Denver Assault Crimes Lawyer

1st-Degree Assault

Assault is one of the most common criminal charges filed in Colorado, and 1st-degree assault is the most serious form of assault charge that can be levied against a criminal defendant.

What Is 1st-Degree Assault Assault?

Under Colorado statute CRS 18-3-202, you can be charged with 1st-degree assault if you act to intentionally cause serious bodily injury to another person, often while using a deadly weapon.

1st-degree assault is a class 3 felony, punishable by 10 to 24 years in prison and fines from $3,000 to $750,000.

Elements of a 1st-Degree Assault Charge

Three key elements distinguish 1st-degree assault from less severe forms of assault: (1) intent; (2) the severity of the injuries; and (3) whether a deadly weapon was used.

To prove intent, the prosecutor must show that the defendant knowingly engaged in conduct that put another person at risk or acted with extreme indifference to the value of human life.

Serious bodily injury means an injury that involves a substantial risk of death, serious permanent disfigurement, loss or impairment of the function of any part or organ of the body, or breaks, fractures, or burns of the second or third degree. The substantial risk of death or loss of function need not happen immediately but can occur later.

In Colorado, a deadly weapon includes a firearm, regardless of whether it is loaded, a knife, a blunt instrument, or anything that can cause death or serious injury when used as a weapon.

Defenses to Charges of 1st-Degree Assault

1st-Degree assault is a serious charge. But Colorado criminal defense lawyer Kevin Cahill can help. He will mount a vigorous defense to reduce the charges or the severity of the punishment, or even have your case dismissed.

The four most common defenses to a 1st-degree assault charge in Colorado are:

  • Self-defense or defense of others;
  • Lack of intent;
  • Lack of a serious bodily injury; and
  • Heat of passion.

Some of these defenses seek to reduce the charges from 1st-degree assault to a lesser offense or reduce the severity of the penalties. Others seek outright acquittal.

Self-Defense or Defense of Others

Self-defense or defense of others is an affirmative defense. To succeed, you must prove that:

  • You believed the victim was using or threatening to use force against you or another person;
  • You defended yourself with as much force as you believed was necessary; and
  • Your belief was objectively reasonable.

Lack of Intent

To secure an assault conviction, prosecutors must prove that you intended to cause a serious bodily injury to someone else. To defend yourself, you can present evidence that you did not intend to hurt the other person, made a mistake, or caused the injuries accidentally or by mistake.

You can also show that you did not intend to cause a serious injury. For example, if you can show that you did not want to hurt the victim badly, the charges could be reduced to a lesser crime with less severe penalties.

Lack of Serious Bodily Injury

The crime of 1st-degree assault requires a showing that the victim suffered serious bodily injuries. Showing that the victim’s injuries were not serious could lead to a reduction in charges or a less severe punishment.

Heat of Passion

To successfully raise the affirmative defense of heat of passion, a defendant must prove:

  • They were provoked by the victim;
  • That provocation would have excited an irresistible passion in any reasonable person; and
  • There was no sufficient interval between the provocation and the injury for the defendant to calm down.

Proving heat of passion is not a complete defense to 1st-degree assault charges. Instead, the sentence will be reduced to a Class 5 felony, punishable by between one and three years in prison and a minimum fine of $1,000.

Contact Kevin Cahill for Aggressive Defense Against 1st-Degree Assault Charges

Denver criminal defense lawyer Kevin Cahill has earned a reputation for successfully defending clients accused of all manner of violent crimes. He will thoroughly investigate your case and mount a vigorous defense to increase the likelihood of a successful resolution. But if a trial is the only option, he has the experience, resources, and expertise to fight for a Not Guilty verdict in court.

Mr. Cahill believes that every single person deserves the best defense they can get. He will listen carefully to the specifics of your situation, offer an honest opinion about how you can best defend yourself, and begin preparing a vigorous defense.

Contact Denver assault attorney Kevin Cahill today to schedule a free consultation. Call (720) 548-2990 to start protecting your rights.

Denver CO Defense Lawyer Kevin Cahill


Denver Defense Lawyer Kevin Cahill never assumes that your case is a lost cause. He is a confident and fearless litigator who refuses to back down when he is fighting to protect the rights of his clients. Regardless of whether you are facing a felony or a misdemeanor, it is vital that you take the charges seriously and seek out legal representation as soon as possible so you can start building your defense. [ ATTORNEY BIO ]

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