Colorado Assault and Battery Laws

  • May 19 2017

In Colorado, assault and menacing are defined separately and carry different penalties.  Generally speaking, assault involves purposely or recklessly causing injury to another person, while menacing involves knowingly causing a person to fear for his or her physical safety due to verbal or physical threats. Below is an overview of the ways in which Colorado defines and penalizes these crimes.


Assault in Colorado is classified by degree, with first degree being the most serious. The specific facts of a particular case will determine the degree under which an assault charge falls. Colorado classifies assault charges as follows:

  • First degree – First degree assault occurs when a person intentionally or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another person, intentionally disfigures or disables another person, or threatens a peace officer, firefighter, or judge with a deadly weapon with the intent to inflict serious bodily injury.
  • Second degree – Second degree assault includes the intentional or reckless infliction of bodily injury with a deadly weapon, the intentional infliction of bodily injury while knowingly interfering with the duties of a peace officer or firefighter, the unlawful administration of a substance to an individual without consent for the purpose of causing bodily harm, and the knowing application of physical, violent force to a peace officer, firefighter, or judge during the performance of his or her official duties.
  • Third degree – Third degree assault occurs when a person knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person, with or without a deadly weapon.

Assault Penalties

First and second degree assault are felonies and carry the harshest penalties. The following penalties, divided by class, are applicable to first and second degree assault charges:

  • Class 3: Class 3 felonies are punishable by fines of $3,000 to $750,000 and 4 to 12 years in prison.
  • Class 4: Class 4 felonies are punishable by fines of $2,000 to $500,000 and 2 to 6 years in prison.
  • Class 5: Class 5 felonies are punishable by fines of $1,000 to $100,000 and 12 to 36 months in prison.
  • Class 6: Class 6 felonies are punishable by fines of $1,000 to $100,000 and 12 to 18 months in prison.

Third degree assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor and is punishable by fines of $500 to $5,000 and 6 to 24 months in jail.


Menacing occurs when an individual knowingly places or tries to place another person in fear of imminent serious bodily harm. Actual harm need not be imminent as long as the victim reasonably believes it to be so.

Menacing can be classified as either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances. Like assault, menacing charges are divided by class, and penalties range from $50 to $100,000 in fines and up to 3 years of incarceration.

If you’ve been charged with assault or menacing, it’s imperative that you engage the services of an experienced criminal law attorney in order to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Please contact us for a free consultation at (720) 897-1550 or (888) 694-2093 (toll-free).

Posted in: Domestic Violence