Criminal Defense Attorney

Do I Need an Attorney?

When one is arrested and charged with a crime, they need to retain an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney they can trust, and one who will vigorously represent their interests. Jim understands that being charged with a crime can be a life-changing event, and that is why the serving the needs of every client, whether they are charged with a minor traffic violation or a felony offense, is an absolute priority to him.

Criminal convictions can have lasting effects beyond any sentence imposed by a court, including the denial of employment and educational opportunities. A guilty plea should never be entered without first having Jim evaluate the conduct of the police to ensure your constitutional rights were not violated, as well as to explore any and all defenses available to you. Only if and when those avenues are exhausted will Jim plea bargain with the district attorney's office in an effort to secure a favorable resolution to the charge or charges.

Jim has represented clients on charges ranging from minor traffic offenses to first degree attempted murder. No matter the charge, Jim gives each case the same attention and dedication.

Crimes Against Property

Jim Represents clients charged with alleged crimes against the property of another. The following are common crimes against property in Colorado.

Arson

In Colorado there are four degrees of arson charges. One commits First Degree Arson when they knowingly set fire to, burn, cause to be burned, or by the use of any explosive damages or destroys any building or occupied structure of another. First Degree Arson is a class 3 felony.

One commits Second Degree Arson when they knowingly set fire to, burn, cause to be burned, or by the use of any explosive damages or destroys any property of another, other than a building or occupied structure. If the value of the property damaged is one hundred dollars or more Second Degree Arson is a class 4 felony. If the damage is less than one hundred dollars it is a class 2 misdemeanor.

One commits Third Degree Arson when they, by use of fire or explosives, intentionally damages any property with the intent to defraud. It is a class 4 felony.

A person who knowingly or recklessly starts or maintains a fire or causes an explosion, on his property or that of another, and by so doing places another in danger of death or serious bodily injury or places any building or occupied structure of another in danger of damage commits Fourth Degree Arson. If one is endangered the crime is a class 4 felony. It is a class 2 misdemeanor if only property is endangered and the value of the property is one hundred dollars or more. It is a class 3 misdemeanor if only property is endangered and the value of the property is less than one hundred dollars.

Burglary

There are three degrees of burglary in Colorado. A person commits First Degree Burglary if the person knowingly enters unlawfully, or remains unlawfully after a lawful or unlawful entry, in a building or occupied structure with intent to commit therein a crime against another person or property, and if in effecting entry or while in the building or occupied structure or in immediate flight therefrom, the person or another participant in the crime assaults or menaces any person, or the person or another participant is armed with explosives or a deadly weapon. First Degree Burglary is a class 3 felony.

A person "enters unlawfully" or "remains unlawfully" in or upon premises when the person is not licensed, invited, or otherwise privileged to do so.

A person commits Second Degree Burglary if the person knowingly breaks an entrance into, enters unlawfully in, or remains unlawfully after a lawful or unlawful entry in a building or occupied structure with the intent to commit a crime. It is a class 4 felony, but it is a class 3 felony if It is a burglary of a dwelling or the objective of the burglary is the theft of a controlled substance

A person commits Third Degree Burglary if with the intent to commit a crime he enters or breaks into any vault, safe, cash register, coin vending machine, product dispenser, money depository, safety deposit box, coin telephone, coin box, or other apparatus or equipment whether or not coin operated. It is a class 5 felony unless the objective of the burglary is the theft of a controlled substance, in which case it is a class 4 felony.

Criminal Mischief/Vandalism

A person who knowingly damages the property of one or more other persons, including property owned by the person jointly with another person or property owned by the person in which another person has a possessory or proprietary interest, in the course of a single criminal episode commits a class 2 misdemeanor where the damage to the real or personal property is less than five hundred dollars.

Where the damage to the property is five hundred dollars or more but less than one thousand dollars, the person commits a class 1 misdemeanor.

Where the damage to the property is one thousand dollars or more but less than twenty thousand dollars, the person commits a class 4 felony.

Where the damage to the property is twenty thousand dollars or more, the person commits a class 3 felony.

Criminal Trespass

There are three degrees of Criminal Trespass in Colorado. A person commits the crime of First Degree Criminal Trespass if such person knowingly and unlawfully enters or remains in a dwelling of another or if such person enters any motor vehicle with intent to commit a crime therein. First degree criminal trespass is a class 5 felony.

A person commits the crime of Second Degree Criminal Trespass if such person:

(a) Unlawfully enters or remains in or upon the premises of another which are enclosed in a manner designed to exclude intruders or are fenced; or

(b) Knowingly and unlawfully enters or remains in or upon the common areas of a hotel, motel, condominium, or apartment building; or

(c) Knowingly and unlawfully enters or remains in a motor vehicle of another.

Second degree criminal trespass is a class 3 misdemeanor, but it is a class 2 misdemeanor if the premises have been classified by the county assessor for the county in which the land is situated as agricultural land. It is a class 4 felony if the person trespasses on premises so classified as agricultural land with the intent to commit a felony thereon.

