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Colorado Second Degree Assault Defense Attorney in Aurora

How serious is Second Degree Assault in Colorado? It is the second highest level of assault. It is an extremely serious criminal offense. It can fall under the category of crime of violence which requires mandatory sentencing to prison. It is an extraordinary risk crime which can increase the maximum possible sentence a judge can impose. 

Defendants need to have a criminal defense attorney when dealing with charged of second-degree assault. Our Colorado Second Assault Defense Attorney regularly represents clients in Arapahoe County, Douglas County, Adams County, and the Denver Metro Area. 

What is Second Degree Assault under Colorado Law?

Second degree assault in Colorado is defined under Colorado Revised Statutes 18-3-203. It involves causing bodily injury to another person intentionally or recklessly with a weapon or by other means specified under the law. Unlike simple assault, which may involve minor injuries, second degree assault is considered when the injuries are more serious, or a deadly weapon is used.

The Legal Definition

According to the statute, an individual commits second degree assault in Colorado if they:

  • Intentionally cause bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon;

  • Intentionally cause bodily injury to another person by means of force sufficient to produce serious bodily injury;

  • Intentionally prevent a firefighter or police officer from performing their duties by means of any weapon, substance, or other thing capable of producing bodily injury or death;

  • Recklessly cause serious bodily injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon;

  • Administer a drug, substance, or preparation capable of producing unconsciousness or other physical or mental impairment, without consent, with the intent to cause harm.

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What is the difference between bodily injury and serious bodily injury?

A third-degree assault involves bodily injury. This is an injury that causes physical pain. Bodily injury is the lowest form of injury when dealing with assault cases.

There doesn’t necessarily need to be a mark, but you would typically expect injuries consistent with the allegation. There can be physical or mental impairment.

Serious bodily injury is a much more serious injury. It involves injury that poses a substantial risk of death. It also is an injury that leads to serious permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment.

People often shorten serious bodily injury to SBI. A common SBI is a fractured bone. A physician must diagnose SBI. Police officers seek opinions from doctors during their investigation.

What is the legal definition of Deadly Weapon?

Second-Degree assault includes any injury caused by a deadly weapon. A deadly weapon includes any weapon that can cause serious bodily injury. This definition includes guns, knives, and other dangerous weapons.

Dangerous weapons always aggravate criminal cases. The use of a weapon can result in mandatory prison time.

What is Strangulation under Colorado?

Second-degree assault includes strangulation. Strangulation is the use of on a victim in a manner that will prevent a victim from breathing. This type of assault is a common charge in Colorado courts.

Law enforcement training includes questioning victims concerning strangulation. Allegations involving strangulation will result in police having a forensic nurse examine the victim. The forensic nurse looks for evidence of strangulation and photographs any bruising.

Strangulation is a specific intent crime. A defendant needs to intend to strangle the victim. Recklessness is not sufficient. Recklessness is being aware of potential risk and still performing an action. A defendant can present a lack of intent defense in certain circumstances.

Second-Degree Assault can be an Act of Domestic Violence.

Domestic violence is not a criminal offense under Colorado law. Domestic violence is a sentence enhancer. Colorado Revised Statute 18-6-800.3 defines domestic violence.

Domestic violence is any crime where the victim had an intimate relationship with the defendant. Intimate relationship means a serious romantic attachment, married couple, or couple that has a child.

When the victim is an intimate partner, the second-degree assault is within the domestic violence definition. Domestic violence is more than acts of violence.

It includes any act or threatened act of violence. Property crimes will also be included in acts of domestic violence. DV includes any crimes committed for the purpose of intimidation, harassment, or control.

The enhancement typically requires defendants to complete domestic violence counseling and treatment. A conviction will result in a domestic violence tag being placed on the defendant's record. This designation impacts a defendant's ability to find employment and housing.

Common Second-Degree Assault Defenses

Colorado law permits defendants to assert affirmative defense. These defines admit the underlying allegations, but the law justifies the actions.

The most common affirmative defense is self-defense. Self-defense involves two elements. A defendant must be under attack or think they are being attacked. The defendant must respond with the appropriate amount of force to repeal that attack.

Colorado provides several affirmative defenses. It is important to speak with a second-degree assault attorney to understand what defense may be applicable.

A defendant can also attack the intent element of the criminal charge. For example, a defendant can claim they acted within the heat of passion. The heat of passion defense will not result in a not-guilty verdict, but it will lower the felony. 

Finally, defendants can assert a general denial. A general denial would require the prosecution to prove a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is their burden in all cases.

What are the Potential Penalties for Second Degree Assault?

Second degree assault is typically classified as a class 4 felony in Colorado. However, if the victim is a peace officer or firefighter engaged in the performance of their duties, the charge can be elevated to a class 3 felony. The consequences for a class 4 felony can include:

  • 2 to 6 years in prison (with 3 years of mandatory parole);

  • Fines ranging from $2,000 to $500,000.

If elevated to a class 3 felony, penalties increase to:

  • 4 to 12 years in prison (with 5 years of mandatory parole);

  • Fines between $3,000 and $750,000.

Sentencing Enhancements

Certain factors can enhance sentencing, such as "crime of violence" designations, which require mandatory minimum prison sentences. Additionally, if the defendant has prior felony convictions, Colorado's habitual criminal laws may apply, leading to even more severe penalties.

A Second-Degree Assault can also be charged as an act of domestic violence. Domestic violence is a sentencing enhancer that can cause additional jail and probationary requirements.

Defending Against Second Degree Assault Charges in Colorado

Defending against second degree assault charges requires a thorough understanding of the law and a strategic legal approach. Here are some common defenses that may be employed:


A person may claim that they acted in self-defense if they believed they were in imminent danger of being killed or receiving great bodily harm and that the use of force was necessary to avoid this danger.

Defense of Others

Similar to self-defense, an individual may argue that they were defending another person from what they reasonably believed to be an immediate threat of harm.

Lack of Intent

Since second degree assault requires intentional action, proving that the injury was accidental or that there was no intent to harm can be a viable defense.

Insufficient Evidence

The prosecution must prove all elements of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. If the evidence is insufficient or too ambiguous, it may not meet the legal standard for a conviction.


In some cases, if the injured party consented to the act that led to their injury (such as in certain sports or medical procedures), this may serve as a defense against assault charges.

Speak with A Qualified Assault Lawyer Today

There is not a cookie cutter approach to an assault case.  Facts will determine the representation. They define the arguments that can be made. 

A second-degree assault may seem simple and straight forward. They can get complicated quickly and requires a skilled criminal defense attorney.

If you are charged with an assault type case in Aurora or the Denver Metro Area, request a consultation today. We are open during regular business hours, and we will stay late and be available on the weekends if necessary. Schedule a free consultation with an Assault Defense Attorney from the Lawrence Law Firm. We are ready, willing, and able to represent you.