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Colorado Age of Consent Laws

The age of consent in Colorado, is 17 years old. Similarly to other states, when a minor is involved, age difference plays a major role in criminal charges. 

Age of Consent Exceptions

Close in Age Exemption

Colorado has a “close in age” exemption, more commonly known as “Romeo and Juliet Law”. This states that anyone under the age of 15 can legally consent to have sexual relations with someone who is no more than 4 years older. Also, a person who is under the age of 17, can legally consent to have sex with someone who is no more than 10 years older.

This law is more lenient than other states, especially when you consider that a 15 year old can legally have sex with a 24 year old, as long as the sex is consensual. 

Although the age of consent is 17 in Colorado, the child prostitution laws extend to those who are 18 and under. 

Colorado Common Law Marriage

Colorado recognizes common law marriage and is one of the only states to do so. 

What is common law marriage?

When two people live together over a certain amount of time and consider themselves to be married, they may be treated as legally married in the state of Colorado. 

The laws surrounding common law marriage in Colorado do not specifically state a minimum age for common law marriage.

Age of Consent Defense

Colorado does not provide for any mistake of fact defense. Some states have what’s called a strict liability standard. This means that defendants cannot argue that he or she did not realize that the other was not able to consent.

This makes statutory rape a strict liability crime. Therefore, even if the defendant was lied to, they may still be held criminally liable. 

Violating the Age of Consent in Colorado

The state of Colorado has six statutory sexual abuse charges. One or more of these may be issued to prosecute violations of the Colorado Age of Consent laws. The severity of the prosecution relies on the specific acts committed and the ages of both parties.

ChargeSeverityPunishment
Internet Sexual
Exploitation of a Child
Class 4 Felony1-12 Years in Prison
$2000-$500,000 Fine
Procurement of a Child
For Sexual Exploitation
Class 3 Felony2-24 Years in Prison
$3000-$750,000 Fine
Sexual AssaultClass 1 Misdemeanor
Class 4 Felony
6-18 Month Sentence
$500-$5000 Fine
2-6 Years in Prison
Sexual Assault of a ChildClass 3 Felony
Class 4 Felony
2-23 Years in Prison
$3000-$750000 Fine/
1-12 Years in Prison
$2000-$500,000 Fine
Sexual Assault of a Child
in a Position of Trust
Class 3 Felony
Class 4 Felony
2-23 Years in Prison
$3000-$750000 Fine/
1-12 Years in Prison
$2000-$500,000 Fine
Sexual Exploitation of a
Child
Class 3 Felony
Class 4 Felony
Class 6 Felony
2-23 Years in Prison
$3000-$750000 Fine/
1-12 Years in Prison
$2000-$500,000 Fine
1-1.5 Years in Prison
$1000-$100,000 Fine

To help determine whether your charge for sex charge is a felony or misdemeanor in Colorado, check out our post here.

Contact Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeff Weeden

Since 2005, Jeffrey L. Weeden has been practicing criminal defense law in Colorado and has helped countless clients protect their rights and freedoms as a respected, caring, hard-nosed criminal defense attorney.

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Additionally, he is someone who cares deeply about his community and those in need, and is an active member of a number of professional legal organizations, including the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center and Law Firm Pro Bono Coordinators.

A trusted advocate during his nearly 15 years representing those accused of crimes, attorney Weeden has represented clients throughout Colorado including Adams, Arapahoe, Aurora, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Gilpin, Jefferson, Larimer, Morgan, Weld counties and beyond.

Act Now—Call Attorney Jeff Weeden To Build A Solid Defense Strategy Against These Serious Charges. 

For a free initial consultation, call 720.307.4330. Phone answers 24/7 and collect calls from inmates are accepted.

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