A person commits the crime of Third Degree Criminal Trespass if such person unlawfully enters or remains in or upon premises of another. Third degree criminal trespass is a class 1 petty offense, but it is a class 3 misdemeanor if the premises have been classified by the county assessor for the county in which the land is situated as agricultural land. It is a class 5 felony if the person trespasses on premises so classified as agricultural land with the intent to commit a felony thereon.

Robbery

A person who knowingly takes anything of value from the person or presence of another by the use of force, threats, or intimidation commits Robbery. Robbery is a class 4 felony.

A person who commits robbery is guilty of Aggravated Robbery if during the act of robbery or immediate flight therefrom:

(a) He is armed with a deadly weapon with intent, if resisted, to kill, maim, or wound the person robbed or any other person; or

(b) He knowingly wounds or strikes the person robbed or any other person with a deadly weapon or by the use of force, threats, or intimidation with a deadly weapon knowingly puts the person robbed or any other person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury; or

(c) He has present a confederate, aiding or abetting the perpetration of the robbery, armed with a deadly weapon, with the intent, either on the part of the defendant or confederate, if resistance is offered, to kill, maim, or wound the person robbed or any other person, or by the use of force, threats, or intimidation puts the person robbed or any other person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury; or

(d) He possesses any article used or fashioned in a manner to lead any person who is present reasonably to believe it to be a deadly weapon or represents verbally or otherwise that he is then and there so armed. Aggravated robbery is a class 3 felony and is an extraordinary risk crime

Theft

A person commits Theft when he knowingly obtains or exercises control over anything of value of another without authorization, or by threat or deception, and:

(a) Intends to deprive the other person permanently of the use or benefit of the thing of value; or

(b) Knowingly uses, conceals, or abandons the thing of value in such manner as to deprive the other person permanently of its use or benefit; or

(c) Uses, conceals, or abandons the thing of value intending that such use, concealment, or abandonment will deprive the other person permanently of its use and benefit; or

(d) Demands any consideration to which he is not legally entitled as a condition of restoring the thing of value to the other person.

Theft is a class 2 misdemeanor if the value of the thing involved is less than five hundred dollars. It is a class 1 misdemeanor if the value of the thing involved is five hundred dollars or more but less than one thousand dollars. It is a class 4 felony if the value of the thing involved is one thousand dollars or more but less than twenty thousand dollars. It is a class 3 felony if the value of the thing involved is twenty thousand dollars or more.

Theft from the person of another by means other than the use of force, threat, or intimidation is a class 5 felony without regard to the value of the thing taken

Crimes Against Individuals

Jim represents clients charged with a variety of criminal offenses alleged to have been committed against another person. Some of those more common charges in Colorado include the following:

Homicide (Murder)

Homicide is defined under Colorado law as the killing of a person by another. Colorado law recognizes two degrees of murder - Murder in the First Degree and Murder in the Second Degree. Colorado law also recognizes the crime of Manslaughter and Criminal Negligent Homicide.

Murder in the First Degree

A person commits the crime of murder in the first degree if:

(a) After deliberation and with the intent to cause the death of a person other than himself, he causes the death of that person or of another person; or

(b) Acting either alone or with one or more persons, he or she commits or attempts to commit arson, robbery, burglary, kidnapping, sexual assault as prohibited by, sexual assault in the first or second degree, or a class 3 felony for sexual assault on a child , or the crime of escape, and, in the course of or in furtherance of the crime that he or she is committing or attempting to commit, or of immediate flight therefrom, the death of a person, other than one of the participants, is caused by anyone; or

(c) By perjury or subornation of perjury he procures the conviction and execution of any innocent person; or

(d) Under circumstances evidencing an attitude of universal malice manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life generally, he knowingly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to a person, or persons, other than himself, and thereby causes the death of another; or

(e) He or she commits unlawful distribution, dispensation, or sale of a controlled substance to a person under the age of eighteen years on school grounds, and the death of such person is caused by the use of such controlled substance; or

(f) The person knowingly causes the death of a child who has not yet attained twelve years of age and the person committing the offense is one in a position of trust with respect to the victim.

The term "after deliberation" is defined under Colorado law as "not only intentionally but also that the decision to commit the act has been made after the exercise of reflection and judgment concerning the act. An act committed after deliberation is never one which has been committed in a hasty or impulsive manner."

Murder in the First Degree is a class one felony.

Murder in the Second Degree

A person commits the crime of murder in the second degree if the person knowingly causes the death of a person.

Diminished responsibility due to self-induced intoxication is not a defense to murder in the second degree.

Murder in the second degree is a class 3 felony where the act causing the death was performed upon a sudden heat of passion, caused by a serious and highly provoking act of the intended victim, affecting the defendant sufficiently to excite an irresistible passion in a reasonable person; but, if between the provocation and the killing there is an interval sufficient for the voice of reason and humanity to be heard, the killing is a class 2 felony.

In all other instances Murder in the second degree is a class 2 felony.

Manslaughter

A person commits the crime of manslaughter if such person recklessly causes the death of another person or such person intentionally causes or aids another person to commit suicide.

Manslaughter is a class 4 felony.

Criminally Negligent Homicide

Under Colorado law Any person who causes the death of another person by conduct amounting to criminal negligence commits criminally negligent homicide.

Criminally Negligent Homicide is a class 5 felony.

