Assault or Self-Defense?

In a physical confrontation, there’s a fine line between assault and self-defense, but the distinction is critically important since punishment for even a misdemeanor assault charge (3rd degree assault) can bring jail time. And your rights to defend your property may not extend as far as you think they do.

To help illustrate the not so clear distinction between assault and self-defense, three common but fictitious scenarios are outlined below – followed by a verdict and a brief explanation. As you read through the scenarios, try to determine if it’s assault or self-defense.

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Understanding Assault

As a Denver criminal defense lawyer, I know that assault charges come in many different packages. Sometimes what seems to be a petty crime on the surface is actually a serious felony. Understanding the differences between the four types of assaults is crucial to building a solid defense. Here’s what you need to know about assault charges:

Petty assault. This Class 1 offense is typically reserved for lower-level incidents. It is tried in municipal court with a city attorney acting as the prosecutor. Petty assault is punishable by up to a year in county jail.

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