Return to Blog Home

Colorado Law: Is It Assault or Is It Battery?

In Colorado, assault and battery are defined and penalized in different ways… and they might not mean what you think they mean. In fact, technically there is no “battery” in our state.

In this post, we’re going to explain the differences in how these acts are charged and interpreted, and let you know how a strong criminal defense strategy from a Denver lawyer who knows how to get results can help you achieve the best possible outcome.

Assault in Colorado

Assault involves the intentional or reckless causation of bodily injury to another person. In Colorado, assault has three different degrees as described below.

Third degree assault

A person can be charged with third degree assault for the following acts:

  • Knowing, reckless, or criminally negligent acts that cause bodily injury to someone else while using a deadly weapon
  • Knowing acts that are threatening, annoying, harassing, or injuring to a peace officer or protected employee with a specific, dangerous substance

If convicted, a defendant will have a Class 1 misdemeanor charge in most cases. The penalty for a Class 1 misdemeanor is six to 18 months in jail and a fine of $500 to $5,000.

The charge can be elevated for an act committed against a peace officer or protected employee.

Second degree assault

A person can be charged with second degree assault for the following criminal acts:

  • Intentional acts that cause bodily injury to someone else while using a deadly weapon
  • Intentional acts that cause bodily injury to a peace officer or protected employee who is engaged in performing his or her duties, with the purpose of preventing the duties from being performed
  • Reckless acts that cause serious bodily injury to someone else while using a dangerous substance or deadly weapon
  • Intentional acts that cause serious bodily injury to someone else

If the act is determined to be a crime of passion, it is charged as a Class 6 felony. The penalty for a Class 6 felony is one to one-and-a-half years in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $100,000.

Lakewood Assault Attorney

In other cases, it is charged as a Class 4 felony. The penalty for a Class 4 felony is two to six years in prison and a fine of $2,000 to $500,000.

The charge of second degree assault is considered a violent crime. This means that incarceration terms are assigned at least the midpoint of a normal sentence and no more than twice the maximum of the normal range.

First degree assault

A person can be charged with first degree assault for the following criminal acts:

  • Intentional acts that cause serious bodily injury, with or without the use of a deadly weapon
  • Intentional acts that cause serious bodily injury against a peace officer or protected employee when he or she is engaged in performing job duties

If the act is determined to be a crime of passion, it is charged as a Class 5 felony. The penalty for a Class 5 felony is one to three years in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $100,000.

In other cases, it is charged as a Class 3 felony. The penalty for a Class 3 felony is four to 12 years in prison and a fine of $3,000 to $750,000.

The charge of first degree assault is considered a violent crime. This means that incarceration terms are assigned at least the midpoint of a normal sentence and no more than twice the maximum of the normal range.

Battery in Colorado

Battery is actually termed menacing under Colorado law. A person commits menacing by knowingly placing or attempting to place someone else in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. Menacing may or may not involve the use of a deadly weapon or an item displayed as a deadly weapon accompanied by verbal representation that the item is a deadly weapon.

If the act does not involve the use of a deadly weapon, it is a Class 3 misdemeanor. The penalty for a Class 3 misdemeanor is up to six months in jail and a fine of $50 to $750.

If the act does involve the use of a deadly weapon or representation of a deadly weapon, it is a Class 5 misdemeanor. The penalty for a Class 5 misdemeanor is one to three years in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $100,000.

Defenses to Assault or Battery Charges

A skilled lawyer may be able to get your charges reduced or dropped with the following common defenses:

  • Lack of intent to harm
  • False accusation
  • No weapon

Denver Battery Lawyer

  • Self-defense
  • Defense of others
  • Defense of property
  • Execution of public duty
  • Justified choice between two evils
  • Duress
  • Entrapment

Consult with an experienced Colorado defense attorney to know which defensive strategy will work to get your assault or menacing charges reduced or dropped.

 

About the Author:

Since 2005, Jeffrey L. Weeden has been practicing criminal defense law in Colorado and has helped countless clients protect their rights and freedoms as a respected, caring, hard-nosed criminal defense attorney. Over the course of his career, Mr. Weeden’s work has been recognized in numerous ways, including being named to the Top 100 Trial Lawyers list by The National Trial Lawyers, earning a 10.0 “Suberb” Avvo rating, receiving Martindale-Hubbard’s highest peer review rating — AV Preeminent, and being asked to speak on several issues of interest to the legal community. Additionally, he is someone who cares deeply about his community and those in need, and is an active member of a number of professional legal organizations, including the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center and Law Firm Pro Bono Coordinators.

 

Return to Blog Home