What Are The Charges for Assault Against a Family Member in Colorado?

assault causes bodily injury family member

Assault is a serious crime, but when it involves a family member, it takes on an even more complex and emotional dimension. Assault against a family member is classified as domestic violence—a penalty enhancement. Prosecutors can charge these as misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the circumstances.

If you or someone you know has been accused of assault causing bodily injury to a family member in Colorado, it’s crucial to understand the legal definitions, consequences, and potential defenses.

In this article, we’ll break down what constitutes assault causing bodily injury to a family member under Colorado law, the various types of charges and their penalties, and the importance of seeking experienced legal representation.

Domestic Violence Assault in Colorado

In Colorado, domestic violence assault is not a separate crime but rather a penalty enhancement for assault charges involving intimate partners. According to Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-6-800.3, domestic violence is defined as “an act or threatened act of violence upon a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship.”

Defining Intimate Relationships

For an assault to be considered domestic violence, the victim must be an intimate partner of the accused.

Under Colorado law, intimate partners include:

  • Current or former spouses
  • Current or former unmarried couples (girlfriends or boyfriends)
  • Co-parents of a child, regardless of whether they have been married or lived together

It’s important to note that platonic roommates or other non-romantic cohabitants are not considered intimate partners for the purposes of domestic violence charges.

Examples of Assault in Domestic Violence Cases

Assault in the context of domestic violence can take many forms, including but not limited to:

  • Punching, slapping, or kicking
  • Pushing or shoving
  • Strangling or choking
  • Throwing objects at the victim

The severity of the assault and the resulting injuries will play a significant role in determining the level of charges and potential penalties.

Elements of a Domestic Violence Assault Conviction

To convict someone of domestic violence assault in Colorado, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. The accused committed an assault against the victim
  2. The victim was an intimate partner of the accused
  3. The assault caused bodily injury to the victim

It’s crucial to understand that even if the victim recants their statement or refuses to cooperate with the prosecution, the case can still move forward. Prosecutors may rely on other evidence, such as witness statements, photos of injuries, or 911 call recordings, to build their case.

Penalties for Domestic Violence Assault

The penalties for domestic violence assault in Colorado depend on the severity of the offense and the accused’s prior criminal history.

First-Degree Assault

  • Intentionally causing serious injury with a deadly weapon
  • Class 3 felony
  • Up to 32 years in prison
  • Fine of up to $750,000

Second-Degree Assault

  • Intentionally causing serious injury without a deadly weapon
  • Class 4 felony
  • 5 to 16 years in prison
  • Fine of up to $500,000

Third-Degree Assault

  • Negligently causing an injury with a deadly weapon
  • Class 1 misdemeanor
  • Up to 18 months in jail
  • Fine of up to $1,000

In addition to these criminal penalties, you will likely be ordered to complete a domestic violence treatment program and be subject to mandatory protection orders and firearm restrictions. Repeat offenses can lead to designation as a “habitual domestic violence offender,” which further enhances sentencing.

The severe penalties for domestic violence assault in Colorado reflect how seriously this crime is treated. If you are facing charges, consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to understand your rights and options. You may be able to get the charges or penalties reduced.

Defending Against Domestic Violence Assault Charges

If you are facing domestic violence assault charges in Colorado, it’s essential to understand your rights and potential defenses.

Some common defense strategies include:

  1. Self-defense or defense of others
  2. False accusations or lack of evidence
  3. Accident or lack of intent

An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you evaluate the specifics of your case and develop a strong defense strategy tailored to your unique circumstances.

Charges Related to Domestic Assault in Colorado

Domestic violence assault charges often accompany other related offenses, such as:

Menacing (C.R.S. 18-3-206)

Menacing involves placing someone in fear of imminent serious bodily injury through threat or physical action. In the context of domestic violence, menacing charges may arise if the accused threatens the victim with a weapon or places them in fear for their safety.

Stalking (C.R.S. 18-3-602)

Stalking is defined as repeatedly following, approaching, contacting, or surveilling someone in a way that causes serious emotional distress. In domestic violence cases, stalking charges may be filed if the accused engages in a pattern of harassment or intimidation towards the victim.

The Importance of Seeking Legal Representation

Navigating the legal system when facing assault charges involving a family member can be overwhelming and emotionally draining. That’s why it’s crucial to seek the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands Colorado’s domestic violence laws and can build a strong defense strategy tailored to your unique situation.

A knowledgeable lawyer can:

  • Protect your rights throughout the legal process
  • Investigate the allegations and gather evidence to support your defense
  • Negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges or alternative sentencing options
  • Represent you in court proceedings and fight for the best possible outcome

At Right Law Group, our skilled attorneys have extensive experience handling domestic violence cases, including those involving assault causing bodily injury to a family member. We understand the complexity and sensitivity of these situations and are committed to providing compassionate, aggressive representation to each of our clients.

Don’t Face Domestic Assault Charges Alone

If you or a loved one has been accused of assault causing bodily injury to a family member in Colorado, don’t wait to seek legal help. The sooner you involve a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney, the better your chances of achieving a favorable outcome and minimizing the impact on your life.

At Right Law Group, we’re here to listen to your story, answer your questions, and fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today for a confidential consultation, and let us help you navigate this challenging time with the knowledge, experience, and dedication you deserve.

Author Bio

alexis austin

Alexis Austin is the CEO and Managing Partner of Right Law Group, a criminal defense law firm she founded in 2018, with convenient locations in Colorado Springs, Castle Rock and Highlands Ranch. With almost a decade of experience in criminal defense, she has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including DUIs, misdemeanors, felonies, domestic violence, and other criminal charges.

Alexis received her Juris Doctor from the University of Denver — Sturm College of Law and is a member of the Colorado Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named among the “Top 40 Under 40” in 2018 by The National Trial Lawyers and featured in Authority Magazine’s “Top Lawyers” series.

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