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Colorado Third Degree Assault Defense Attorney

Third degree assault is a misdemeanor offense, but it can have serious consequences.  This is the most typical form of assault charged in Colorado, and it typically involves allegations of domestic violence.  There is no mandatory prison time associated with this level of offense, but it isn’t uncommon for judges to impose a jail sentence if the facts are aggravated.  If you have been accused of third-degree assault in any court in Colorado, request a free consultation today.  Our Assault Defense Attorney regularly represents clients in Arapahoe County, Douglas County, Adams County, and the Denver Metro Area. 

Third Degree Assaults can also vary based on the circumstances of each case.  If a child was present or the victim of the assault, the defendant could be charged with child abuse.  If the victim and the defendant have an intimate relationship, the assault can be designated as an act of domestic domestic violence.  Each of these cases open different possibilities for sentencing and required classes and treatment defendants are required to complete if convicted.

What is Third Degree Assault under Colorado Law?

Third-degree assault in Colorado is a serious offense. It's defined at C.R.S. § 18-3-204 as knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person.

This charge is a class 1 misdemeanor. It's the least severe of the assault charges, but it's still a criminal offense.

The key elements of a third-degree assault charge include intent and the infliction of bodily injury. The prosecution must prove both elements beyond a reasonable doubt.

Here are the key elements of a third-degree assault charge:

  • The defendant knowingly or recklessly caused bodily injury.

  • The defendant intended to cause such injury or acted with disregard of the risk.

Legal Definition and Distinctions

Third-degree assault differs from other degrees of assault in Colorado. First and second-degree assault charges involve more severe injuries or the use of a deadly weapon.

In contrast, third-degree assault involves less severe injuries. It doesn't require the use of a weapon. However, the presence of a weapon can elevate the charge to a higher degree.

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What is the Punishment for a Third-Degree Assault in Colorado?

Third degree assault is a class one misdemeanor in Colorado.  It can be punished by up to 18 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.  Probation can be granted at the court discretion.  In determining the conditions of probation, the court will look at the defendant’s criminal history, facts of the case, and the relationship of the defendant and the victim.  A court can order a defendant to anger management or alcohol classes if the facts warrant it.

A defendant can be charged with third degree assault as an act of domestic violence.  This would require a defendant to complete probation, which would include domestic violence counseling and treatment.  It would also require the defendant’s criminal history to reflect a domestic violence finding, which could impact their ability to find work, housing, and gun rights.

Common Defenses in Third Degree Assault Cases

The most common defense to a third-degree assault is self-defense claim.  This defense involves a defendant believing they are being attacked and responding with the appropriate amount of force to repeal that attack.  A defendant can also attack the intent element of the criminal charge, and a defendant can claim they acted within the heat of passion.  There are various other affirmative defense or general defenses that can be applied.  Defenses are dependent on the facts of a case. 

Your attorney will also want to go over the facts and physical evidence closely with you.  The physical evidence should line up with alleged attack.  If a defendant says she was hit multiple times in the face, there should be injuries consistent with those allegations.  Secondary physical evidence is important as well.  This would include the condition of the scene, appearance of the victim, and other factors.  For example, if a defendant allegedly threw an open beer across a room you’d expect to see beer.   

How a Criminal Lawyer Can Help

A criminal lawyer can help in several ways. They can analyze the case, identify potential defenses, and develop a strategy tailored to the specifics of the case.

Additionally, they can handle all interactions with the prosecution and the court. This includes filing necessary paperwork, negotiating plea bargains, and representing the defendant in court.

Building a Strong Defense Strategy

Building a strong defense strategy is key to fighting a third-degree assault charge. This involves a thorough review of the evidence, identification of potential weaknesses in the prosecution's case, and preparation of compelling arguments.

A defense attorney can also bring in expert witnesses, if necessary. These experts can provide testimony that supports the defense's arguments and challenges the prosecution's evidence.

Negotiating Plea Bargains

In some cases, negotiating a plea bargain may be the best course of action. A plea bargain can result in reduced charges or a lighter sentence.

A skilled defense attorney can negotiate effectively with the prosecution. They can leverage their knowledge of the law and the specifics of the case to secure the best possible outcome for the defendant.

Speak with A Qualified Assault Defense Attorney Today

Third degree assault cases require a lot of attention and skill to handle.  Facts drive the representation and arguments that can be made.  While these matters seem simple and straight forward, it requires a skilled attorney to look at the facts and craft the best defense possible. 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.