Colorado Assault Laws

The state defines assault as the use of unlawful force or violence to do bodily harm to another person, attempted or successful.

Assault charges in Colorado are categorized into three degrees, with first degree being the most serious and third-degree being the least and most commonly charged:

First-Degree Assault

First-degree assault is when someone intentionally causes serious bodily injury with a deadly weapon or acted with “extreme indifference” to human life and causes serious bodily injury. Deadly weapons include firearms, knives, bludgeons, or any weapon or instrument capable of causing death or serious injury.

Second-Degree Assault

Second-degree assault can also include a deadly weapon but is charged when someone intentionally causes bodily injury that is less severe. The key difference between first and second-degree assault is the degree of harm caused, though both require intent.

Third-Degree Assault

Third-degree assault does not require intent to harm but can be charged if reckless behavior results in bodily injury. This could involve using a deadly weapon if an injury occurred due to negligent behavior or accidentally.

Aggravated Assault and Related Charges

Both first- and second-degree assaults are aggravated offenses classified as felonies.
Assault is distinct from battery (menacing in Colorado), which occurs when someone threatens another person and puts them in fear of bodily injury but doesn’t actually commit harm.

Domestic violence is typically charged as third-degree assault unless aggravating factors are present, such as a deadly weapon or the victim being pregnant.

Colorado Assault & Menacing Penalties

The penalties for a Colorado assault conviction can be tough, especially for first- and second-degree charges as they are felonies:

  • First-Degree Assault: An aggravated class three felony can carry punishments of 10 to 32 years in prison and up to $750,000 in fines.
  • Second-Degree Assault: An aggravated class four felony can bring penalties of five to 16 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines.
  • Third-Degree Assault: A class one misdemeanor with punishments of up to 18 months in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
  • Menacing: A class three misdemeanor or a class five felony if a deadly weapon was used. A misdemeanor menacing can bring up to six months incarceration and up to $750 in fines. A menacing felony can bring up to three years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.

Possible Assault Defenses

If you are charged with assault in Denver, your best option for avoiding the harshest punishment is to come up with a solid defense. The most common defense used for assault is self-defense, which you can claim if you reasonably believed you were about to suffer imminent harm had you not fought back. The use of deadly force for self-defense is narrow and only applies to some cases.

If the charges against you are false or malicious, you may be able to prove that the accusations are untrue and have the charges dismissed. If you can prove that the harm resulting from the incident was accidental, it could save you from the most serious charges or result in a dismissal.


Assault with a Deadly Weapon Dismissed

Client was charged with Felony Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Domestic Battery. Michael prepared the case for trial and presented defenses resulting in all charges being dismissed.

Felony Battery with Serious Injury Dismissed

Michael represented a client charged with Aggravated Felony Battery with Serious Injury and driving without a license. Client was facing an extended prison sentence. Through independent investigation, discovery, and aggressive negotiation, Michael was able to get the felony dismissed.

You Don’t Want an Assault Conviction

An assault conviction could have a long-lasting negative impact on your life. Even if you can avoid jail time or hefty fines, a first-degree assault conviction can’t be expunged. When pursuing employment, housing, or further education, it will appear on future background checks.

Even if you believe the situation was an accident or misunderstanding, avoiding a conviction should be top of mind. It’s wise to contact a Denver assault attorney immediately.

He is relentless to ensure his clients are well taken care of.”

- Cliff T

Call Attorney Fayard ASAP

You shouldn’t try to take on assault charges on your own. You should have a Denver assault lawyer focused on getting your charges reduced or dropped altogether by proving your innocence, providing justification for your actions, or highlighting flaws in the prosecution’s case.

As a former prosecutor, Attorney Fayard knows how to approach assault cases and what it takes to reach the best possible outcome.

To get started, call (303) 990-8585 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation. Attorney Fayard will listen to your story, ask some questions, and then give you an initial assessment of your options. There’s no pressure or demands, just information that can help you deal with an assault charge.