Recently a U. S. Marshal was assaulted by a skateboarder at the U. S. Federal Courthouse in Denver, and police are still looking for the attacker.
On Sept. 27, 2017 around 5:45 p.m., a man on a skateboard approached the marshal. Five other skateboarders were also present. The man was around 20 years old, standing roughly 5’ 8” tall and weighing about 140 pounds with blond hair. He assaulted the U. S. Marshal, then ran away. The Denver police are looking for the suspect and offering a $2,000 reward to anyone with information.
If this suspect is caught, he will likely face assault or battery charges that could land him in jail and cost him significant fines. Colorado laws aren’t friendly to those charged with assault or battery, especially when the assault occurs against law enforcement officers. This article will explain what constitutes assault or battery in our state and what penalties are associated with a conviction.
What Is “Assault” in Colorado, and What are the Consequences?
Assault charges can be made if someone knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to someone. Battery charges, also known as menacing, apply when an offender causes someone else to fear imminent bodily injury through threat or action.
A battery charge is categorized as class 3 misdemeanor unless it involves the threat or use of a deadly weapon. Whether the weapon is real or artificial, the charge can be upped to a class 5 felony. A class 3 misdemeanor will result in $50 to $750 in fines and up to six months in jail. A class 5 felony conviction will result in between $1,000 and $100,000 in fines and between one and three years in prison.
Colorado assault laws have three degrees, which vary based on the degree of intended harm.
Third degree assault charges apply under the following circumstances:
- Knowingly, recklessly, or negligently causing bodily injury with a deadly weapon
- Knowingly using a dangerous substance to injure, threaten, annoy, or harass a law officer
A third degree assault conviction is a class 1 misdemeanor, resulting in up to six months in prison. When a law officer is the victim of the crime, the judge has the right to increase the minimum sentence or fine up to twice the regular amount.
Second degree assault includes the intent to cause bodily injury under the following four scenarios:
- Intentional bodily injury with a deadly weapon
- Intentional bodily injury to a law officer to prevent them from carrying out their duties
- Reckless bodily injury with a deadly weapon or dangerous substance
- Intentional cause of serious bodily injury
Second degree assault is considered a violent crime in Colorado, which affects the prison sentencing. A second degree assault conviction is a either a Class 6 or Class 4 felony which will result in up to 12 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines.
First degree assault involves intent to cause serious bodily injury. Most often this occurs with the threat or use of a deadly weapon. This charge also applies if assault occurs against a law officer while they are performing their duties. First degree assault is a violent crime. A first degree assault conviction is a Class 5 or Class 3 felony which results in a maximum sentence of 24 years in prison and up to $750,000 in fines.
The skateboard attacker may face more severe assault or battery charges since he attacked a law officer who was on duty. Because he allegedly caused bodily injury with intent, he could face a class 1 misdemeanor conviction, which is considered an extraordinary risk crime. As an investigation takes place into the incident, evidence could even show that a felony charge is warranted.
Defending against Assault Charges in Colorado
If you have been charged with assault in Colorado, several defenses may be available to you. A knowledgeable Denver assault attorney will advise you on which of the following defenses may apply to your circumstances:
- Acting in self-defense
- Lack of intent
- Crime of passion
- Emergency measure needed to prevent public or private injury
- Public duty execution (police have authorized use of force)
You may be eligible for reduced penalties. For example, if your actions were a crime of passion, you will receive lesser charges. If the assault or battery occurred without intent, you may receive a shorter sentence.
If you are facing these charges, seek the assistance of an experienced Colorado criminal attorney as soon as charges are filed. The more time an attorney has on your case, the better chance they will find a defense that will help you. Reach out today for your free initial consultation.
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.