The Colorado Supreme Court has declared that criminal negligence, as applied to homicide, means a failure to perceive, through a gross deviation from the standard of reasonable care, a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a certain result will occur.

Assault

Colorado law recognizes three degrees of assault. A person commits the crime of Assault in the First Degree if:

(a) With intent to cause serious bodily injury to another person, he causes serious bodily injury to any person by means of a deadly weapon; or

(b) With intent to disfigure another person seriously and permanently, or to destroy, amputate, or disable permanently a member or organ of his body, he causes such an injury to any person; or

(c) Under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life, he knowingly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to another person, and thereby causes serious bodily injury to any person.

"Serious bodily injury" means bodily injury which, either at the time of the actual injury or at a later time, involves a substantial risk of death, a substantial risk of serious permanent disfigurement, a substantial risk of protracted loss or impairment of the function of any part or organ of the body, or breaks, fractures, or burns of the second or third degree.

If assault in the first degree is committed under circumstances where the act causing the injury is performed upon a sudden heat of passion, caused by a serious and highly provoking act of the intended victim, affecting the person causing the injury sufficiently to excite an irresistible passion in a reasonable person, and without an interval between the provocation and the injury sufficient for the voice of reason and humanity to be heard, it is a class 5 felony. In all other circumstances assault in the first degree is a class 3 felony.

A person commits the crime of Assault in the Second Degree if:

(a) With intent to cause bodily injury to another person, he or she causes such injury to any person by means of a deadly weapon; or

(b) With intent to prevent one whom he or she knows, or should know, to be a peace officer or firefighter from performing a lawful duty, he or she intentionally causes bodily injury to any person; or

(c) He recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon; or

(d) With intent to cause bodily injury to another person, he causes serious bodily injury to that person or another.

"Bodily injury" means physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical or mental condition.

If assault in the second degree is committed under circumstances where the act causing the injury is performed upon a sudden heat of passion, caused by a serious and highly provoking act of the intended victim, affecting the person causing the injury sufficiently to excite an irresistible passion in a reasonable person, and without an interval between the provocation and the injury sufficient for the voice of reason and humanity to be heard, it is a class 6 felony. In all other circumstances it is a class 4 felony, unless the person who is assaulted suffered serious bodily injury during the commission or attempted commission of or flight from the commission or attempted commission of murder, robbery, arson, burglary, escape, kidnapping in the first degree, sexual assault, or sexual assault on a child, in which case it is a class 3 felony.

A person commits the crime of assault in the third degree if:

(a) The person knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person or with criminal negligence the person causes bodily injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon.

"Bodily injury" means physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical or mental condition.

Assault in the third degree is a class 1 misdemeanor .

Stalking

A person commits stalking if directly, or indirectly through another person, the person knowingly:

(a) Makes a credible threat to another person and, in connection with the threat, repeatedly follows, approaches, contacts, or places under surveillance that person, a member of that person's immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship; or

(b) Makes a credible threat to another person and, in connection with the threat, repeatedly makes any form of communication with that person, a member of that person's immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship, regardless of whether a conversation ensues; or

(c) Repeatedly follows, approaches, contacts, places under surveillance, or makes any form of communication with another person, a member of that person's immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to suffer serious emotional distress and does cause that person, a member of that person's immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship to suffer serious emotional distress. A victim need not show that he or she received professional treatment or counseling to show that he or she suffered serious emotional distress.

Conduct "in connection with" a credible threat means acts that further, advance, promote, or have a continuity of purpose, and may occur before, during, or after the credible threat.

"Credible threat" means a threat, physical action, or repeated conduct that would cause a reasonable person to be in fear for the person's safety or the safety of his or her immediate family or of someone with whom the person has or has had a continuing relationship. The threat need not be directly expressed if the totality of the conduct would cause a reasonable person such fear.

"Immediate family" includes the person's spouse and the person's parent, grandparent, sibling, or child.

"Repeated" or "repeatedly" means on more than one occasion.

A person who commits stalking:

(a) Commits a class 5 felony for a first offense; or

(b) Commits a class 4 felony for a second or subsequent offense, if the offense occurs within seven years after the date of a prior offense for which the person was convicted.

Stalking is an extraordinary risk crime.

If, at the time of the offense, there was a temporary or permanent protection order, injunction, or condition of bond, probation, or parole or any other court order in effect against the person, prohibiting the behavior described in the stalking statute, the person commits a class 4 felony.

Kidnapping

Colorado law recognizes two degrees of kidnapping.

Any person who does any of the following acts with the intent thereby to force the victim or any other person to make any concession or give up anything of value in order to secure a release of a person under the offender's actual or apparent control commits First Degree Kidnapping:

(a) Forcibly seizes and carries any person from one place to another; or

(b) Entices or persuades any person to go from one place to another; or

(c) Imprisons or forcibly secretes any person.

Whoever commits first degree kidnapping is guilty of a class 1 felony if the person kidnapped suffers bodily injury; but no person convicted of first degree kidnapping shall suffer the death penalty if the person kidnapped was liberated alive prior to the conviction of the kidnapper. Whoever commits first degree kidnapping commits a class 2 felony if, prior to his conviction, the person kidnapped was liberated unharmed.

