1st Degree Assault charges are the most serious form of assault in Denver, Arapahoe, and El Paso County. The law is complex, however, and many people don't understand the charges they are facing, let alone how to defend themselves in the courtroom. That's where our simplified law blogs come in. Today, we're going to give you a simple definition and examples of First Degree Assault charges. If you've been charged, it's vital that you understand the seriousness of your situation, and contact an expert criminal lawyer to begin your defense.
The Lawyer's Definition of First Degree Assault
The legal jargon:“
(1) A person commits the crime of assault in the first degree if:
(a) With intent to cause serious bodily injury to another person, he causes serious bodily injury to any person by means of a deadly weapon; or
(b) With intent to disfigure another person seriously and permanently, or to destroy, amputate, or disable permanently a member or organ of his body, he causes such an injury to any person; or
(c) Under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, he knowingly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to another person, and thereby causes serious bodily injury to any person; or
(e) With intent to cause serious bodily injury upon the person of a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical service provider, he or she threatens with a deadly weapon a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical service provider engaged in the performance of his or her duties, and the offender knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical service provider acting in the performance of his or her duties; or
(e.5) With intent to cause serious bodily injury upon the person of a judge of a court of competent jurisdiction or an officer of said court, he threatens with a deadly weapon a judge of a court of competent jurisdiction or an officer of said court, and the offender knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a judge of a court of competent jurisdiction or an officer of said court; or
(f) While lawfully confined or in custody as a result of being charged with or convicted of a crime or as a result of being charged as a delinquent child or adjudicated as a delinquent child and with intent to cause serious bodily injury to a person employed by or under contract with a detention facility, as defined in section 18-8-203 (3), or to a person employed by the division in the department of human services responsible for youth services and who is a youth services counselor or is in the youth services worker classification series, he or she threatens with a deadly weapon such a person engaged in the performance of his or her duties and the offender knows or reasonably should know that the victim is such a person engaged in the performance of his or her duties while employed by or under contract with a detention facility or while employed by the division in the department of human services responsible for youth services. A sentence imposed pursuant to this paragraph (f) shall be served in the department of corrections and shall run consecutively with any sentences being served by the offender. A person who participates in a work release program, a furlough, or any other similar authorized supervised or unsupervised absence from a detention facility, as defined in section 18-8-203 (3), and who is required to report back to the detention facility at a specified time shall be deemed to be in custody.”
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The Simplified Definition of First Degree Assault
The simple version:“Aperson commits the crime of 1st degree assault if they:
- With the intent to do so, they cause serious bodily injury to any person using a deadly weapon.
- With the intent to disfigure, destroy, amputate, or disable a part of the body of any person, they cause such harm.
- With extreme indifference to the value of human life, they knowingly engage in conduct which puts another person in grave risk of death, and cause serious bodily injury.
- With intent to cause serious bodily injury to a police officer, firefighter, or other emergency medical service provider while performing their duty, they threaten said officer, firefighter, or emergency service provider.
- With the intent to cause serious bodily injury, they threaten a judge or officer of the court with a deadly weapon, knowing they are a judge or officer of the court.
- While in custody after a charge or conviction of a crime, and with the intent to cause serious bodily injury, they threaten an employee of the jail with a deadly weapon.”
Definitions of ‘Serious Bodily Injury' and ‘Deadly Weapon'
As you can see, even the simplified definition of First Degree Assault charges is complex. Additionally, the definition of ‘serious bodily injury' is crucial to the charges. This definition can be found under C.R.S. 18-1-901:
“'Serious bodily injury' means bodily injury which, either at the time of the actual injury or at a later time, involves a substantial risk of death, a substantial risk of serious permanent disfigurement, a substantial risk of protracted loss or impairment of the function of any part or organ of the body, or breaks, fractures, or burns of the second or third degree.”
When looking at this definition, we can see it is extremely broad. Not only does the definition of ‘serious bodily injury' include substantial risk of death or disfigurement, it includes fractures – which are sustained much more easily than truly serious harm. Fortunately, the interpretation of how serious an injury is, is up to a medical doctor, and not the District Attorney. Police are generally required to get a serious bodily injury (SBI) statement from a doctor, before charging someone with Assault in the 1st Degree. It is always wise to consult with a skilled criminal defense lawyer who can take medical records and police reports to an expert witness such as our own medical doctor or surgeon, who can provide their professional opinion about the severity and nature of the alleged victim's injuries. The definition of ‘deadly weapon' is even more vague – it can include a fist, broken bottle, or any other device capable of causing death or serious bodily injury (read a simple definition of deadly weapons in Colorado). In one case, a chicken sandwich was designated as a “weapon.”
Examples of First Degree Assault Charges
Image Credit: Pixabay – giju
Mike isn't a violent person. In fact, he was generally considered to be a peacemaker in his group of friends. Unfortunately, when Mike had a bit too much to drink, he became more belligerent and verbally combative. While out at a bar with his friends in Castle Rock, a man made a pass at Mike's girlfriend, Ashley. Obviously, this enraged Mike, who confronted the other man. The two got into an argument, and the man began saying vulgar, abusive things about Ashley. Mike had enough; he punched the man square in the jaw. The other man fell back, and hit his head on the bar and was knocked unconscious. The police and an ambulance arrived, and the man was taken to the hospital. The blow to his head was extremely harmful, and now Mike is facing First Degree Assault charges in Douglas County.
Image Credit: Pixabay – burrough
Josh and his friends knew they shouldn't graffiti buildings in downtown Denver. But, every time they do so, they get an adrenaline rush that they won't give up. One day, Josh and his friends are in an alley, painting a large mural on a wall, when they see the lights of a police car. Josh and his friends bolt, but Josh chooses the wrong direction to run. Running around a corner, Josh comes face-to-face with a police officer. Without thinking, he pulls out a knife from his back pocket and runs towards the cop. The two struggle, but then Josh realizes what he's doing and throws down the weapon. Regardless of the fact that he didn't hurt or even touch the police officer, Josh now faces First Degree Assault charges for threatening him with a deadly weapon, with the intent to cause serious bodily injury.We have a passion for defending our clients who face First Degree Assault charges.
Why You Need a Lawyer for 1st Degree Assault Charges
First Degree Assault charges should not be taken lightly. In most situations, Assault in the First Degree is charged as a class 3 felony. A felony conviction can result in possible prison time in the Colorado Department of Corrections, and a serious fine. And, a 1st Degree Assault conviction on your criminal record will make it difficult to get a good job or find housing. Don't let a mistake or false accusations ruin your future. Instead, contact a hard-hitting criminal defense attorney at the O'Malley Law Office to be your advocate in the courtroom. The lawyers at our office have 40 years of combined experience, and we have a passion for defending our clients who face First Degree Assault charges. We have a pool of expert witnesses who we can consult to provide expert, professional testimony in your case. Our expertise and aggressive approach in the courtroom often results in dismissals or favorable plea agreements. Don't stand alone – work with an attorney who fights to win.
Get Help Now
If you or a loved one is facing First Degree Assault charges, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and contact the best criminal defense attorney at the O'Malley Law Office at 303-830-0880. Together, we can protect your future.Request a Free Consultation
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