If you face assault charges, you need to find the lawyer who will best fit your needs—and quickly. But not all Boulder assault defense lawyers are the same. Colorado defense attorney Michael Ferrell and his team with The Ferrell Law Firm, PLLC, have extensive experience and knowledge of Colorado law.
Attorney Ferrell puts this know-how to work, devising defense strategies with the potential to yield positive outcomes. Contact The Ferrell Law Firm to learn how a Boulder assault charge lawyer can help you.
Why You Need an Assault Defense Lawyer
The stakes are high if you have an assault charge. You face a significant prison or jail sentence and other consequences if found guilty. Hiring an experienced and dedicated attorney who understands the law is the best way to reduce your incarceration chances.
Assault cases can be complex, and working with an inexperienced lawyer could jeopardize your case. A less-experienced attorney—even if they have good intentions—might miss critical legal issues that could greatly impact your case.
Similarly, having a public defender represent you might not give you the best defense possible. Many public defenders are new attorneys who are often significantly overworked and underpaid. Many public defenders are good attorneys who do their best. But the sheer volume of cases they have to handle often means that cases get lost in the shuffle, and issues can get missed.
The Danger of Representing Yourself
The other alternative you might consider is representing yourself. But trying to represent yourself is incredibly dangerous, even if you have a right to do so. Why would you take that chance?
You have to know the law, legal procedures, the rules of evidence, legal reasons for motions to suppress, how to argue a motion, and how to take a case to trial to get the results you need. You need to have a working knowledge of legal research and what arguments often win and which often don’t.
The judge cannot help you, and neither can the prosecutor. So if you choose to represent yourself, you are truly on your own.
Your Best Option
The best option is to hire an experienced Boulder assault charge attorney to protect your rights and your freedom. An experienced assault defense attorney will strategically analyze your case and develop the strongest defenses for you.
What Are the Best Defenses for an Assault Charge?
The best defense is narrowly tailored to the facts of your case. You cannot simply throw a bunch of legal theories at the wall to see what sticks. A defense strategy honed to your needs gives you the best chance of beating your case.
We have a right to defend ourselves or another person if we are attacked. The law calls this self-defense or defense of others.
Self-defense is an affirmative defense. When you plead an affirmative defense, you concede that you committed an act that could be a crime, but you assert you were justified because the law excuses your behavior under the facts of your case.
However, when you assert an affirmative defense, the burden of proof is on you as the defendant. Typically, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. To prove that you committed a crime, they must establish each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury if the case goes to trial. However, when you assert self-defense, the burden of proving you were justified is now on you and your lawyer.
Now you have to produce some evidence of self-defense before the judge can give the self-defense jury instruction to the jurors. Therefore, you might have to take the stand and testify about what happened to lay the foundation for the judge to give this instruction to the jury. Or your lawyer could develop a self-defense case through precise cross-examination.
However your lawyer approaches the issue, counsel must be fully prepared and extremely knowledgeable about Colorado’s self-defense law to argue successfully on your behalf.
Jury Instructions on the Elements of Self-Defense or “Defense of Person”
Colorado’s “defense of person” jury instruction tells the jurors you have a right to defend yourself by applying physical force against another without retreating if you:
- Believed you were in danger of imminent unlawful physical force;
- Used only the degree of force necessary for defending yourself;
- Did not provoke the attack;
- Were not the first aggressor, or, if you were, you communicated your withdrawal from the altercation; and
- Did not engage in unauthorized combat by agreement or use physical force due to discovering the alleged victim’s gender, gender expression, gender identity, or sexual orientation, even if the alleged victim made no forcible romantic advances toward you.
You can use deadly force if a lesser degree of force would not dispel the threat and you or another is afraid of being killed or suffering great bodily injury.
Colorado law does not limit self-defense arguments to barroom brawls. You can claim self-defense in a domestic assault trial if there is evidence you had to defend yourself at the time of the assault.
If you establish the need for self-defense, the prosecutor then bears the burden to prove you were not entitled to self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury instructions tell the jury that they must find you not guilty if the prosecution fails to maintain its burden.
Other Defenses to Assault Charges
You may have other defenses to argue if self-defense does not apply to your case. For example, you might be able to claim an alibi if you were not present when the assault happened. Other potential defenses include arguing the attack was exaggerated, or the alleged victim lied about your actions. You could also argue that the police did not conduct a thorough investigation or that the alleged victim misidentified you.
Remember that the prosecution has the burden to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In some cases, arguing to the jury that the prosecutor failed to meet the burden of proof is the best defense. In a so-called “reasonable doubt” defense, your lawyer points out holes in the prosecutor’s case and argues that if there are holes in the case—there is reasonable doubt, and the jurors must find you not guilty.
Out of All of the Boulder Assault Defense Lawyers, Why Choose Michael Ferrell?
Michael is a compassionate person who shows empathy to all of his clients. Even before he became an attorney, he opened substance abuse counseling centers to help people wean themselves off of drugs and alcohol.
Using the lessons he learned from his substance abuse counseling experience, he entered law practice as a deputy district attorney in Arapahoe County. As a prosecutor, Michael litigated hundreds of different cases. His caseload included domestic assaults and other violent crimes to DUI charges. Now, Michael uses the vast experience he gained as a deputy district attorney to protect the rights of people like you.