Any person who knowingly seizes and carries any person from one place to another, without his consent and without lawful justification, commits Second Degree Kidnapping.

Additionally, any person who takes, entices, or decoys away any child not his own under the age of eighteen years with intent to keep or conceal the child from his parent or guardian or with intent to sell, trade, or barter such child for consideration commits second degree kidnapping.

Second degree kidnapping is a class 2 felony if any of the following circumstances exist:

(a) The person kidnapped is a victim of a sexual offense pursuant; or

(b) The person kidnapped is a victim of a robbery.

Unless it is a class 2 felony, second degree kidnapping is a class 3 felony if any of the following circumstances exist:

(I) The kidnapping is accomplished with intent to sell, trade, or barter the victim for consideration; or

(II) The kidnapping is accomplished by the use of a deadly weapon or any article used or fashioned in a manner to cause a person to reasonably believe that the article is a deadly weapon; or

(III) The kidnapping is accomplished by the perpetrator representing verbally or otherwise that he or she is armed with a deadly weapon.

Under all other circumstances second degree kidnapping is a class 4 felony.

False Imprisonment

Any person who knowingly confines or detains another without the other's consent and without proper legal authority commits false imprisonment.

False imprisonment is a class 2 misdemeanor; except that false imprisonment is a class 5 felony if:

(a) The person uses force or threat of force to confine or detain the other person; and

(b) The person confines or detains the other person for twelve hours or longer. The false imprisonment statute does not apply to a peace officer acting in good faith within the scope of his or her duties.

Domestic Violence

Under Colorado law "Domestic Violence" is defined as an act or a threatened act of violence upon a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence also includes any other crime against a person, or against property (including an animal) when used as a method of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge against a person with whom the actor is or has been involved in an intimate relationship.

"Intimate Relationship" means a relationship between spouses, former spouses, past or present unmarried couples, or persons who are both the parents of the same child regardless of whether the persons have been married or have lived together at any time.

Charges with an alleged underlying factual basis of domestic violence are serious matters. One charged with an alleged act of domestic violence is subject to a mandatory protection order preventing them from having any contact with the alleged victim, and in most cases are also subject to pre-trial conditions such as random drug and alcohol monitoring. Further, one charged with an alleged act of domestic violence is prohibited from being in possession of any firearm, and one convicted of an act of domestic violence can have that conviction added to a national registry and be subject to supervised probation.

Domestic violence in and of itself is not a crime, but rather a sentence enhancer. In addition to any sentence that is imposed upon a person for the violation of the criminal law (i.e. harassment, assault, criminal mischief), one convicted of an act of domestic violence must complete a treatment evaluation and treatment program.

If you have been charged with an alleged act of domestic violence it is important to consult with an attorney knowledgeable with the enhanced sentences and implications of domestic violence charges and convictions in Colorado. Call today for a free consultation.

Drug Offenses

While many, if not all, criminal offenses can have a lasting effect on a defendant's life well after the commission of the alleged crime, offenses relating to the use, possession, and distribution or sale of drugs can have significant impacts on a defendant's ability to retain and seek certain employment opportunities. Anyone charged with a alleged drug offenses should contact Jim immediately for a consultation so that they can begin to prepare a defense to the charge or charges. Common offenses relating to drugs include the following:

Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance

It is unlawful for a person to knowingly possess a controlled substance. One commits a class 6 felony by possessing any material, compound, mixture, or preparation weighing four grams or less that contains any quantity of flunitrazepam, ketamine, or a schedule I or II controlled substance except methamphetamine. One commits a class 4 felony by possessing any material, compound, mixture, or preparation weighing more than four grams that contains any quantity of flunitrazepam, ketamine, or a schedule I or II controlled substance except methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine is treated differently under Colorado law than other controlled substances. One commits a class 6 felony by possessing any material, compound, mixture, or preparation weighing two grams or less that contains any quantity of methamphetamine. One commits a class 4 felony by possessing any material, compound, mixture, or preparation weighing more than two grams that contains any quantity of methamphetamine.

One commits a class 1 misdemeanor by possessing any material, compound, mixture, or preparation that contains any quantity of a schedule III, IV, or V controlled substance except flunitrazepam or ketamine.

Unlawful Use of a Controlled Substance.

Except as is otherwise provided for offenses concerning marijuana and marijuana concentrate, a person who uses any controlled substance, except when it is dispensed by or under the direction of a person licensed or authorized by law to prescribe, administer, or dispense the controlled substance for bona fide medical needs, commits a class 2 misdemeanor.

Unlawful Distribution, Manufacturing, Dispensing or Sale of a Controlled Substance

It is unlawful for any person knowingly to manufacture, dispense, sell, or distribute, or to possess with intent to manufacture, dispense, sell, or distribute, a controlled substance; or induce, attempt to induce, or conspire with one or more other persons, to manufacture, dispense, sell, distribute, or possess with intent to manufacture, dispense, sell, or distribute, a controlled substance; or possess one or more chemicals or supplies or equipment with intent to manufacture a controlled substance.

