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Teen Age Sexual Contact

This article addresses only the issue of the Age of Consent in certain situations – it DOES NOT address the many other issues surrounding the many theories of committing the crime of sexual assault. The legal dating age in Colorado.

Colorado does not “define” the term “age of sexual consent.” Colorado law is written to make a determination of whether individuals based on age have the “legal capacity” to consent to having sex. The age of consent is then determined by what is excluded from the Colorado criminal law..

This page analyzes the so called crime of Statutory Rape in Colorado – “non-legal consensual sexual relationships” versus a the age spreads of “legal consensual sexual relationships.”

Colorado Age of Consent Explained Further Example 1: The Alleged Victim is Under 15 – The Accused is at Least Four Years Older Than 15

Here is the LAW in this situation:

18-3-402. Sexual Assault
  1. Any actor who knowingly inflicts sexual intrusion or sexual penetration on a victim commits sexual assault if:
    • d. At the time of the commission of the act, the victim is less than fifteen years of age and the actor is at least four years older than the victim and is not the spouse of the victim;

This is a Class 4 Felony in Colorado unless the crime is committed under certain aggravating circumstances. For the purpose of this scenario .. It is assumed that both parties have consented to the relationship. If one of the parties is 14 and the other is 18 or older this is considered “statutory rape” The same is true if one is 13 and the other 17 or older or 12 and 16 or older. The older party need NOT be an adult to be guilty of this crime. In fact, juveniles are often charged with this crime in the Colorado Juvenile Court Consent is not a defense in these cases.

Example 2: The alleged victim is between 15 and 17 – the alleged perpetrator is at least Ten Years years older

Here is the LAW in this scenario:

  1. Any actor who knowingly inflicts sexual intrusion or sexual penetration on a victim commits sexual assault if:
    • e. At the time of the commission of the act, the victim is at least fifteen years of age but less than seventeen years of age and the actor is at least ten years older than the victim and is not the spouse of the victim

This is a Class 1 Misdemeanor in Colorado unless the crime is committed under certain aggravating circumstances .. For the purpose of this scenario .. It is assumed that both parties have consented to the relationship – If one of the parties is 15, 16 or 17 – and the other is 25, 26, 27 or older – this is also considered “statutory rape” BUT in this situation, by definition, the older party MUST BE an adult to be guilty of this crime.

Colorado Consensual Sex and Age of Sexual Consent The Misdemeanor Summary

Two Colorado laws criminalize sex between adults and minors, and between minors regardless of consent.

The Misdemeanor

A person commits the crime of sexual assault if he or she is 10 years older than a minor who is 15 or 16 years old. A person convicted of this crime is guilty of class 1 misdemeanor sexual assault. Sexual assault is considered an “extraordinary risk crime,” which allows for a more severe sentence. The enhanced sentence for this extraordinary risk crime ranges from six to 24 months in jail or a fine of $500 to $5,000 or both.

The Felony

A person commits class 4 felony sexual assault if he or she is at least 4 years older than a minor who is 14 years old or younger.2 This extraordinary risk crime has a sentence range of two to eight years inprison or a $2,000 to $500,000 fine or both.

Consensual Sex and Age of Sexual Consent in Colorado — Historical Perspective

Prior to 1975, consensual sex between a female aged 15 or younger and an offender at least two years older was classified as rape and was a class 4 felony. Therefore, the age of consent was 16. In 1975, the law was rewritten. Sexual assault in the second degree involved sexual penetration or intrusion of a victim aged 14 or younger and an offender at least four years older than the victim, regardless of consent. Between 1975 and 2000, the age of consent was 15 years of age.

The sexual assault statutes were modified again in 2000. In addition to the law related to those 14 and under, the law made it a crime to have sex with a person who is a 15- or 16-year-old if the actor is at least 10 years older, regardless of consent. Therefore, the age of consent in Colorado is 17. UNDER THE NEW LAW, is 17 if the other party is less than 10 years older.

Here is the Entire Colorado Law

18-3-402. Sexual assault.

  1. Any actor who knowingly inflicts sexual intrusion or sexual penetration on a victim commits sexual assault if:
    1. The actor causes submission of the victim by means of sufficient consequence reasonably calculated to cause submission against the victim’s will; or
    2. The actor knows that the victim is incapable of appraising the nature of the victim’s conduct; or
    3. The actor knows that the victim submits erroneously, believing the actor to be the victim’s spouse; or
    4. At the time of the commission of the act, the victim is less than fifteen years of age and the actor is at least four years older than the victim and is not the spouse of the victim; or
    5. At the time of the commission of the act, the victim is at least fifteen years of age but less than seventeen years of age and the actor is at least ten years older than the victim and is not the spouse of the victim; or
    6. The victim is in custody of law or detained in a hospital or other institution and the actor has supervisory or disciplinary authority over the victim and uses this position of authority to coerce the victim to submit, unless the act is incident to a lawful search; or (g) The actor, while purporting to offer a medical service, engages in treatment or examination of a victim for other than a bona fide medical purpose or in a manner substantially inconsistent with reasonable medical practices.
  2. Sexual assault is a class 4 felony, except as provided in subsections (3), (4), and (5) of this section.
  3. Sexual assault is a class 1 misdemeanor if committed under the circumstances of paragraph (e) of subsection (1) of this section.
  4. Sexual assault is a class 3 felony if it is attended by any one or more of the following circumstances:
    1. The actor causes submission of the victim through the actual application of physical force or physical violence; or
    2. The actor causes submission of the victim by threat of imminent death, serious bodily injury, extreme pain, or kidnapping, to be inflicted on anyone, and the victim believes that the actor has the present ability to execute these threats; or
    3. The actor causes submission of the victim by threatening to retaliate in the future against the victim, or any other person, and the victim reasonably believes that the actor will execute this threat. As used in this paragraph (c), “to retaliate” includes threats of kidnapping, death, serious bodily injury, or extreme pain; or
    4. The actor has substantially impaired the victim’s power to appraise or control the victim’s conduct by employing, without the victim’s consent, any drug, intoxicant, or other means for the purpose of causing submission; or
    5. The victim is physically helpless and the actor knows the victim is physically helpless and the victim has not consented.
    1. Sexual assault is a class 2 felony if any one or more of the following circumstances exist: (I) In the commission of the sexual assault, the actor is physically aided or abetted by one or more other persons; or
      1. The victim suffers serious bodily injury; or
      2. The actor is armed with a deadly weapon or an article used or fashioned in a manner to cause a person to reasonably believe that the article is a deadly weapon or represents verbally or otherwise that the actor is armed with a deadly weapon and uses the deadly weapon, article, or representation to cause submission of the victim.
      1. If a defendant is convicted of sexual assault pursuant to this subsection (5), the court shall sentence the defendant in accordance with section 18-1-105 (9) (e). A person convicted solely of sexual assault pursuant to this subsection (5) shall not be sentenced under the crime of violence provisions of section 16-11-309 (2), C.R.S. Any sentence for a conviction under this subsection (5) shall be consecutive to any sentence for a conviction for a crime of violence under section 16-11-309, C.R.S.
      2. The provisions of this paragraph (b) shall apply to offenses committed prior to November 1, 1998.
  5. Any person convicted of sexual assault committed on or after November 1, 1998, under any of the circumstances described in this section shall be sentenced in accordance with the provisions of part 8 of article 13 of title 16, C.R.S.
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