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CRS 18-3-203

Colorado Felony Second-Degree Assault

Colorado statute CRS 18-3-203 defines second-degree assault charges and penalties. Although less serious than first-degree assault as the injuries inflicted are less severe, conviction is usually a Class 4 felony that carries a two- to 16-year prison term, depending on the severity, and a fine of $2,000—$500,000.

Let’s face it. Life happens.

No one wants to get in trouble, but when it happens, what do you do?

If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, the best decision you can make is to
hire a good criminal defense attorney. With the right defense lawyer in your corner, you
will be advised and guided towards the best outcome for your case.

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Penalties for Assault and Battery in Colorado

Charge Classification Penalty
Second-degree assault Class 4 Felony
  • 2–6 years in prison
  • A $2,000–$500,000 fine
Class 4 Felony (crime of violence)
  • 5–16 years in prison
  • A $2,000–$500,000 fine
Class 6 Felony
  • 12–18 months in prison
  • A $1,000–$100,000 fine
(Colo. Rev. Stat. § § 18-1.3-406, CRS 18-3-203 (2) (a)) 

 

Other Offenses To Note

If you are charged with second-degree assault in Colorado, you may be charged with other accompanying offenses such as the following:

Charge Classification Penalty
Menacing Class 1 Misdemeanor
  • 364 days in jail and/or a
  • A fine of up to $1,000
Class 1 Misdemeanors (extraordinary risk crime)
  • Up to 24 months in prison
  • A $5,000 fine
Class 5 Felony (deadly weapon)
  • 1–3 years in prison, and/or
  • A $1,000–$100,000 fine
(Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-3-206)

Elements of Second-Degree Assault in Colorado

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Per CRS 18-3-203, numerous circumstances give rise to such a charge.

The following are the general components of second-degree assault crime.

The defendant must have:

  • The intent to cause another person bodily injury
  • Caused bodily injury to another person (usually serious bodily injury)
  • Used a deadly weapon or committed the assault against a first responder or while in custody
  • The conduct was not legally authorized by an affirmative defense

Possible Defenses for Second-Degree Assault in Colorado

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A second-degree assault charge can be defended against in many different ways by your Colorado criminal defense lawyer.

Self-Defense

Intentionally hurting someone can be justified if you must protect yourself or another person.

Your Colorado criminal defense attorney would show that:

  • You used as much force as you thought was required to defend yourself or the other person
  • You thought someone else would use unlawful force against you or another person
  • Your actions were objectively reasonable in the circumstances

Lack of Intent

It takes deliberate behavior to be convicted of second-degree assault. Naturally, a defense to such a charge would be the lack of intention to commit the crime. Your Colorado criminal defense attorney would show that your actions were unintended.

The Heat of Passion

This defense reduces the class to a Class 6 felony.

For your Colorado criminal defense attorney to establish a “heat of passion” defense, they must show that:

  • A reasonable person would have felt irresistibly motivated to act in response to the victim’s highly provocative actions
  • You did not have enough time to cool off before you hurt the victim

Colorado Revised Statutes, CRS 18-3-203:

(1) A person commits the crime of assault in the second degree if:

(a) Repealed.

(b) With intent to cause bodily injury to another person, he or she causes such injury to any person by means of a deadly weapon; or

(c) With intent to prevent one whom he or she knows, or should know, to be a peace officer, firefighter, emergency medical care provider, or emergency medical service provider from performing a lawful duty, he or she intentionally causes bodily injury to any person; or

(c.5) With intent to prevent one whom he or she knows, or should know, to be a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical service provider from performing a lawful duty, he or she intentionally causes serious bodily injury to any person; or

(d) He recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon; or

(e) For a purpose other than lawful medical or therapeutic treatment, he intentionally causes stupor, unconsciousness, or other physical or mental impairment or injury to another person by administering to him, without his consent, a drug, substance, or preparation capable of producing the intended harm; or

(f) While lawfully confined or in custody, he or she knowingly and violently applies physical force against the person of a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical service provider engaged in the performance of his or her duties, or a judge of a court of competent jurisdiction, or an officer of said court, or, 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, he or she knowingly and violently applies physical force against a person engaged in the performance of his or her duties while employed by or under contract with a detention facility, as defined in section 18-8-203 (3), or while 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, and the person committing the offense knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical service provider engaged in the performance of his or her duties, or a judge of a court of competent jurisdiction, or an officer of said court, or 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; except that, if the offense is committed against a person employed by the division in the department of human services responsible for youth services, the court may grant probation or a suspended sentence in whole or in part, and the sentence may run concurrently or consecutively with any sentences being served. 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 is deemed to be in custody.

(f.5) (I) While lawfully confined in a detention facility within this state, a person with intent to infect, injure, harm, harass, annoy, threaten, or alarm a person in a detention facility whom the actor knows or reasonably should know to be an employee of a detention facility, causes such employee to come into contact with blood, seminal fluid, urine, feces, saliva, mucus, vomit, or any toxic, caustic, or hazardous material by any means, including but not limited to throwing, tossing, or expelling such fluid or material.

