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It is easy to get heated and emotional in a physical confrontation. While you may not intend to assault someone, you may move past the point of defending yourself and assault another individual.

It is essential to realize that even a third-degree misdemeanor assault can result in jail time. Because of this, if you have been charged with assault, you should contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani.

We can review the facts of your case and help you understand your legal options.

Assault Defined

Assault is a crime where you put a victim in a reasonable offensive apprehension or harmful contact. It includes threatening to cause them physical harm, too, even if you do not hit or harm them.

There are three levels of assault in Colorado. These include:

  • 1st Degree Assault: You cause serious bodily injury with a deadly weapon.
  • 2nd Degree Assault: A felony charge that involves the use of a deadly weapon or causing someone serious bodily harm.
  • 3rd Degree Assault: Considered a misdemeanor, it is the intentional or reckless infliction of bodily injury to another person.

Understanding Self-Defense

Self-defense is a legal doctrine that allows individuals to protect themselves from harm when faced with an imminent threat. The principle behind self-defense is that you have the right to use reasonable force to defend yourself or others from an immediate danger of physical harm.

However, the key to successfully claiming self-defense is demonstrating that your actions were necessary and proportionate to the threat.

Elements of Self-Defense

To claim self-defense effectively, you must establish certain key elements:

  • Imminent Threat: You must show that you faced an immediate threat of physical harm. It’s essential to prove that the danger was real and not speculative.
  • Proportionate Response: Your response must be proportional to the threat you faced. Using excessive force can weaken your self-defense claim.
  • No Duty to Retreat: In Colorado, there is a “stand your ground” law, which means you are not obligated to retreat before using force in self-defense.
  • Subjective Belief: Your belief that self-defense was necessary must be genuine. It’s not enough to claim self-defense if your actions were based on a mistaken belief.

Application to Assault Charges

Now, let’s apply these elements to assault charges. In cases where you are accused of assault, claiming self-defense can be a viable defense strategy if the following conditions are met:

  • You Were Threatened: You genuinely believed that you were in danger of imminent physical harm during the alleged assault.
  • Proportional Force: The force you used in response to the threat was proportionate and reasonable, given the circumstances.
  • No Duty to Retreat: Depending on your jurisdiction, you either had no duty to retreat or attempted to do so if required by law.
  • Genuine Belief: Your belief that self-defense was necessary was sincere and supported by the facts.

Case Example – Denver Assault Scenario

Imagine walking alone late at night in a dimly lit area of Denver, and an unknown individual approaches you threateningly. If you feel that your safety is at risk in the heat of the moment, you may use force to protect yourself, which could be considered self-defense.

However, it’s crucial to emphasize that each case is unique, and the circumstances surrounding the alleged assault will heavily influence whether a self-defense claim is viable.

Consulting with a criminal defense attorney in Denver can help you assess the strength of your self-defense argument and navigate the legal process.

Legal Consequences

If your self-defense claim is successful, you may avoid or reduce criminal charges associated with assault. However, if your claim is not upheld, you could still face penalties for your actions, depending on the severity of the assault and other factors.

It’s important to remember that the burden of proof typically falls on the prosecution to disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help build a strong case in your favor, ensuring your rights are protected throughout the legal proceedings.

Seek Help When Facing Assault Charges in Denver

Understanding self-defense and its applicability in assault cases is crucial for individuals facing assault charges. While you have the right to defend yourself when in immediate danger, successfully claiming self-defense relies on meeting specific legal criteria.

If you are in such a situation, consult a knowledgeable Denver assault attorney to assess your case’s unique circumstances and develop a robust defense strategy.


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