A Felony Conviction Can Have a Serious and Substantial Impact on Your Life.

Felonies are ultimately resolved in District Court, although they originate in County Court.  The below are the sentencing ranges for all felony charges, except for Drug Felonies:

A class 1 felony is punishable by life in prison or the death penalty.

A class 2 felony is punishable by four to forty-eight years in prison.

A class 3 felony is punishable by two to twenty-four years in prison. However, should the charged offense constitute an “extraordinary risk crime” the sentencing range is two to thirty-two years.

A class 4 felony is punishable by one to twelve years in prison. However, should the charged offense constitute an “extraordinary risk crime” the sentencing range is one to sixteen years in prison.

A class 5 felony is punishable by one to three years in prison. However, should the charged offense constitute an “extraordinary risk crime” the sentencing range is one to four years in prison.

A class 6 felony is punishable by one year to eighteen months in prison, or up to two years in prison should the charged offense constitute an “extraordinary risk crime”.

Any sentence to prison will be followed by a mandatory period of parole.

The extraordinary risk crimes under Colorado law are aggravated robbery, child abuse, unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, any crime of violence, stalking, and sale or distribution of materials to manufacture controlled substances.

If you are charged with a “crime of violence”, your charge involves a mandatory prison sentence should you be convicted as charged. If convicted, you must serve a prison sentence of at last the midpoint of the presumptive sentencing range for that offense (as outlined above). Under Colorado, the following are classified as crimes of violence: first or second degree assault, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, murder, arson, burglary, sex offenses, and crimes against at-risk adults or juveniles.

If a “dangerous weapon” is alleged to have been used in the charged offense, an additional, consecutive, five-year sentence applies.

Nonetheless, Aggravating or Mitigating Factors May Increase or Reduce the Length of any Sentence Imposed for a Felony Offense.

Under the law, these are known as extraordinary mitigating or extraordinary aggravating circumstances.

Extraordinary aggravating circumstances require that a defendant be sentenced to some length of time in between the midpoint of the presumptive range and twice the maximum sentence length. The scenarios considered to constitute extraordinary aggravating circumstances are as follows: the defendant is convicted of a “crime of violence”, the defendant was on parole for a different offense when the charged case was committed, the defendant was on probation or on bond following a revocation of probation for another felony when the charged case was committed, the defendant was confined in a correctional institution or had escaped from a correctional institution when the charged offense was committed, or the defendant was less than 18 when the offense occurred and was on probation for an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult.

Extraordinary mitigating circumstances allow a judge to impose a sentence that is less than the presumptive range for a charged offense – specifically, down to one half of the applicable minimum sentence. Specific factors that would be deemed to constitute extraordinary mitigating circumstances are not laid out in the law.

While certain felonies must result in prison sentences, others may result in a sentence to probation, intensive supervision probation (ISP), probation along with up to ninety days in the county jail as a condition of that probation, or community corrections (the halfway house).

Alternative Sentences

In certain counties, alternative sentences – not listed above – may be possible.  For example, some counties offer a diversion program, and others involve specialty courts like a Veterans Court, Drug Court, or Mental Health Court.  Denver even offers a Restorative Justice program which ultimately results in the dismissal of your case upon completion.  Depending on the seriousness of your case and unique facts and circumstances of your situation, one of these alternatives may be available in your case.

Should you be charged with a felony, or even multiple felonies, it is in your best interests to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as is practicable.

The Felony Process in Denver County

In Denver, felony cases are initiated by the issuance of a warrant.  Neither the Court nor law enforcement will confirm the existence of such a warrant over the phone.  In fact, in order to ascertain whether you do have a felony warrant for a new case in Denver, you would need to turn yourself in at a Denver Police Department station.  It is recommended you do this no later than five p.m. to ensure you make it on the next day’s docket to have your bond set, so that you may post that bond and be released.

Once you have posted your bond, if you are able to do so quickly after that initial hearing at the detention building, you are scheduled for what is called a second advisement hearing.  This hearing is also held in the detention center.  The Judge will take the bench, read the entire courtroom an advisement as to their rights, then call each case individually to give each defendant a new court date in county court for preliminary hearing.  This is also the hearing when you are giving a copy of your formal charges, which can be different than your arrest charges (either for better or for worse).  A lucky few may see their case dismissed if the DA has decided not to file charges in their case.

The next hearing takes place in either Courtroom 3G or 3H of the County Court, for what is called a preliminary hearing.  Some are ineligible for preliminary hearing, and will simply appear and bind their case over to District Court for arraignment.  Others – with either more serious cases or those who remain in custody – are eligible for preliminary hearing and will need to determine whether they want to hold their preliminary hearing, waive their preliminary hearing for an offer or continued negotiations, or continue their preliminary hearing.  This decision should be made with consideration of the advice of counsel.

The arraignment stage of the case is when a plea is entered – either a guilty plea, pursuant to a plea bargain, or a not guilty plea.  If a not guilty plea is entered, the case is set for a disposition hearing, and either later that day or later that week, a motions hearing.  If the case is not disposed of at disposition or motions, the case is set for trial.

To schedule a free initial consultation, call 720-257-5346 or fill out a free case review form, and a representative from the Law Office of Kimberly Diego will contact you as soon as possible.