While roughhousing and bullies have existed in schools for many generations, it seems like schools nowadays are getting more violent and even downright dangerous.
Students regularly participate in school shooter drills. Security officers are hired to make sure students don’t bring guns into class. Violence at all levels, even simple roughhousing, is being taken more seriously than it ever has.
In Colorado, this means that law enforcement is getting involved. If your child is caught fighting at school, they could face assault charges.
School Fights Across Colorado Lead to Arrests on Assault Charges
Recently, a student at Elizabeth Middle School was arrested on assault charges. While police have not shared many details about the case or the juvenile involved, Denver news outlets found a disturbing video of the incident.
The student, who appears to be unprovoked, walks over to another student and begins to punch the victim repeatedly. Investigators believe the attack could have been premeditated.
What’s more, Elizabeth Middle School is not the first (or only) Denver-area school making headlines for assault arrests.
In 2018, a student at Arvada High School was arrested and charged with 3rd-degree assault. Surprisingly, she wasn’t charged for hitting another student. She was charged for hitting a 50-year-old mom who stepped in between the teens.
The accused had been threatening the other student, and the victim’s mother stepped in to break things up.
These arrests aren’t just embarrassing; they can seriously impact a student’s ability to get into college, find a job, and start their new life after finishing school. Additionally, the process of expunging these crimes from a young person’s criminal record is not always easy.
Colorado Assault Charges and Penalties
While Colorado does have a separate court system for juveniles, law enforcement is not as lenient when it comes to violent crimes like assault. When these cases first come across the district attorney’s desk, the DA even has the option to try the juvenile as an adult.
Penalties for an assault conviction depend on a variety of factors including the circumstances surrounding the incident and the level of injury and violence involved.
Did the alleged assailant cause serious bodily injury to their victim? Was a deadly weapon involved? Was the victim a peace officer?
The charges may also be classified as first or second-degree assaults. In the case of the fight at Arvada High School, the alleged offender was only given a third-degree assault charge, which amounts to a class 1 misdemeanor in Colorado.
First and second-degree assault charges, on the other hand, are both considered felonies.
Penalties range from time behind bars in a juvenile correctional facility to community service or probation. If your child is charged with a felony, they also might face more significant and long-lasting penalties.
How to Help a Child Who Has Been Accused of Assault
The cases at Elizabeth Middle School and Arvada High School appeared to be pretty cut-and-dry, but sometimes that isn’t how it happens. What if your child is a victim of violence, but charged as the offender?
This is just one example of how even the most unlikely scenarios are possible in this day and age. If an incident between your child and another does occur, prepare yourself sooner than later.
Reach out to a Colorado defense attorney who has experience in juvenile cases so that you can ensure the best possible outcome for your child’s case.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.