The Penalties For Sex Crime Convictions In Colorado
In the state of Colorado, penalties for adult sex crimes vary greatly depending on the specific facts of the case. Circumstances such as the use of force, the role of the attacker and the relationship between the attacker and the victim can have a great impact on the penalties if someone is found guilty of a sexual offense. The sentence ranges for sexual crimes based on the actions of the attacker help guide the court in determining a sentence. There are two broad categories of sexual crimes against adults in Colorado: Unlawful Sexual Contact and Sexual Assault.
Unlawful Sexual Contact
A person commits unlawful sexual contact in Colorado if the attacker knowingly touches another’s intimate parts or knowingly receives touching of intimate parts, even if over clothing, where:
- The victim does not consent;
- In attacker knows the victim is incapable of consent;
- The attacker knows the victim is physically helpless and has not consented;
- The attacker has impaired the victim through the use of drugs, alcohol, or other substances for the purpose of causing submission;
- The victim is in custody or a hospital and the attacker uses his or her authority over the victim to coerce submission, unless incident to a lawful search; or
- The attacker is a medical provider and treats or examines the victim in a manner inconsistent with reasonable medical practices.
A conviction for unlawful sexual contact is a Class 1 misdemeanor and is subject to an increased maximum sentence for committing an extraordinary risk crime. The sentencing range for this offense is 6 months to 24 months. However, if the attacker compelled the victim to submit by use of force, intimidation, or threat, the crime is classified as a Class 4 felony. This classification is significant because it can raise the sentence to a minimum of 5 years up to life pursuant to Colorado’s indeterminate sentencing statute.
There are several different ways a person can commit sexual assault. Each set of circumstances has its own classification and its own sentencing ranges. A person commits sexual assault if he or she knowingly inflicts sexual intrusion or penetration on a victim when:
- The attacker causes the victim to submit against the victim’s will;
- The attacker knows the victim is incapable of appraising the victim’s conduct;
- The attacker knows the victim consented erroneously, thinking the attacker was his or her spouse;
- The victim was less than 15 years old and the attacker was at least 4 years older;
- The victim was between 15 and 17 years old and the attacker was at least 10 years older and not the spouse;
- The victim was in custody or a hospital and attacker used his or her authority to gain the victim’s submission;
- The attacker used his or her authority as a medical treatment provider to assault the victim under the guise of treatment; or
- The attacker knew the victim was physically helpless and had not consented.
Sexual assault offenses are typically Class 4 felonies and carry sentences of between 5 years and life. However, there are exceptions and enhancements. If the victim was between 15 and 17 years old and the attacker at least 10 years older, the crime is a class 1 misdemeanor and extraordinary risk crime. Such a crime would carry a penalty of between 6 months and 24 months’ incarceration. If the victim was physically incapable of consent, the attacker used threat of death or force to gain submission, or the attacker used a drug or other intoxicant to gain submission, the crime becomes a class 3 felony.
The minimum penalty goes up to 10 years with possible maximum of life. If the attacker is armed with a deadly weapon and threatens its use, is aided by another in the attack, or if the victim suffers a serious bodily injury, the crime becomes a class 2 misdemeanor and carries a minimum sentence of 16 years and a maximum possible sentence of life. In addition to incarceration, Colorado sex offense crimes carry fines, parole requirements, treatment and evaluation protocols, and other consequences. Sexual offenses against children carry different penalties. Colorado has enacted tough and life-changing consequences for those convicted of a sexual crime. If you are accused of a sex crime in Colorado, you should retain the services of a competent and experienced criminal defense lawyer and make sure he has pass the Bar exam.