Some sex crimes in Colorado are charged as misdemeanors. Others as felonies. How does the level of charge impact the consequences you face? In this post, we’ll describe the differences and tell you how you can get help if you are facing charges.
Colorado Misdemeanor Sex Crimes
If a sex crime in Colorado is charged as a misdemeanor, it will be prosecuted at the highest possible level for misdemeanor crimes. Here are the two sex crimes normally prosecuted as misdemeanors in Colorado.
Unlawful Sexual Contact
Unlawful sexual contact involves touching an individual’s private parts when the victim does not provide consent or is incapacitated. At the minimum, this offense will be prosecuted as a Class 1 misdemeanor, but it can be raised to a felony with certain aggravating factors.
This offense involves exposing one’s sexual organs in public without the consent of the victim.
In addition to these two crimes, under certain circumstances sexual assault can be classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor with extraordinary risk.
Misdemeanor Sex Crime Consequences
A conviction for a Class 1 misdemeanor sex crime will result in up to two years in jail, up to $5,000 in fines, and possible probation sentencing. While on probation, you may be prohibited from using the internet, seeing your children, or working in certain industries. You could also be prevented from traveling outside the state.
Additionally, you may be required to be listed on the state sex offender registry for 10 years or longer. Finally, in Colorado, sex crimes records are ineligible for expungement or sealing.
With consequences this harsh, it’s in your best interest to consult with a skilled Colorado criminal attorney as soon as charges are filed against you.
Colorado Felony Sex Crimes
Most sex crimes in Colorado are categorized as felonies. Here’s an overview of the various criminal acts and the associated charges.
Under Colorado law, human trafficking for commercial sexual activity is a Class 2 felony for the trafficking of minors and a Class 3 felony for the trafficking of adults.
The law applies to the following acts with the intent of promoting sexual servitude:
- Isolating, enticing, recruiting, or coercing individuals
- Transporting, transferring, or harboring individuals
- Obtaining, receiving, or selling individuals
If the offender assumed that the alleged victim was over 18 years old, or did not know the age of the victim, the law still applies for trafficking of minors. The law will also apply even if the minor granted consent.
Child prostitution is prosecuted as either a Class 2 or Class 3 felony under Colorado law. Here are some breakdowns of how the law applies to child sex crimes.
Class 3 felonies
- Child pandering
- Inducing a child through actions or words to commit prostitution
- Procuring a child for prostitution
- Maintaining a place where child prostitution occurs
- Using the funds earned by the child through prostitution
- Intentionally entering into or remaining inside a place where child prostitution occurs
- Engaging in sexual acts with a child prostitute
Class 2 felony
- Intimidating or threatening a child to commit prostitution
If you are facing any of these charges, it’s essential to seek legal advice from a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible.
Sexual penetration of an individual without his or her consent and against his or her will is classified as sexual assault under Colorado law. Sexual contact with minors between the ages of four and 14 years is strictly prohibited, as well as sexual penetration with a minor who is 15 or 16 years old when the offender is at least 10 years older than the victim. Enhanced sentencing exists if the victim is mentally or physically incapacitated at the time the crime occurred.
Depending on the circumstances, sexual assault can be charged as a Class 2, 3, or 4 felony under Colorado law.
Unlawful sexual contact
This offense can be raised to a Class 4 felony charge under the following circumstances:
- Coercing a victim under 18 years old to expose his or her private parts
- Engaging a victim under 18 years old in sexual contact or penetration
- Using date rape drugs to coerce or engage the victim in sexual acts
- Contact with a victim who is mentally or physically incapacitated
- Contact with a victim who has been admitted to a hospital or who is incarcerated
All felony convictions for Colorado sex crimes will require lengthy prison sentences, high fines, significant probation requirements, and registry in the state sex offender list. You can check with an experienced Colorado sex crimes attorney to know if your sex crime charges will be classified as a misdemeanor or felony.
About the Author:
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. Over the course of his career, Mr. Weeden’s work has been recognized in numerous ways, including being named to the Top 100 Trial Lawyers list by The National Trial Lawyers, earning a 10.0 “Suberb” Avvo rating, receiving Martindale-Hubbard’s highest peer review rating — AV Preeminent, and being asked to speak on several issues of interest to the legal community. 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.