In Colorado, assault crimes range from misdemeanors to felonies. The least serious assault is assault in the third degree. This class 1 misdemeanor is committed when a person causes any bodily injury (defined as “physical pain, illness, or any impairment of the physical or mental condition”) to another person, either knowingly or recklessly. The most serious assault crime is the class 3 felony of first degree assault, which can be committed in several ways, the most common of which is that the defendant caused “serious physical injury” to another person by means of a “deadly weapon.”
The best defense your lawyer can present in an assault case is often the defense of self-defense. A person is allowed to use a reasonable amount of force to defend himself from an attack. Information you knew about your attacker that made you believe it was reasonably necessary to use force to defend yourself is admissible at trial and can be considered by the jury in deciding whether you were acting in lawful self-defense.
Colorado has also enacted the “Make My Day” law, also known as the “Castle Doctrine,” which allows a person to use physical force, including deadly force, upon an intruder in one’s home when: (1) the other person has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling; and (2) the occupant has a reasonable belief that the other person has committed or is about to commit a crime in the dwelling (other than mere trespass), or the occupant reasonably believes that the intruder might use physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant. See C.R.S. Section 18-1-704.5.
Presenting a self-defense claim can be complicated and tricky, and requires knowledge of the law of evidence. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you present your best defense.
Both James T. Anest and Morley Swingle are former prosecutors. Swingle has prosecuted hundreds of assault cases as a prosecutor. He has tried many cases where the law of self-defense determined the outcome of the case.
If you or a loved one is facing an assault charge, feel free to call Parker Lawyers at (303) 841-9525.