(II) Repealed.

(III) (A) As used in this paragraph (f.5), “detention facility” means any building, structure, enclosure, vehicle, institution, or place, whether permanent or temporary, fixed or mobile, where persons are or may be lawfully held in custody or confinement under the authority of the state of Colorado or any political subdivision of the state of Colorado.

(B) As used in this paragraph (f.5), “employee of a detention facility” includes employees of the department of corrections, employees of any agency or person operating a detention facility, law enforcement personnel, and any other persons who are present in or in the vicinity of a detention facility and are performing services for a detention facility. “Employee of a detention facility” does not include a person lawfully confined in a detention facility.

(g) With intent to cause bodily injury to another person, he or she causes serious bodily injury to that person or another; or

(h) With intent to infect, injure, or harm another person whom the actor knows or reasonably should know to be engaged in the performance of his or her duties as a peace officer, a firefighter, an emergency medical care provider, or an emergency medical service provider, he or she causes such person to come into contact with blood, seminal fluid, urine, feces, saliva, mucus, vomit, or any toxic, caustic, or hazardous material by any means, including by throwing, tossing, or expelling such fluid or material; or

(i) With the intent to cause bodily injury, he or she applies sufficient pressure to impede or restrict the breathing or circulation of the blood of another person by applying such pressure to the neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of the other person and thereby causes bodily injury.

(2) (a) If assault in the second 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 6 felony.

(b) If assault in the second degree is committed without the circumstances provided in paragraph (a) of this subsection (2), it is a class 4 felony.

(b.5) Assault in the second degree by any person under subsection (1) of this section without the circumstances provided in paragraph (a) of this subsection (2) is a class 3 felony if the person who is assaulted, other than a participant in the crime, suffered serious bodily injury during the commission or attempted commission of or flight from the commission or attempted commission of murder, robbery, arson, burglary, escape, kidnapping in the first degree, sexual assault, sexual assault in the first or second degree as such offenses existed prior to July 1, 2000, or class 3 felony sexual assault on a child.

(c) (I) If a defendant is convicted of assault in the second degree pursuant to paragraph (c.5) of subsection (1) of this section or paragraph (b.5) of this subsection (2), except with respect to sexual assault or sexual assault in the first degree as it existed prior to July 1, 2000, the court shall sentence the defendant in accordance with the provisions of section 18-1.3-406. A defendant convicted of assault in the second degree pursuant to paragraph (b.5) of this subsection (2) with respect to sexual assault or sexual assault in the first degree as it existed prior to July 1, 2000, shall be sentenced in accordance with section 18-1.3-401 (8) (e) or (8) (e.5).

(II) If a defendant is convicted of assault in the second degree pursuant to paragraph (b), (c), (d), or (g) of subsection (1) of this section, the court shall sentence the offender in accordance with section 18-1.3-406; except that, notwithstanding the provisions of section 18-1.3-406, the court is not required to sentence the defendant to the department of corrections for a mandatory term of incarceration.

(3) Repealed.

Have you been charged or arrested for second-degree assault in Colorado Springs or El Paso County?

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The bad news is that you may face significant fines and prison years. The good news is that the standard of proof in criminal cases is very high. The District Attorney in El Paso County must prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements of each defense need to be proven to a jury, which may take some doing. While second-degree assault does not carry penalties as severe as other higher charges, it is still considered a high level offense so it is ideal to retain the services of a criminal defense attorney in Colorado.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Will I go to jail for a first-time second-degree assault charge?

Colorado law CRS 18-3-203 considers this to be a severe criminal offense. Regardless of whether this is your first offense of this nature, you could still be facing time behind bars.

What is the statute of limitations for second-degree assault in El Paso County?

A general statute of limitations is applicable for offenses not expressly mentioned in the law, like second-degree assault. The typical time restrictions are three years for felonies and 18 months for misdemeanors.

What qualifies as a deadly weapon in Colorado Springs?

A knife, bludgeon, or any other object, gadget, instrument, material, or substance, whether living or inanimate, that, when used or intended to be used, is capable of causing death or significant physical harm is classified as a deadly weapon in Colorado under Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1-901.

What counts as bodily harm in Colorado?

Physical suffering, pain, or any impairment of one’s physical or mental state are considered bodily injury under Colorado law.

Areas Served

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El Paso County

Douglas County

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Arapahoe County

  • Centennial
  • Englewood
  • Greenwood Village
  • Cherry Hills Village
  • Foxfield
  • Sheridan
  • Columbine Valley
  • Byers
  • Southglenn
  • Castlewood
  • Peoria

Pueblo County

Teller County

Fremont County

  • Coaldale
  • Cotopaxi
  • Hillside
  • Howard
  • Texas Creek
  • Wellsville