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CRS 18-3-204 — Colorado Third-Degree Assault

Colorado Springs Third-Degree Assault Lawyer

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According to CRS 18-3-204, third-degree assault is defined as intentionally inflicting bodily harm on another person while acting carelessly or negligently. The crime is a Class 1 Misdemeanor with an Extraordinary Risk that attracts, at maximum, a sentence of 18 months in jail and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.

Penalties for Third-Degree Assault in Colorado

Charge Classification Penalty
Third-Degree Assault Class 1 misdemeanor
  • Up to 18 months in jail and/or
  • Up to $1,000 in fines
Third-Degree Assault Class 1 (extraordinary risk crime)
  • Maximum jail sentence of 24 months
(Colo. Rev. Stat.  § 18-3-204,  18-1.3-501 (3) )

Elements of Third-Degree Assault in Colorado

A prosecutor must prove that the defendant:


Possible Defenses for Third-Degree Assault in Colorado

Your Colorado criminal defense attorney would directly vitiate your mental health by trying to prove any one of the following defenses.


To establish that the assault was committed in self-defense, you must demonstrate that you employed whatever amount of force you believed to be required to defend yourself because you thought the other person was ready to use force against you without authorization. Your actions must be reasonable in the circumstances.

Absence of Intent

According to Colorado criminal law, third-degree assault cannot be proven if the wounds were accidental. This is because conviction requires one’s mental state at the time of the act to be one that was acting in negligence.


If the defendant was inebriated at the time of the assault, this might be a defense. This is crucial, mainly if the intoxication affects their capacity for deliberate and conscious action.

A few situations allow for the intoxication defense to be used successfully. It usually depends on whether the intoxication was voluntary and the level of intent required by the criminal accusation.

The defense of voluntary intoxication may not always completely exonerate the defendant from responsibility. Still, it may lessen their overall punishment for the crime.

Colorado Revised Statutes, CRS 18-3-204:

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

(a) The person knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person or with criminal negligence the person causes bodily injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon; or

(b) The person, with intent to harass, annoy, threaten, or alarm another person whom the actor knows or reasonably should know to be a peace officer, a firefighter, an emergency medical care provider, or an emergency medical service provider, causes the other person to come into contact with blood, seminal fluid, urine, feces, saliva, mucus, vomit, or toxic, caustic, or hazardous material by any means, including throwing, tossing, or expelling the fluid or material.

(2) Repealed by Laws 2016, Ch. 304, § 5, eff. July 1, 2016.

(3) Assault in the third degree is a class 1 misdemeanor and is an extraordinary risk crime that is subject to the modified sentencing range specified in section 18-1.3-501(3).

(4) Repealed by Laws 2015, Ch. 109, § 2, eff. July 1, 2015; and Laws 2015, Ch. 337, § 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2015.

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

Whether a Class 1 misdemeanor or extraordinary risk crime, the standard remains proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Colorado’s prosecution still bears this burden. You may have an uphill battle establishing any of the defenses listed above. To defend yourself in court against the District Attorney in Colorado Springs, you need an accomplished criminal defense attorney.

Don’t let one wrong decision impact your life, job or freedom.

Call today for a free case evaluation.

Colorado criminal procedure

  • Arrest or

    Arrest or

    The process begins with either an arrest or a summons. The accused is either arrested or served with paperwork summoning them to appear in court. During an arrest, Miranda rights may or may not be read to you. Officers are only required to recite your rights if they intend to question you about potentially incriminating things.

  • Bond Hearing

    Bond Hearing

    In most cases, you're entitled to have a reasonable bond set after you've been arrested. In situations involving domestic violence, the police will request input from the victim before setting a bond. Bonds are set to ensure that a person appears in court at their court dates. If they don’t show up, they forfeit the money that was paid for the bond.

  • Advisement of

    Advisement of

    Whether you are arrested or given a summons to appear, the court must make sure you understand what crimes you are being accused of committing. This is called advisement of charges. The District Attorney will detail the specific charges against you, and the Judge has to make sure you understand what possible penalties are associated with that charge in the state.

  • Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony

    Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony

    A preliminary hearing is a way for your defense attorney to challenge the District Attorney’s right to bring charges against you by making them prove that there is reason to believe you committed a crime. The Judge is not deciding your guilt or innocence, but rather whether or not there is probable cause to charge you with the crime in question.

  • Pretrial Conference /

    Pretrial Conference /

    This court date comes after your attorney has reviewed all of the reports and evidence in your case. Here’s where your attorney will engage in plea negotiations with the DA. If they can reach an agreement on the case, you may be able to take a plea bargain. If they cannot reach a resolution, your case will be set for an arraignment or trial date.

  • Arraignment


    An arraignment is the final date for you to decide how you choose to plea. Guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, then the case is set for a sentencing date. If you plead not guilty, you and your attorney will then set the case for trial.

  • Motions Hearing

    Motions Hearing

    A motion hearing is when an attorney makes a request that requires a decision from the judge. For example, motions to suppress evidence or statements. These motions can limit the information that goes before a jury if it benefits your case, and there are legal grounds for doing so.

  • Pretrial Readiness

    Pretrial Readiness

    A pretrial readiness conference is held at some point before trial. It usually is held about a week to a month before the date trial is set to begin. This court date ensures everyone is ready to go to trial on the set date. It is also a time for lawyers to bring up any issues they may have to be addressed before the day of trial.

  • Jury Trial

    Jury Trial

    After a jury is selected for trial, the District Attorney’s responsibility is to present the case to the jury. The DA must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime. Otherwise, the jury must find you innocent. Your attorney will be able to cross-examine all of the witnesses, present evidence, and ultimately help you navigate this process.

  • Sentencing


    At sentencing, the Judge must decide the appropriate legal penalty for the crime you plead guilty. The Judge’s decision is based on the listed penalties for the specific charge, recommendations from the presentence investigation, your criminal history, as well as statements made at the sentencing by the District Attorney, your attorney, you, and any named victims of the crime.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I get prison time since this is a misdemeanor charge in Colorado?

Yes, this charge still carries a penalty involving prison time. Where the charge is deemed an extraordinary risk crime, you face your sentence being extended by six months.

Do I need an attorney for a misdemeanor charge in Colorado?

Since you are risking jail time if you are convicted, it is advised that you have your defense brought by a professional and experienced criminal defense attorney in Colorado. Attorneys at Right Law Group know the legal procedure and understand the applicable laws.

Why was I charged with menacing as well?

Menacing may be charged alongside assault in Colorado. Menacing is a felony that intentionally puts another person in dread of impending death or significant bodily harm through threats or actions. This is because, before the bodily injury is inflicted, the victim may be given cause to be in fear.