The phrase “You are being arrested for assault and battery” appears so often in criminal dramas that many people believe that these are the same crimes. In fact, the laws surrounding assault and battery are different depending on what state you are in.
In Colorado, assault and battery are two distinct crimes, although, according to FindLaw, Colorado defines “battery” as “menacing.”
What is assault?
In the state of Colorado, assault is when one person acts in a reckless or knowing manner and causes another person bodily injury as a result. There are three degrees of assault in Colorado: First Degree, Second Degree, and Third Degree. The courts may charge an alleged perpetrator with felonies for First and Second Degree assault. Third degree assault is a Class 1 misdemeanor charge.
What is menacing?
In Colorado, “menacing” is when an alleged perpetrator puts another person in a position where he or she fears imminent bodily injury. There is no actual contact necessary for the courts to charge you with menacing. It is possible for menacing to be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding the charge.
Additionally, you do not even have to have a “real” weapon for a menacing charge. Threatening somebody with a replica gun or a rubber knife suffices for the charge itself. Plus, the alleged perpetrator does not have to actually scare the intended victim for a menacing charge: the district attorney must only prove that the accused was intending to scare the victim. Understanding the laws specific to the state you are in will help you navigate the criminal defense system more efficiently.