An assault and battery accusation has serious consequences. Unfortunately, people in turbulent relationships may use the authorities to upset their partners or to try to win a child custody battle. At Samuel S. Hansuld, P.C., our Denver criminal attorneys face assault and battery charges head on and do everything in their power to vindicate an accused’s rights.
Historically the legal difference between the two terms comes down to contact. An assault is any reasonably perceived threat to another person. Assault charges might arise, for example, for pointing a knife towards someone. There need not be any contact with the person. Just the threat alone meets the grounds for an assault. Some states then define aggravated assault as a threat along with the ability and willingness to immediately carry it out.
Battery occurs once there is physical contact. Brandishing a baseball bat, for example, might lead to assault charges. Actually striking a person with the bat would lead to battery charges. Usually battery charges do not occur alone, but in conjunction with assault charges, leading to a single charge of assault and battery.
The definitions provided above are the general ones for assault and battery, but the actual elements of the crimes vary from state to state, which often confuses people. In fact, assault and battery charges in Colorado are the opposite of their historical definitions provided above.
In Colorado, the legislature defines assault as unlawful contact. Third degree assault in Colorado involves any reckless or negligent act that injures another person. Second degree assault involves the same sort of acts along with a deadly weapon.
First degree assault is the most severe. Some states refer to it as aggravated battery (because it involves physical contact). This is an assault that causes serious injury to another and that uses a deadly weapon. Acts that seriously injure public servants like police offers also fall under first degree assault in Colorado.
Battery charges in Colorado often fall under menacing charges, which are any threats that put another person in fear of imminent danger to his or her body. Menacing charges are typically a misdemeanor, but they become a felony when a deadly weapon is involved.
Further complicating matters, Colorado cities may have their own municipal laws covering assault and battery charges. Regardless of the name of the charges, fighting these charges takes persistence and a will to protect your constitutional rights. Speak to a Denver criminal lawyer at Samuel S. Hansuld, P.C. immediately if you are facing assault and battery allegations. Passionate about ensuring that you get your day in court, our attorneys will protect your rights as an accused.