- That the assault didn’t happen. Finally, if you weren’t involved in any sort of physical altercation with the person who is accusing you of such, you may be able to present evidence showing that the assault didn’t happen and that you have been falsely accused. The supposed victim of the crime may have had an ulterior motive to make a false accusation against you – our attorneys can help you to gather evidence and prove your case.
Why You Need a Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer on Your Side
Regardless of the charges that a person is facing, hiring a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible is strongly advised. A criminal defense attorney can review the prosecution’s evidence against the defendant, assess and gather evidence, construct a viable defense, advise the defendant of their options and rights, and protect the defendant’s best interests and Constitutional rights both in and out of the courtroom. Working with an attorney usually results in a better case outcome for a person who is facing criminal charges. Even if convicted of the charges, the attorney may be able to negotiate with the prosecution or present evidence to the court that results in a less severe criminal sentence.
Call Anderson & Carnahan Attorneys at Law Today
If you have been charged with third-degree assault in Colorado, don’t wait any longer to call a skilled Colorado criminal defense attorney and start the process of defending yourself. To learn more about our legal services and how our attorneys can serve you, please call our law office directly today at (719) 473-9099, send us a message, or visit our Colorado Springs office in person. We offer free consultations.