Is There A Difference Between Assault And Battery In Colorado?

Yes, there is a distinction between assault and battery in Colorado law, although Colorado statutes typically use the term “assault” for offenses that might be considered either assault or battery in other jurisdictions. Understanding the legal definitions and differences between these terms is crucial for a precise grasp of how they are applied in Colorado.

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Legal Definitions


In Colorado, “assault” refers to knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person, or causing such an injury with a deadly weapon. Colorado law categorizes assault into three degrees, each reflecting the severity of the offense and the intent behind it:

  1. First-Degree Assault (C.R.S. 18-3-202): This is the most serious form of assault and is considered a felony. It occurs when a person:
    • Intends to cause serious bodily injury to another person and does so with a deadly weapon;
    • Intends to seriously and permanently disfigure another person or destroy, amputate, or disable a member or organ of his body and causes such injury;
    • In the heat of passion, caused by a provocation, intentionally or knowingly causes serious bodily injury to another person;
    • Threatens a peace officer or firefighter with a deadly weapon while they are performing their duties, and the perpetrator knows the victim’s status.
  2. Second-Degree Assault (C.R.S. 18-3-203): This is a felony offense, involving intentionally causing bodily injury to another person, either with or without a weapon. It can also include causing such injury while preventing a peace officer or firefighter from performing a lawful duty.
  3. Third-Degree Assault (C.R.S. 18-3-204): This is a misdemeanor, involving knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person, or with criminal negligence causing such injury by means of a deadly weapon.


The term “battery” is not specifically used in Colorado statutes in the context of general criminal law. Instead, Colorado law encompasses the concept of battery within its definitions of assault, particularly in cases where physical contact and injury occur.

Application and Penalties

The application of these laws in Colorado means that any physical attack or unwanted physical contact that causes injury can be charged under one of the three degrees of assault. The specific charges and penalties depend on factors such as the severity of the injuries, the intent of the perpetrator, the use of a weapon, and the status of the victim (e.g., whether the victim is a peace officer).

The penalties for assault can be severe in Colorado. They range from fines and short-term jail sentences for third-degree assault to long-term prison sentences for first-degree assault. The use of a deadly weapon, the infliction of serious bodily injury, and the victim’s status can significantly enhance the penalties.

Colorado Springs Assault Lawyer

While Colorado law does not separately categorize battery from assault, it comprehensively covers actions that would traditionally fall under both assault and battery in other jurisdictions through its detailed statutes on assault.

The severity of the act and the harm caused play critical roles in determining the exact nature of the charge and the associated legal penalties – jail time and/or fines.

Understanding these distinctions between assault and battery is important for your Colorado Springs Criminal Attorney, those involved in the legal system, and residents of Colorado to comprehend their legal rights and responsibilities under state law.


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