Except as otherwise provided for offenses concerning marijuana and marijuana concentrate and for offenses involving minors, any person who violates any of the provisions of the distribution, manufacturing, dispensing or sale of a controlled substance statute commits a class 3 felony in the case of a schedule I or II controlled substance, or a class 2 felony, if the violation is committed subsequent to any prior conviction in Colorado or any other state of a violation to which the statute would apply if convicted in Colorado.

Except as otherwise provided for offenses concerning marijuana and marijuana concentrate and for offenses involving minors, any person who violates any of the provisions of the distribution, manufacturing, dispensing or sale of a controlled substance statute commits a class 4 felony in the case of a schedule III controlled substance, or a class 3 felony, if the violation is committed subsequent to any prior conviction in Colorado or any other state of a violation to which the statute would apply if convicted in Colorado.

Except as otherwise provided for offenses concerning marijuana and marijuana concentrate and for offenses involving minors, any person who violates any of the provisions of the distribution, manufacturing, dispensing or sale of a controlled substance statute commits a class 5 felony in the case of a schedule IV controlled substance, or a class 4 felony, if the violation is committed subsequent to any prior conviction in Colorado or any other state of a violation to which to which the statute would apply if convicted in Colorado.

Except as otherwise provided for offenses concerning marijuana and marijuana concentrate and for offenses involving minors, any person who violates any of the provisions of the distribution, manufacturing, dispensing or sale of a controlled substance statute commits a class 1 misdemeanor in the case of a schedule V controlled substance, or a class 5 felony, if the violation is committed subsequent to any prior conviction in Colorado or any other state of a violation to which to which the statute would apply if convicted in Colorado.

Unlawful Sale or Distribution of Marijuana

Except as otherwise provided by Colorado law, it is unlawful for any person knowingly to dispense, sell, distribute, or possess with intent to manufacture, dispense, sell, or distribute marijuana or marijuana concentrate; or attempt, induce, attempt to induce, or conspire with one or more other persons, to dispense, sell, distribute, or possess with intent to manufacture, dispense, sell, or distribute marijuana or marijuana concentrate.

Any person who violates the above commits:

(a) A class 5 felony if the amount of marijuana is less than five pounds or the amount of marijuana concentrate is less than one pound;

(b) A class 4 felony if the amount of marijuana is at least five pounds but not more than one hundred pounds or the amount of marijuana concentrate is at least one pound but not more than one hundred pounds;

(c) A class 3 felony if the amount of marijuana or marijuana concentrate is more than one hundred pounds; or

(d) A class 3 felony if the violation is committed subsequent to any prior conviction in Colorado or any other state of a violation to which the statute would apply if committed in this state.

Mandatory Drug Offender Surcharge

Those convicted of a drug offense in Colorado are subject to stiff fines. Each drug offender who is convicted or receives a deferred judgment and sentence is required to pay a surcharge to the clerk of the court in the county in which the conviction occurs or in which the deferred judgment and sentence was entered in the following amounts:

Class 2 Felony: $4,500.00
Class 3 Felony: $3,000.00
Class 4 Felony: $2,000.00
Class 5 Felony: $1,500.00
Class 6 Felony: $1,250.00
Class 1 Misdemeanor: $1,000.00
Class 2 Misdemeanor: $600.00
Class 3 Misdemeanor: $300.00

Sentencing in Colorado

For many charged with a crime the sentence which could be imposed is often times their main concern. While there are many statutes which govern criminal sentencing in Colorado, in many respects sentencing is the least regulated stage of a criminal case. Colorado trial court judges are granted wide discretion in their imposition of individual sentences. The Colorado Supreme Court has held that sentencing is a discretionary decision which requires the court to balance the public's interest in safety and deterrence of crime against the defendant's need and ability for rehabilitation or corrective treatment. Even in those cases where a defense attorney has eliminated incarceration as an alternative, possible sanctions including probation, restitution, fines, and court costs and fees may still have a significant impact on a criminal defendant. When facing a criminal charge in Colorado, it is important to consult with and be represented by a attorney who is well versed in Colorado sentencing and procedure.

Misdemeanor Sentences

Misdemeanors are divided into three classes, which are distinguished from one another by the penalties authorized upon conviction.

ClassMinimum SentencingMaximum Sentence
1Six months imprisonment, or five hundred dollar fine, or both.Eighteen months imprisonment, or five thousand dollars fine, or both. The maximum is increased to 24 months for "extraordinary risk crimes."
2Three months imprisonment, or one thousand dollars fine, or both.Twelve months imprisonment, or one thousand dollars fine, or both.
3Fifty dollars fine.Six months imprisonment, or seven hundred fifty dollars fine, or both.

A term of imprisonment for a misdemeanor conviction is served in county jail unless it is served concurrently with a term of imprisonment for conviction of a felony, in which case it is served in a state correctional facility.

