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In a physical confrontation, there’s a fine line in the difference between assault and self-defense, but the distinction is critically important since the punishment for even a misdemeanor assault charge (3rd-degree assault) can bring jail time.

The best way to explain the distinction between assault and self-defense is to describe the types of actions that are legally considered self-defense, realizing that if the physical encounter doesn’t fall within those boundaries, it could be considered assault.

If you have any questions about representation in an assault or self-defense matter in Denver or the surrounding counties, don’t hesitate to call Wolf Law today at (720) 479-8574 and talk with an assault defense lawyer.

Colorado’s self-defense laws allow people to:

  1. Defend a person (yourself or another person) from physical force; however, the use of deadly force is only allowed if it appears the attacker may seriously assault, kidnap, or sexually assault the person.
  2. Defend themselves within their own residence. Known as the “Make My Day Law,” in this case the use of deadly force is allowed as long as it appears that intruder might commit a crime (including robbery) and that the intruder might use physical force. This right to use deadly force is only allowed inside the residence. If the intruder is on the porch, at the door, in the yard or has left the premises, the relatively low threshold that allows for use of deadly force under Make My Day is no longer in effect.
  3. Defend a premises or other property (other than their home which is covered in #2). The ability to use deadly force in this environment comes with the same restrictions as in #1.

Most other physical altercations between people could be considered assault but in a different post, we list out some different scenarios on what could be assault or self-defense.

If you are charged with assault in Colorado, you may be charged with one of three levels:

  1. 3rd-degree assault, a misdemeanor, is knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to someone. The standard for bodily injury is very low—causing momentary pain could be included in the definition.
  2. 2nd-degree assault, a felony, is either assault using a deadly weapon or causing serious bodily injury. In some circumstances, a punch or a kick could be considered an assault.
  3. 1st-degree assault, is causing serious bodily injury, much like 2nd-degree assault, however, the bodily injury is inflicted through the use of a deadly weapon.

For both 1st and 2nd Degree assaults (collectively referred to as “crimes of violence”) the intent to cause injury must be proven. Self-defense is one possible defense that can be used in these cases.

Also, proving that the attack was a “crime of passion” committed in the “heat of the moment” could be a mitigating factor that could lessen the charge. However, if convicted of 1st or 2nd-degree assault there are mandatory prison sentences of 10-32 years under 1st degree and 5-16 years for 2nd-degree charges.

If you’ve been arrested for assault or have been involved in a self-defense altercation in the Denver area, you need expert legal guidance. Wolf Law has experienced criminal defense attorneys serving Coloradans facing criminal charges. Contact Wolf Law today for a free consultation.

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First of all, I would like to thank Colleen Kelley and all the staff at Wolf Law for helping me greatly with my legal matters. I called and was able to get consulted that same day, and the prices are very manageable. Colleen did an awesome job and took her time reviewing all the evidence and negotiating with the DA. In my first case she was able to get the charges completely dismissed, which was very impressive. I had a second case where she got me a deferred judgment deal, which was great considering the charges pending. I am very pleased with her efforts and time spent working on my case. Again, I would highly recommend Wolf Law, giving them 5/5 stars!

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— Anonymous

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I’m a college student in a highly prestigious nursing school. After a night of drinking, my now ex-girlfriend and I got into a heated argument that landed me with domestic violence charges. I thought my career was over and the tens of thousands of dollars I spent on multiple years of school were all for nothing. However, Mr. Wolf was able to get two of my three charges dismissed altogether (one of them being the most serious) without us even walking into the courtroom. When we got to court, he was able to get me a deferred sentence–the best possible scenario. All in all, Wolf Law is hands-down the best in the Denver area. They are the reason I can still pursue my career goals.

— Blair

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Jeff was a terrific advocate while representing me through my DWAI. He was professional. I am convinced that it was his prior trial experience and effective communication skills that secured a much more desirable sentence than I had expected. I am positive that Jeff’s representation made it so that I could keep my job.

— Matt

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I would highly recommend attorney Jeffrey Wolf. He consistently demonstrates knowledge and professionalism, both in and out of the courtroom. His expertise helped me to understand the legal process. As a victim of domestic violence, I looked to Mr. Wolf to assist me in obtaining a restraining order. His compassion combined with skill helped me to feel safe again.  I reached a positive outcome in my case and felt informed, confident, and cared for with Mr. Wolf in my corner.

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When I had charges pending against me, I had a free consultation with many attorneys and ultimately hired Jeff wolf as my formal representation. Most of the attorneys’ capabilities were relatively equal, but what stuck out with Jeff was his ethics and personal investment in my outcome.

From the beginning he tried to get a thorough sense of who I was in society and represent that to the judge for sentencing. In court he pleaded my case and balanced remorse for the action with any positive attributes to gain a favorable outcome. He is well spoken and respected in court.

I liked that his payment model worked through stages that he “earned” along the way. I had a clear understanding of what to expect from him, from the court, and the most likely requirements of my sentence. And when I didn’t understand or had additional questions on one part (and I had many) he took the time to explain and discuss the options and his recommendation with me.

He had a thorough knowledge of the system and its players as well as knowledge on unusual factors related to my specific case, and he made well-thought-out recommendations with reasoning but ultimately let me make the final decision.

The result of my case was quite favorable thanks to Jeff. Great lawyer, highly recommend.

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Until the night of my DUI, I had never been in trouble before so one could only imagine how scared I was. Facing a DUI with a possible felony/assault charge, I honestly wasn’t sure how I was going to get through it all. I happened to find Jeffrey Wolf through another lawyer. After meeting with him in person, I knew immediately that he was going to help me. I was a complete wreck from day 1 and yet he made me feel at ease with every meeting, phone call and court appearance.

One of the traits I appreciated most was his honesty. Mr. Wolf told me straight up from the beginning what could happen and what I was facing but reassured me that he would do everything he could to get me through it with the best outcome. Having him there with me through this process and through every court appearance with him by my side made it easier to handle and I am so grateful to have worked with him. At the end of it all, I was able to get probation with a deferred judgment on my case. I would absolutely refer Mr. Wolf to any of my friends and/or family!

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— Melissa

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