U.S. Women's Goalkeeper Pleads Not Guilty to Domestic Violence Charges

Hope Solo Pleads Not Guilty to Domestic Violence Assault Charges

Hope Solo, goalkeeper for the U.S. women’s soccer team, was arrested over the weekend for allegedly assaulting her step-sister and nephew.  She was charged with two counts of fourth degree assault as acts of domestic violence.  Solo appeared in court today with her attorney and pled not guilty to the charges.  Her attorney told the judge that she was actually assaulted and injured, laying out a self defense claim.

According to police reports, Solo told her 17 year old nephew that he was “fat and unathletic.”  Solo’s step-sister intervened and the nephew grabbed a broom to try to separate the two, hitting Solo.  Both the nephew and step-sister were visibly injured.  Solo refused to be examined for injuries.  At one point, the nephew even grabbed a BB gun to scare Solo out of the home.

Colorado Laws:  Assault & Domestic Violence

Colorado does not have a fourth degree assault, nor would the above allegations meet the definition of “domestic violence.”  Third degree assault is the lowest level assault in Colorado.  A person commits third degree assault when she knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury, meaning pain, to another person.  Third degree assault is a misdemeanor.  Second and first degree assault are felonies.  A person commits second degree assault when she either causes serious bodily injury to another person, such as a broken bone, or causes regular injury to another using a deadly weapon.  A deadly weapon is not limited to a gun or knife.  In fact, some prosecutors will charge hands as a deadly weapon.  A person commits first degree assault when she uses a deadly weapon and causes serious bodily injury to another.

Each of these types of assault can be charged as an act if domestic violence if the defendant and victim are currently or were previously in an intimate relationship.  A person commits a crime as an act of domestic violence when she either physically touches a person without a legal defense and the victim was or is an intimate partner.  A person also commits a crime as an act of domestic violence if the crime is committed to control or coerce the victim.

Source:  CNN, Deborah Bloom & Ray Sanchez, June 23, 2014