Being arrested for sexual assault can be a frightening experience. And if you’re convicted, the stress of understanding what can happen to you can be even worse.
In Colorado, there are sexual assault laws with a variety of penalties, some more serious than others. If convicted, you may face being labeled a sex offender for the rest of your life. You can end up in jail, on parole, or on probation for a long time.
Here’s what you need to know about sexual assault laws and penalties in Colorado, as well as how you may secure an early release.
Sexual Assault Laws in Colorado
In Colorado, sexual assault includes acts of intrusion or penetration. These crimes are commonly grouped as sexual assault crimes:
- Anal rape
- Penetration with a foreign object
- Forced oral copulation
Sexual assault on a child involves a victim younger than 15 by a perpetrator at least four years older.
Penalties for Sexual Assault in Colorado
In Colorado, sexual assault is a felony. The penalties for acts of penetration or intrusion and rape include up to 12 years in prison and fines of as much as $750,000.
Penalties increase if what the court considers to be “aggravating factors” exist in the case. Some of these aggravating factors include:
- A victim aged 14 or younger
- A victim aged 15 or 16 who is a minimum of 10 years younger than the perpetrator
- A perpetrator aided in the act by another person
- A victim who suffered serious bodily injury as a result of the sexual assault
- A perpetrator with a history of violence
- The use of a deadly weapon to subdue the victim during the commission of the crime
- A victim who was pregnant
- A perpetrator who, during the time the act took place, was on probation, parole, or serving a sentence for another felony
Aggravating factors can increase penalties for sexual assault in Colorado, resulting in additional prison sentences of 24 years and fines up to $1 million.
Other Consequences of Sexual Assault Crimes
Most people realize that if they’re convicted of sexual assault crimes in Colorado, they’ll face time in jail and fines—but that’s not all.
You may also be required to register as a sex offender in the state. The registry, maintained by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, allows the public to see your information. It can impact life issues like finding a job or securing housing.
If you fail to register as a sex offender when you’re required to, you can receive additional criminal penalties, i.e. 18 extra months in jail and fines of as much as $100,000.
In some circumstances, you may be able to have your name taken off the sex offender registry. Usually, this is only allowed if it’s been at least 20 years since you were convicted, and you have not been convicted of sexual assault again.
Can You Be Released Early?
If you are sentenced to prison or parole, is it ever possible to be released early? The answer is yes, but only if certain criteria are met.
Often, a sex offender has to demonstrate that they are not a threat to the community. They do this through acknowledging their responsibility in the crime, addressing the conviction via mental health treatment and relapse prevention, and compliance with the rules in prison.
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.