Felony Sentencing

Presumptive Range Exceptional Circumstances
Class Minimium Maximum Minimum Maximum Mandatory Parole
1 Life Imprisonment Death Life Imprisonment Death  
2 8 Years
$5000 Fine
24 years
$1M Fine
4 years 48 Years 5 Years
3 4 Years
$3000 Fine
12 Years
$750,000 Fine
2 Years 24 Years 5 Years
3
Extraordinary Risk Crime
4 Years
$3000 Fine
16 Years
$750,000 Fine
2 Years 32 Years 5 Years
4 2 Years
$2000 Fine
6 Years
$500,000 Fine
1 Year 12 Years 3 Years
4
Extraordinary Risk Crime
2 Years
$2000 Fine
4 Years
$100,000 Fine
1 Year 16 Years 3 Years
5 1 Year
$1000 Fine
3 Years
$100,000 Fine
6 Months 6 Years 2 Years
5
Extraordinary Risk Crime
1 Year
$1000 Fine
4 Years
$100,000 Fine
6 Months 8 Years 2 Years
6 1 Year
$1000 Fine
18 Months
$100,000 Fine
6 Months 3 Years  
6
Extraordinary Risk Crime
1 Year
$1000 Fine
2 Yeras
$100,000 Fine
6 Months 4 Years  

Probation

Probation is defined by the American Bar Association Standards for Criminal Justice as "a sentence not involving confinement which imposes conditions and retains authority in the sentencing court to modify the conditions of the sentence or to resentence the if its conditions are violated." However, although a probationary sentence does not usually involve a period of incarceration Colorado law does that such a sentence may require that the defendant serve a period of incarceration as a condition of probation. In Colorado eligibility for probation is governed by statutory criteria. The sentencing court has discretion in granting probation, subject to limitations imposed by Colorado law, and probation generally should be granted unless the court finds that because of the circumstances surrounding the offense and the criminal history and character of the defendant imprisonment is the more appropriate sentence for the defendant for the protection of the public.

The United States Supreme Court has declared that the purpose of probation is to provide an individualized program offering the offender "an opportunity to rehabilitate himself without institutional confinement under the tutelage of a probation official but under the continuing power of the court to impose institutional punishment for his original offense in the event that he abuses this opportunity."

The Colorado Supreme Court has declared that the conditions of probation must be reasonably related to rehabilitation of the offender. Typical conditions of probation include requiring the probationer to do the following:

  • Payment of fines, court costs, and restitution;
  • To report to a probation officer on a regular or periodic basis;
  • To seek gainful employment;
  • To undergo counseling; and
  • To have no contact with the victim of the crime.

The discretion the court has in imposing probationary terms cannot be overstated. The Colorado Supreme Court has held that probation conditions are invalid only if they infringe upon constitutional rights or otherwise can be shown not to serve the proper purposes of probation.

If a probationer fails to comply with the conditions of probation a court can either revoke or continue probation. If probation is revoked the court may resentence the offender.

Restitution

Under Colorado law a court is required to order a defendant to pay restitution in all cases involving a conviction of a felony, misdemeanor, petty offense, or traffic misdemeanor offense where a victim suffered a monetary loss due to a defendant's criminal conduct.

In regards to restitution, the term "conviction" means a verdict of guilty, a plea of guilty or no contest, or receiving a deferred judgment and sentence.

The amount of restitution that a court may order is equal to the full amount of a victim's "pecuniary loss." The court cannot consider a defendant's inability to pay when ordering restitution. Restitution does not include damages for physical or mental pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of future earnings, or punitive damages.

The district attorney has the duty of proving the amount of restitution and that a defendant was responsible for the monetary loss.

Deferred Judgment and Sentence

A court is authorized under Colorado law, with the written consent of the defendant, the district attorney, and defense counsel to defer judgment and sentence when accepting a guilty plea. Pursuant to a deferred judgment and sentence, a defendant is required to enter a guilty plea. However, judgment does not enter on the guilty plea unless the defendant violates the conditions of the deferred sentence agreement between the defendant and the district attorney.

Under a deferred judgment and sentence the case is continued for a period of time during which the defendant is almost always subject to probation. The terms and conditions of the deferred sentence agreement can be the same as the terms and conditions to a straight guilty plea, and can include fines, court costs, useful public service, and drug and alcohol monitoring. Judgment and sentence can be deferred on a misdemeanor for a period of up to two years and on a felony for a period of up to four years. Once a defendant fully complies with the specified conditions of the deferred agreement the plea is automatically withdrawn and the case, or the charge, is dismissed.

If a defendant violates any condition of the deferred agreement the district attorney or the defendant's probation officer can ask the court to revoke the deferred sentence. If a court finds that the defendant has violated the agreement, it is required to enter judgment and impose sentence upon the guilty plea.

Crimes of Violence

A defendant convicted of a crime of violence is subject to mandatory sentencing.

"Crime of violence" means any of the crimes specified below committed, conspired to be committed, or attempted to be committed by a person during which, or in the immediate flight therefrom, the person used, or possessed and threatened the use of, a deadly weapon, or caused serious bodily injury or death to any other person except another participant.

The above applies to the following crimes:

  • Any crime against an at-risk adult or at-risk juvenile;
  • Murder;
  • First or second degree assault;
  • Kidnapping;
  • Aggravated robbery;
  • First degree arson;
  • First degree burglary;
  • Escape; or
  • Criminal extortion.

"Crime of violence" also means any unlawful sexual offense in which the defendant caused bodily injury to the victim or in which the defendant used threat, intimidation, or force against the victim.

