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Colorado Criminal Defense Blog

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Being a convicted sex offender in Colorado is a difficult road – made even more difficult by one thing: indeterminate sentencing.

Recently, a court upheld a convicted sex offender’s indeterminate sentencing as constitutional, meaning that his sentence for first-degree sexual assault that has gone beyond the determinate sentence is not a violation of his rights.

What is an indeterminate sentence? Is it something someone accused of sex crimes in Colorado should be worried about? Here’s what you need to know.

Indeterminate and Determinate Sentence in Colorado

The sentencing structure for sex offenses in the United States often varies from state to state. In some states, they follow a determinate sentencing structure. This basically means that anyone convicted of a sex crime gets a sentence handed down by the judge in line with the sentencing guidelines of the state for the particular crime.

In Colorado, there is an indeterminate sentencing scheme in place for sex crimes. What this entails is that anyone convicted of a sex crime in the state faces a sentence that can include supervision through incarceration or probation for the rest of their life.

That means that someone who is convicted of a sex crime and sentenced to four years to life in prison could see things go two routes. They could potentially serve two years and be released on parole – or they could serve a life sentence.

For these types of sentences, there is no mandatory release date for the person convicted of a sex crime. If they are never granted parole, then they’ll remain in prison.

Indeterminate Probation Also Applies

In Colorado, even sex offenders who do not receive life sentences can be monitored for life by the state. That’s because indeterminate sentencing also applies to cases of probation.

The minimum time a person can be granted probation varies, but there is no maximum time limit, either. It is up to the courts in the state to decide whether or not someone can be released after they’ve met their probation terms.

And, in most sex offender cases, probation sentences can be imposed for felonies from ten years to life, which can result in a lifetime of supervision by the state.

What Crimes Are Subject to Indeterminate Sentencing?

There are several sex crimes to which indeterminate sentencing can apply, such as:

  • Sexual assault
  • Internet sexual exploitation of a child
  • Felony unlawful sexual conduct
  • Class 4 felony internet luring of a child
  • Sexual assault on a child
  • Patronizing a prostituted child
  • Enticement of a child
  • Sexual assault on a child by someone in a position of trust
  • Incest
  • Aggravated sexual assault on a client by a therapist

Sex Offender Treatment is Key

Denver Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer

In order for someone to be released on parole or from probation, sex offender treatment is a must. The courts and parole boards do not want to release sex offenders out into the community who have not successfully completed the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board treatment program.

This can be a problem, because the program has limited openings. Many inmates are waiting for a spot to even enter the program and get the chance to complete it.

If you are facing sex crime charges in Colorado, you must understand what you’re up against in this serious realm. A sex crime conviction can send you to prison for the rest of your natural life, so it’s vital to ensure you put forward a robust defense.


About the Author:

Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012 & 2019” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2020 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state.  Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.



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