Facing an assault charge of any kind is scary because the situation is serious. Learning more about your situation is the best way to be an active part of your defense, however.
Here in Colorado, first-degree and second-degree assault are aggravated offenses. On the other hand, a third-degree charge is considered a “simple” assault.
How do prosecutors decide which type of assault charges apply?
One obligation prosecutors have is to decide whether to charge a suspect with simple verses or aggravated assault. They base their decision on various factors, including whether:
- The suspect intended to cause severe harm to the victim
- A weapon was involved in the assault
- The assault occurred while the victim was attempting to perform their duties as a police officer, firefighter paramedic
- The assault occurred because the victim belonged to a certain group (such as one based on their age, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, nationality or gender), making it a hate crime
One big difference between aggravated and simple assault charges is that the former is a felony, whereas the latter is a misdemeanor.
What are the potential sentences you face if convicted of assault here in Colorado?
Third-degree assault is punishable by up to a 6-month jail sentence. Anyone convicted of second-degree aggravated assault charges faces up to 12 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Third-degree aggravated assault is punishable by as long as 24 years in prison and $750,000 in fines.
The extent of a victim’s injuries may impact both charges and sentences.
What should you do upon learning that you’re facing assault charges?
The best way to protect your future when you’re facing assault charges is to explore all possible avenues of defense. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you learn more.