A defendant convicted of a crime of violence must be sentenced to the department of corrections to a term of imprisonment of at least the midpoint in the presumptive range, but not more than twice the maximum term, provided for those offenses. A defendant convicted of two or more separate crimes of violence arising out of the same incident must be sentenced to consecutive terms.

Extraordinary Aggravating Circumstances

Pursuant to Colorado law, the presence of any one or more of the following extraordinary aggravating circumstances requires the court, if it sentences the defendant to incarceration, to sentence the defendant to a term of at least the midpoint in the presumptive range but not more than twice the maximum term authorized in the presumptive range for the punishment of a felony:

(I) The defendant is convicted of a crime of violence;

(II) The defendant was on parole for another felony at the time of commission of the felony;

(III) The defendant was on probation or was on bond while awaiting sentencing following revocation of probation for another felony at the time of the commission of the felony;

(IV) The defendant was under confinement, in prison, or in any correctional institution as a convicted felon, or an escapee from any correctional institution for another felony at the time of the commission of a felony;

(V) At the time of the commission of the felony, the defendant was on appeal bond following his or her conviction for a previous felony;

(VI) At the time of the commission of a felony, the defendant was on probation for or on bond while awaiting sentencing following revocation of probation for a delinquent act that would have constituted a felony if committed by an adult.

Extraordinary Risk Crimes

The Colorado legislature has designated certain criminal offenses as "extraordinary risk crimes" for which the maximum sentence in the presumptive range must be increased from six months to four years depending on the class of the felony. A defendant convicted of an "extraordinary risk crime" faces an increased maximum range which can be doubled if the offense is also a crime of violence.

The legislature has declared that the following crimes present an extraordinary risk of harm to society:

  • Aggravated robbery;
  • Child abuse;
  • Unlawful distribution, manufacturing, dispensing, sale, or possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell, distribute, manufacture, or dispense;
  • Any crime of violence;
  • Stalking;
  • Sale or distribution of materials to manufacture controlled substances; and
  • Felony invasion of privacy for sexual gratification.

Major Traffic Offenses

Driving Under Restraint (Alcohol and Non-Alcohol)

Colorado law treats very harshly those convicted of driving while knowing that their license or privilege to drive was under restraint, whether because of a DUI or DWAI conviction (or any impaired driving conviction) or otherwise.

Any person who operates a motor vehicle in Colorado with knowledge that their licenses or privilege to drive is under restraint for any reason other than an impaired driving conviction is guilty of a misdemeanor. Upon conviction, the court may sentence the offender to imprisonment in the county jail for a period of up to six months and may impose a fine of up to $500.00.

A second or subsequent conviction of the above within five years after the first conviction, in addition to any possible term of imprisonment or fine, results in the offender not being eligible for the issuance of a driver's license or any driving privileges in Colorado for a period of three years after the second or subsequent conviction.

The possible penalties for driving with knowledge that one's license is under restraint partially or solely because of an alcohol-related driving offense in Colorado or is restrained from driving in another state solely or partially because of an alcohol-related driving offense become increasingly severe and, in fact, the court is required to sentence the offender to a mandatory term of imprisonment. Upon conviction of the misdemeanor offense of Driving Under Restraint - Alcohol - the court must sentence the offender to a period of imprisonment of not less than thirty days nor more than one year. Upon a second or subsequent conviction, the court must sentence the offender to a term of imprisonment of not less than ninety days nor more than two years. The court also has the discretion to impose hefty fines of up to $1,000.00 on a first conviction and up to $3,000.00 on a second or subsequent conviction.

A second or subsequent conviction of Driving Under Restraint - Alcohol - within five years after the first conviction, in addition to any possible term of imprisonment or fine, results in the offender not being eligible for the issuance of a driver's license or any driving privileges in Colorado for a period of four years after the second or subsequent conviction.

Careless Driving

A person who drives a motor vehicle, bicycle, electrical assisted bicycle, or low-power scooter in a careless and imprudent manner, without due regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic, and use of the streets and highways and all other attendant circumstances, is guilty of careless driving.

Careless driving is a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense. However, if the person's actions are the proximate cause of bodily injury to another, that person commits a class 1 misdemeanor traffic offense. Additionally, if the person's actions are the proximate cause of death to another, that person commits a class 1 misdemeanor traffic offense.

Reckless Driving

A person who drives a motor vehicle, bicycle, electrical assisted bicycle, or low-power scooter in such a manner as to indicate either a wanton or a willful disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving.

Reckless driving is a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense. One convicted of a second or subsequent reckless driving charge shall be punished by a fine of not less than fifty dollars nor more than one thousand dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than ten days nor more than six months, or by both fine and imprisonment.

Eluding or Attempting to Elude a Police Officer

Any operator of a motor vehicle who the officer has reasonable grounds to believe has violated a state law or municipal ordinance, who has received a visual or audible signal such as a red light or a siren from a police officer driving a marked vehicle showing the same to be an official police, sheriff, or Colorado state patrol car directing the operator to bring the operator's vehicle to a stop, and who willfully increases his or her speed or extinguishes his or her lights in an attempt to elude such police officer, or willfully attempts in any other manner to elude the police officer, or does elude such police officer commits a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense.

