Have you been charged with assault or another violent crime? Violent crimes range from misdemeanors to the most serious felonies. Each case is unique, and it is therefore essential to have an experienced Denver criminal defense lawyer at your side from the outset. The attorneys at Castañeda Law represent clients charged with a variety of violent crimes. Call us today for a consultation.
How are Violent Crimes Defined and Classified?
The criminal law specifies, by statute, every element of every crime. Each element must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. In the case of violent crimes, the elements vary significantly from one offense to another. Here are some of the more commonly charged violent crimes in Colorado:
- There are four different variations on assault. Assault in the third degree is the least serious of the four, and is a class 1 misdemeanor. Second degree assault, a felony, covers a number of different acts, including intentionally causing serious bodily injury. First degree assault, also a felony, includes, among other things, intentionally causing serious bodily injury using a deadly weapon. The final category is vehicular assault, which is reckless driving or DUI causing serious bodily injury. Vehicular assault is likewise a felony.
- Domestic Violence. Under CRS 18-6-800.3(1), domestic violence is defined as any act of violence, or threatened violence, against a person with whom you have “an intimate relationship.” It also includes coercion, revenge and intimidation of the other person by committing a crime against a third person or a property crime. Domestic violence is a status crime; it is not a separate offense, but may include crimes such as assault, committed against a spouse, partner, etc. A domestic violence offense can also lead to the imposition of an order requiring the defendant to undergo treatment for domestic violence management, as well as a protection order.
- Robbery is knowingly taking money or anything else of value from a person by using force, threats of force, or intimidation. It is a class 4 felony. Aggravated robbery, a class 3 felony, involves being armed with or using a deadly weapon, or being assisted by a “confederate.” Aggravated robbery of a pharmacy, where controlled substances are taken, is a class 2 felony.
- Sex Crimes. Part 4 of the Colorado Criminal Code is entitled Unlawful Sexual Behavior. It includes sexual assault (forcible and statutory rape), sexual contact without consent, sexual assault on a child, internet sex crimes involving children, invasion of privacy for sexual gratification, and numerous variations on these offenses. Most of these are felonies
- Gang Crimes. A criminal street gang is defined as an ongoing group consisting of at least three persons, whose activities or objectives include racketeering, or witness intimidation. If a crime has been committed that is considered to be gang-related, law enforcement often uses conspiracy charges to attempt to name numerous defendants in a case in which the crime itself may have been carried out by only one person.
- As with many other violent crimes, there is more than one degree of kidnapping. The primary difference depends upon whether a demand for ransom is involved. Kidnapping is always a felony. Related offenses include false imprisonment and taking a child in violation of custody order.
- Hate Crimes. Bias-motivated crimes are described in CRS 18-9-121. That section defines bias crimes as threats, assault, property destruction and other crimes with intent to harass or intimidate a person on the basis of race, religion, color, ancestry, national origin, disability or sexual orientation. A hate crime involving property damage or threats is a class 1 misdemeanor. If physical injury results, it is a felony. The law contains special sentencing provisions, including community service and other alternatives for first-time offenders. Those alternatives are discretionary with the court.
- Homicide is the killing of one person by another person. But calling a crime a homicide does very little to describe either the offense or potential penalties. The homicide offenses in Colorado are
- first degree murder (killing with deliberation, felony murder, and others).
- second degree murder (knowingly causing a person’s death).
- manslaughter (causing a death recklessly, or assisting in suicide).
- criminally negligent homicide (causing death through criminal negligence, that is, failure to perceive that the conduct carries a significant risk of death).
- vehicular homicide (death caused by reckless driving, and death proximately caused by a driver who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI)).
The differences among the various homicide charges often related to questions of the intent and state of mind of the suspect.
These are just some of the more notable examples of violent crimes.
Defense of Violent Crimes in Colorado
Some violent crimes are obviously more serious than others. On the other hand, most of these offenses are felonies, and most can lead to stiff sentences. Fortunately, mistakes are often made in connection with a violent crime arrest, including mistaken identification, illegal search and seizure, other constitutional violations, and even a rush to judgment on the part of the police.
Whatever violent crime you have been charged with, the attorneys at Castañeda Law can help. We are experienced Denver criminal defense lawyers, and we will work hard to make sure that your rights are protected.
Call (303) 386-7135 for a consultation