On the evening of Saturday, March 6, 2021, the Hill was flooded with hundreds of individuals, many of them University of Colorado Boulder students, in a party that ended in violent assaults on police and significant property damage. Although three police officers were injured, a car was flipped over, and objects such as rocks and bottles were thrown at the police and firefighters, no one was arrested at the scene.

As police and the district attorney review video footage of the night, criminal charges will likely follow for those involved. Among the potential charges include assault, failure to disperse, criminal mischief, defacing private property, menacing, engaging in a riot, and disobeying a public order during a riot. Some of these charges carry the potential of significant fines and even jail time.


In Colorado, an assault conviction can carry significant penalties, including:

  • Up to two years in jail for a third-degree or “simple” assault
  • Up to 16 years in prison and up to $500,000 for a second-degree felony aggravated assault
  • Up to 32 years in prison and up to $750,000 for a first-degree felony aggravated assault

Disorderly Conduct

The potential penalties for disorderly conduct in Colorado vary depending on whether the defendant is charged with a petty offense or a misdemeanor.

  • If convicted of a petty offense, defendants may be sentenced to up to 6 months in jail and/or be required to pay a fine of up to $500.
  • Class 3 misdemeanors carry penalties of up to $750 in fines and up to 6 months in jail.
  • Class 2 misdemeanors carry penalties of up to $1,000 in fines and up to 12 months of imprisonment.

Criminal Mischief

In Colorado, criminal mischief can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The charge depends on the monetary equivalent of the property damage committed.

  • If convicted of misdemeanor criminal mischief, defendants face up to $1,000 in fines and jail time of up to 18 months.
  • If convicted of felony criminal mischief, defendants face fines of up to $1,000,000 and may be sentenced to up to 24 years in prison. However, these later penalties only apply when the defendant is convicted of a Class 2 felony, which requires that the value of the damaged property be $1,000,000 or more.

Engaging in a Riot

Under Colorado law CRS 18-9-104, the crime of engaging in a riot can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on whether a weapon was used and other factors.

  • If convicted of misdemeanor engaging in a riot, the defendant may be sentenced to up to 12 months in prison and ordered to pay fines of up to $1,000.
  • Those convicted of felony engaging in a riot may be ordered to pay up to $500,000 in fines and sentenced to jail time of up to 6 years.

Not Over for Those Involved

While only two individuals have been arrested and charged in connection with the party turned violent riot so far, it is more than likely that numerous others will face criminal charges related to the events that took place on the Hill that night.

If you or a loved one have been questioned by the police, charged in connection with the riot, or fear that you may face charges in the future, it is crucial that you seek the advice of an experienced CU Boulder student defense attorney immediately. A conviction for one or more of the crimes described above would result in a criminal record for the individual, which can have a significant adverse impact on many areas of their life including future employment opportunities.

At The Moorhead Law Group, our team of experienced Boulder college student criminal defense attorneys will carefully assess the evidence against you and identify all defenses potentially available to you. We invite you to schedule a free consultation by calling our Boulder office: (303) 586-6912.