If you are arrested, cited, or asked to give an interview to law enforcement, you probably are a bit nervous and that is understandable. The government brings cases on suspicion. Its called probable cause and the standard is not what is required to convict.
And, in many cases, the only solution is to run your case through a safety net – the jury. Don’t take chances on what you want the system to be. Take it for what it is. And, get counsel. At David M. Sargent, LLC, we know these cases. We take cases including DUI, Careless Driving, Reckless Driving, Driving without a Valid Drivers License, Assault in the Third Degree, Harrassment, Criminal Mischief, and Disorderly Conduct.
If you’re faced with any of these charges, legal counsel should be your first step.
Call today at (303) 359-1869.
Assault in the Third Degree. C.R.S. 18-3-204(1)(a).
In Colorado, Assault in the 3rd Degree means that a person knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person or with criminal negligence causes bodily injury to another person, by means of a deadly weapon, and that the offense is not legally authorized by an affirmative defense. C.R.S. 18-3-204(1)(a). The offense changes somewhat when a public official is involved.
Assault 3rd is a class 1 misdemeanor. The presumptive jail can be from 6 to 18 months. But, with mitigation, the court can award as little as zero jail. If some circumstances, the court can add an additional 6 months enhancer when certain categories of violations are found to have been committed. C.R.S. 18-1.3-501(3)(a). Fines typically are in the $500-$5000 range.
To defeat this charge, lawyers look to various elements, including whether there was bodily injury, whether one acted recklessly or knowingly, whether the person acted reasonably in self-defense, and the definition of a deadly weapon.
Harassment, C.R.S. 18-9-111(1)(a)
Harassment as it is most commonly charged when with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person, struck, shoved, kicked, or otherwise touched a person, or subjected him [her] to physical contact, and that the defendant’s conduct was not legally authorized by the affirmative defense.
Harassment is class 3 misdemeanor. Jail is a presumptive 0 months to 6 months, with fine of $50 – $750. Only if the intent to intimidate is because of race, color, religion, ancestry or national origin will it be a class 1 misdemeanor.
Annoy and alarm are not defined by statute. Annoy means to irritate with a nettling or exasperating effect. Alarm means to arouse a sense of danger or to put on alert or strike with fear.
Harrassment often comes up in domestic disputes where couples are in a verbal fight, and there has been physical contact. Juries want to see more than the broad interpretation of physical contact which prosecutors put forth. Juries also want clear evidence of the alleged intent.
The defenses are typically involve failure of intent to harass, annoy or alarm, failure to strike, shove, kick, touch/subject to physical contact, or self-defense.
The statute has other variations such as obscene language or gestures in a public place, following a person in public place, anonymous communication by telephone or computer, repeated telephone calls, inconvenient telephone calls, repeated communications to provoke a disorderly response.
Criminal Mischief C.R.S. 18-4-501
A person commits criminal mischief when he or she knowingly damages the real or personal property or one or more other persons, including property owned by the person jointly with another person or property owned by the person in which another person has a possessory or proprietary interest, in the course of a single criminal episode.
Criminal Mischief sentencing differs based upon the value of the property.
(a) A class 3 misdemeanor when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is less than three hundred dollars;
(b) A class 2 misdemeanor when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is three hundred dollars or more but less than seven hundred fifty dollars;
(c) A class 1 misdemeanor when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is seven hundred fifty dollars or more but less than one thousand dollars;
(d) A class 6 felony when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is one thousand dollars or more but less than five thousand dollars;
(e) A class 5 felony when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is five thousand dollars or more but less than twenty thousand dollars;
(f) A class 4 felony when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is twenty thousand dollars or more but less than one hundred thousand dollars;
(g) A class 3 felony when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is one hundred thousand dollars or more but less than one million dollars; and
(h) A class 2 felony when the aggregate damage to the real or personal property is one million dollars or more.
Apart from determining what act was done, to what kind of property interest, the value determination is critical. The prosecutor will ask juries to infer criminal intent from the surrounding facts and circumstances or from the relation existing between the defendant and the owner of the property injured or destroyed. But the mischief must be the direct object of the act, and not incidental to some other lawful or unlawful act. Who owns the property always is an issue. And, the prosecution must prove the actual value of the property.
Disorderly Conduct C.R.S. 18-9-106
A person commits disorderly conduct if he or she intentionally, knowingly or recklessly (a) makes a course and obvious offensive utterance, gesture or display in a public place and the utterance, gesture or display tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace; (c) makes an unreasonable noise in a public place or near a private residence that he or she has no right to occupy; or (d) fights with another in a public place except in an amateur or professional contest of athletic skill; or (e) not being a peace officer, discharges a firearm in a public place except when engaged in lawful target practice or hunting; of (f) not being a peace officer, displays a deadly weapon, displays an article used or fashioned in a manner to cause a person to believe the article is a deadly weapon, or represents verbally or otherwise that he or she is armed with a deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm.
(a) to (c) is a class petty offense. (d) is a class 3 misdemeanor. (e) to (f) is a class 2 misdemeanor.
Most frequently the subsection (d), fighting in a public place, is what this office sees.
Other Traffic Offenses:
At this office we regularly see traffic misdemeanors, in addition to, DUI cases. Commonly we will see:
Reckless Driving CRS 42-4-1401
Careless Driving CRS 42-4-1402
Driving without a Valid Driver’s License CRS 42-2-1-1(1)