Assault in the First Degree

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First Degree Assault

The crime of Assault in the First Degree is one of the most serious criminal offenses a person can be charged with in the state of Colorado. There are several different ways it can be charged, but the most common form involves a situation where a person uses a deadly weapon to cause significant injury to another person. For example, first degree assault is a very common charge for crimes involving shootings where the victim survives. Attempted murder cases often have the charge of first degree assault accompany them.

Another way first degree assault can be charged is with the “extreme indifference” theory. This is where a person engages in conduct that is so reckless that there is a grave risk of death to another person. For example, if a person fires a gun into a crowd of people, targeting no one in particular, and he injures someone, Assault in the First Degree would be an appropriate charge.

Crime of Violence Sentencing

Assault in the First Degree is a “crime of violence” in Colorado. This classification means that, upon a conviction for the charge, there will be a term of mandatory imprisonment. For this specific charge, the mandatory sentence will range from 10-32 years in prison. It is a class 3 felony.

This charge is a specific intent charge. This means that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the offender had the specific intent to cause serious bodily injury to another person, and failure to do so would result in acquittal of that charge.

Assault in the first degree can also be charged if a person threatens a police officer, firefighter, EMT, or judge with a deadly weapon. Intent to cause serious bodily injury on the part of the offender must also be proven by the prosecution.

Below is the statutory language for Assault in the First Degree.

Assault in the First Degree, Colorado Revised Statutes (18-3-202)

(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

(d) Repealed.

(e) With intent to cause serious bodily injury upon the person of a peace officer or firefighter, he or she threatens with a deadly weapon a peace officer or firefighter engaged in the performance of his or her duties, and the offender knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer or firefighter 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.

(2) (a) If assault in the first degree is committed under circumstances where the act causing the injury is performed upon a sudden heat of passion, caused by a serious and highly provoking act of the intended victim, affecting the person causing the injury sufficiently to excite an irresistible passion in a reasonable person, and without an interval between the provocation and the injury sufficient for the voice of reason and humanity to be heard, it is a class 5 felony.

(b) If assault in the first degree is committed without the circumstances provided in paragraph (a) of this subsection

(2), it is a class 3 felony.

(c) If a defendant is convicted of assault in the first degree pursuant to subsection (1) of this section, the court shall sentence the defendant in accordance with the provisions of section 18-1.3-406.

If you or a loved one has been charged with this serious offense, you need a skilled attorney on your side. Give the attorneys at Hebets & McCallin a call to discuss your case.

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