The crime of second-degree assault is defined in the Colorado Revised Statutes in Section 18-3-203. This is a serious criminal offense that involves intentionally or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person with a deadly weapon. It is a class 4 felony that carries a prison sentence of five to 16 years.
When Is Second-Degree Assault Charged?
Assault in the second degree is a broad category of crime that occurs when a person intentionally hurts another. Under state law, it is second-degree assault to:
- Intentionally or recklessly cause injury to another person with a deadly weapon
- Intentionally causing another person to suffer physical or mental impairment (as from drugging or knocking that person unconscious)
- Intentionally hurting another person to prevent a police officer, firefighter, or EMT from doing his or her job
- Attempt to infect an emergency responder or prison worker using bodily fluids
- Knowingly use physical force against an emergency responder, court worker, or prison worker
- Intentionally hurt another person by suffocating or strangling that person
- Cause a serious injury while attempting to cause a less serious injury
What Are the Elements of Second-Degree Assault?
To get a conviction for second-degree assault, the prosecution must prove every element of the crime. The specific elements of this offense can depend on the behavior for which it was charged. For example, strangulation is one type of second-degree assault. In this case, the elements of the crime are that the accused:
- With intent to cause bodily injury,
- Applied sufficient pressure to impede or restrict breathing or circulation of the blood of another person, and
- By applying such pressure to the neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of the victim,
- Thereby causing bodily injury.
In all cases of second-degree assault, the prosecution must prove intentional conduct, bodily injury, and lack of legal justification or consent.
What Are the Possible Defenses Against Second-Degree Assault Charges?
Our criminal defense attorney may employ various strategies to challenge second-degree assault charges. We can thoroughly examine the evidence, including witness testimony, police reports, and medical records, to identify any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. Some of the most common legal defenses against second-degree assault include:
- Self-defense: You are justified in injuring someone else if it was done to defend yourself. In asserting self-defense, you must provide evidence that you believed the other person was about to use unlawful force against you and you acted with as much force as you believed necessary to protect yourself.
- Defense of others: You are equally justified in injuring another person if it was done to protect someone else from imminent harm. You must show that you acted with the amount of force you believed necessary to protect the other person from what you believed was the imminent use of unlawful force.
- Lack of intent: Second-degree assault requires intentional conduct in most cases. If you can prove that the injury was caused by a mistake or a negligent accident on your part, you cannot be convicted of this crime.
- The heat of passion: State law expressly allows for the heat of passion defense, which reduces a conviction to a class 6 felony from a class 4 felony. To prove the heat of passion, you must show that the victim did something wrong and was highly provoking; the provocation would have created an irresistible passion to act in a reasonable person; and there was not enough time to calm down before you caused injury.
If you are facing second-degree assault charges, contact The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. at (719) 401-0585. Our Colorado Springs criminal defense attorney can protect your rights, skillfully negotiate plea agreements, and present a compelling defense in court.