Colorado Sex Crimes: Sentencing Laws
The penalty for any criminal offense depends on the class of crime. An offense may include several different classes of crime, depending on the specific circumstances. The crime classification level for each of Colorado’s sex offenses is listed below.
The sentencing requirements for each crime classification level are listed below.
Not all individuals who are convicted of a sex offense receive a sentence of incarceration.
It is sometimes possible to negotiate a plea bargain involving a In a deferred judgement and sentence. In this plea bargain charges against a defendant are dismissed after successful completion of court-ordered probation. Also called deferred sentencing, the defendant is allowed to withdraw a guilty plea and charges are dismissed after successful completion of court-ordered probation.What are the Provisions of Colorado’s Lifetime Supervision of Sex Offenders Act? Colorado Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act of 1998.
In 1998, the legislature established a law under which individuals who commit sex offenses could receive treatment and supervision for the rest of their lives. In the act’s legislative declaration, the General Assembly found that the majority of individuals who commit these crimes are likely to commit similar crimes in the future if they are not supervised. The highlights of the act’s provisions are indeterminate sentencing for certain sex offenders, treatment for sex offenders, and intensive supervision of sex offenders in the community.
Indeterminate sentencing. Under the act, certain sex offenses are subject to special sentencing guidelines. These offenses include:
- sexual assault;
- felony unlawful sexual contact;
- sexual assault on a child;
- sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust;
- Internet sexual exploitation of a child;
- aggravated sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist;
- enticement of a child;
- Internet luring of a child
- aggravated incest;
- patronizing a prostituted child;
- trafficking in children;
- sexual exploitation of children;
- procurement of a child for sexual exploitation;
- soliciting for child prostitution;
- pandering of a child;
- procurement of a child;
- keeping a place of child prostitution;
- pimping of a child; or
- inducement of child prostitution.
Any sexual offense during which the offender used threat, intimidation, 4 or force against the victim, or caused bodily harm to the victim.Section 18-1.3-1004(2)(a), C.R.S.
The special sentencing guidelines for these offenses include the following.
- Courts may sentence sex offenders to an indeterminate prison term of at least the minimum of the presumptive range for the offenses previously listed and a maximum of the offender’s natural life.
- Individuals who commit offenses that constitute a crime of violence4 may be sentenced to an indeterminate prison term of at least the midpoint of the presumptive range for the specific offense and a maximum of the offender’s natural life.
- Habitual sex offenders and HIV-positive individuals, who were aware of their HIV-positive status prior to committing a sex offense, may be sentenced to an indeterminate prison sentence of at least three times the upper limit of the presumptive range for the specific offense and a maximum of the offender’s natural life.
Treatment. Sex offenders who are involved in the criminal justice system are required to undergo appropriate treatment as part of any sentence to probation, community corrections, incarceration, or parole. Offenders involved in the system are subject to evaluation and identification to determine what treatment is appropriate.
Recommendations from the Department of Corrections (DOC), the Judicial Department, the Department of Human Services, and the Division of Criminal Justice are considered in the evaluation and identification process. It is the responsibility of the Sex Offender Management Board to create a procedure for the evaluation and identification of sex offenders, as well as to certify treatment facilities and personnel.Supervision of Probationers
Courts are authorized to sentence sex offenders to probation for an indeterminate period of time unless the individuals are convicted of a crime of violence or are considered habitual offenders against children. In those cases, the offender must be sentenced to incarceration for an indeterminate period of time, as explained above. The indeterminate probation scheme is as follows:Level of Offense Minimum Probation Period Maximum Probation Period
- Class 2 felony 20 years Offender’s natural life
- Class 3 felony 20 years Offender’s natural life
- Class 4 felony 10 years Offender’s natural life
- Crime of violence Probation not an option
- Habitual sex offender Probation not an option
Any sex offender who is sentenced to probation is required to participate in an “intensive supervision probation program” for an indeterminate period of time as a condition of probation. The offenders in the intensive program must receive the highest level of supervision available to probationers. The court also has the option to sentence a sex offender to a residential community corrections program for a minimum period of time, to be specified by the court. At the end of theminimum period, the offender may or may not be released to the intensive supervision probation program.
Supervision of parolees. (IF you are ever released from prison)
The DOC has established an intensive supervision program for sex offenders who have served a prison term and have subsequently been released on parole. Sex offenders who appear before the parole board may be required, as a condition of parole, to participate in the supervision program. Any individual who is convicted of failure to register as a sex offender is also required to participate.
The supervision program for parolees or probationers is designed to minimize risk to the public, to the greatest extent possible, and may include:
- severely limited activities;
- daily contact between the sex offender and the parole or probation officer;
- monitored curfew;
- home visitation;
- employment visitation and monitoring;
- drug and alcohol screening;
- treatment referrals and monitoring; and
- payment of restitution.
- Conditions for release on parole.
Each sex offender who has completed the minimum period of an indeterminate sentence is entitled to a hearing of the parole board. The parole board determines whether or not a sex offender may be released on parole. In making that determination, the board considers whether the sex offender has successfully progressed in treatment, whether the individual would present an undue risk to the community, and whether there is a strong and reasonable probability that the individual will repeat the crime. A parolee’s supervision level is subject to reduction by the offender’s parole officer at any time. The parole officer may also return a sex offender to the intensive supervision parole program if the parole officer believes that an increased level of supervision is necessary to protect the public safety.