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Colorado Assault Laws

As home to some of the most beautiful landscapes and happiest cities in the country, it's hard to imagine why anyone would commit an assault in Colorado. However, as with anyplace in America, there are situations when people can easily lose their self-control, especially when emotions are flaring. However, there are times when using physical force on another person may be necessary to prevent further harm, but this can be a fine line to walk.

In Colorado there are three degrees of assault as well as specific forms of assault, including vehicular assault and assault on an elderly or disabled person. Generally, assault cases involve the intentional or reckless infliction of bodily harm to another person. The difference between first degree assault and second degree assault is the degree of harm. For first degree assault to apply, there must be an intent to cause "serious bodily injury," but for second degree assault, it must only be shown an intent to cause only "bodily injury" or recklessness resulting in serious bodily injury. Third degree assault applies when there is no intent to cause bodily harm, but instead when a person knowingly or recklessly causes bodily harm or does so negligently by means of a deadly weapon.

Colorado Assault Laws At A Glance

For more information on the specific assault laws in Colorado, consult the chart below.

Penalties and Sentences

First Degree Assault: This is a felony punishable by up to 24 years imprisonment and $750,000 in fines.

Second Degree Assault: This is a felony punishable by up to 12 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

Third Degree Assault: This is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in prison.


Defenses to Colorado assault laws include:

  • Self-defense
  • Execution of public duty (authorized use of force by police)
  • Choice of evils/justification (when assault is a necessary emergency measure to avoid imminent public or private injury)
  • Duress (someone else forced the accused to use force)
  • Entrapment
  • Lack of intent to cause harm

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Colorado Assault Laws: Additional Resources

Get Legal Help with Your Assault Case in Colorado

As you can see, Colorado has a variety of assault laws under which you could be charged. Which one sticks, if any, will depend on the specific facts and evidence in your case. If you're facing charges, don't wait until the last minute to speak with a criminal defense attorney in Colorado. After all, the more time that an attorney has on your case, the more likely he or she will find weaknesses in the government's evidence.

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