Second Degree Felony Assault in Colorado
Second-degree assault occurs whenever a person causes bodily injury to another person when the injury is caused by a deadly weapon. The state of Colorado considers second degree assault a felony. You may suffer serious consequences for felony assault. Often your intent is not taken into account.
What’s the Difference Between Misdemeanor and Felony Assault in Colorado?According to 18-3-203, the main difference between misdemeanor 3rd-degree assault and felony 2nd-degree assault is “the use of a deadly weapon”.
However, the definition of “deadly weapon” is quite malleable in the hands of the district attorney. Nearly anything can qualify as a deadly weapon when a prosecutor is attempting to levy charges for 2nd-degree assault.
Another factor capable of elevating misdemeanor assault to felony 2nd-degree assault is the seriousness of bodily harm to another person. In order for injuries to be classified as “serious” bodily harm, a doctor must sign an SBI (serious bodily injury) form provided by the police.
However, we all know that doctors are busy people, and too often are willing to sign whatever the police put in front of them. A typical bar fight can turn into a felony 2nd-degree assault charge in a Denver minute.
What is a Deadly Weapon in Colorado?There are two different categories of deadly weapon in Colorado:
Per se deadly weapons- These are the weapons that were designed to cause serious injury or death or can easily cause injury or death. Firearms fall into this category, as well as combat knives, bludgeons, swords, daggers, and brass knuckles. These weapons are intended to cause damage to other living beings.
Objects and tools capable of serious injury or death. It’s within this category that prosecutors have the greatest leeway to elevate misdemeanor assault to felony assault. These are the “weapons” that are not necessarily designed to cause injury but can cause injury or death when they are used in a certain way. This can include vehicles, furniture, metal pipes, or wrenches. Even a broom handle can be considered a deadly weapon if it is used to inflict serious bodily injury.
Penalties For 2nd-Degree AssaultFirst of all, your bond will be significantly higher when you are being charged with felony 2nd-degree assault versus misdemeanor 3rd-degree assault, because felony assault is considered a “high-risk” crime, meaning the person responsible is likely to commit the crime a second time.
If you are able to bond out of prison, you may be made to wear an ankle monitor or be made to move out of your house if the 2nd-degree assault is classified as domestic assault.
Colorado considers 2nd-degree assault to be a crime of violence. If you are found guilty of felony 2nd-degree assault in Colorado, the judge is required to adhere to the sentencing guidelines in CRS 18-1.3-406.
These charges can result in a minimum mandatory prison sentence of five years and a maximum of 16 years, as well as a three-year term of parole.
These are the legal consequences of a 2nd-degree felony charge. There are also plenty of social consequences associated with any felony charge: you could lose your family, your friends, and your job. A felony charge on your record could prevent you from getting another job, from moving, or even from voting.
In short, a felony assault charge is nothing to mess around with. You need an experienced Colorado defense attorney to help achieve the best possible outcome for you.
Legal Defense for 2nd-Degree AssaultThere are many different legal defenses to assault charges. Sometimes, self-defense is a viable defense if you were attacked first.
Other times it may be a case where you were defending others or some piece of your property. This would be the case if, for instance, another person got aggressive with a friend or significant other while the two of you were out at a bar.
It may be a case of a brawl involving multiple people where no one really knows who hit whom, and a good defense attorney could potentially prove that you aren’t even the proper person to charge. Often, 2nd-degree assault charges will be accompanied by some of the less serious misdemeanor assault charges such as third-degree assault; this is something law enforcement does in order to ensure at least one charge will “stick” at trial.
This is why it is absolutely essential to hire a defense attorney who has argued these violent crimes in a court before. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help get the more serious of your charges dismissed or dropped down to a less serious charge, and possibly negotiate a more palatable sentence for you.