Possible Penalties - Traffic Offenses

ClassMinimum PenaltyMaximum Penalty
A$15.00 Fine$100.00 Fine
B$15.00 Fine$100.00 Fine
ClassMinimum SentenceMaximum Sentence
1Ten days Imprisonment, or $300.00 Fine, or BothOne Year Imprisonment, or $1,000.00 Fine, or Both
2Ten days Imprisonment, or $150.00 Fine, or BothNinety Days Imprisonment, or $300.00 Fine, or Both

Colorado's Driver's License Point System

Colorado employs a driver's license point system. Each conviction for a traffic violation in Colorado is reported to the DMV. Each conviction carries a certain number of points to be placed on your driving record. Accumulating too many points in a certain period of time will result in the loss of your driving privilege through a point suspension.

Point accumulations that will result in suspensions are as follows:

Adult Driver (21 and over): 12 points in any 12 consecutive months or 18 points in any 24 consecutive months.

Minor Driver (18-20 years of age): 9 points in any 12 consecutive months, 12 points in any 24 months, or 14 or more points between the ages of 18 and 21.

Under the Age of 18: 6 points in 12 consecutive months or 7 points prior to turning 18.

The time periods for the accumulation of points are based on the date of the violation, but the points are not assessed until after conviction of the traffic offense. The state is required to notify you when any action is taken against your driver's license. If an accumulation of points causes your driver's license to be suspended, a notice will be sent to the last address the DMV has on file for you. The notice will provide a hearing date. If you do not appear for that hearing, your driver's license will be suspended for one year. A hearing can be requested at any time within that year.

At the hearing the hearing officer will determine whether a point suspension is required as well as the length of the suspension. The decision whether to grant the suspended driver a probationary license is within the discretion of the hearing officer.

A conviction for driving while one's driver's license is suspended carries with it a mandatory jail sentence of 5 days as well as further administrative sanctions against one's driving privilege.

When facing an allegation of a traffic violation that may result in a driving privilege point suspension it is important to consult with an experienced Colorado traffic attorney knowledgeable in the Colorado point system and DMV hearings.

Traffic Violation Points

Traffic ViolationPoints
Leaving the Scene of an Accident12
DUI or DUI per se12
DUI - Habitual User12
Driving While Ability Impaired8
Underage Drinking and Driving4
Engaging in a Speed Contest12
Engaging in a Speed Exhibition5
Reckless Driving8
Careless Driving4
Careless Driving Resulting in Death12
Speeding - 1 -4 mph over reasonable prudent speed limit or 75mph speed limit0
Speeding - 5-9 mph over reasonable prudent speed limit or 75mph speed limit1
Speeding - 10-19 mph over reasonable prudent speed limit or 75mph speed limit4
Speeding - 20-39 mph over reasonable prudent speed limit or 75mph speed limit6
Speeding - 40 mph over reasonable prudent speed limit or 75mph speed limit12
Failure to reduce speed below an otherwise lawful speed when a special hazard exists3
One to four miles per hour over the maximum lawful speed limit of forty miles per hour driving a low-power scooter0
Five to nine miles per hour over the maximum lawful speed limit of forty miles per hour driving a low-power scooter2
Greater than nine miles per hour over the maximum lawful speed limit of forty miles per hour driving a low-power scooter4
Failure to stop for school signals6
Driving on wrong side of road or driving on wrong side of divided or controlled-access highway4
Improper passing4
Failure to stop for school bus6
Following too closely4
Failure to observe traffic sign or signal4
Failure to yield to emergency vehicle4
Failure to yield right-of-way3
Improper turn3
Driving in wrong lane or direction on one-way street3
Failure to signal or improper signal2
Improper backing2
Failure to dim or turn on lights2
Operating a vehicle with defective head lamps1
Eluding or attempting to elude a police officer12
Alteration of suspension system3
Failure to yield right-of-way to pedestrian4
Failure to yield right-of-way to person with a disability6
Failure to maintain or show proof of insurance4
Driving with a passenger who is under twenty-one years of age or driving between 12 midnight and 5 a.m.2

Sealing Arrest and Criminal Records

Colorado law allows a person who is the primary subject of a criminal justice record to petition the court in the district in which any arrest and criminal records information pertaining to that person is located to seal those records (except for basic identification information) in the following circumstances:

  • If the records are a record of official actions involving a criminal offense for which the person was not charged or entered into a diversionary program;
  • If the case was completely dismissed; or
  • If the person was acquitted of all of the charges.

Arrest or criminal record information may not be sealed if an offense is not charged due to a plea agreement in a separate case, a dismissal occurs as part of a plea agreement in a separate case, or a defendant still owes restitution, fines, court costs, or other fees n the case.

After one files a petition to seal criminal records, and after the court finds that the petition is sufficient on its face and that no other grounds exist at that time for the court to deny it, a hearing is set and the petitioner is required to inform the prosecutor’s office, and any other agencies having possession of the records.  After the hearing described is conducted and if the court finds that the harm to the privacy of the petitioner or dangers of unwarranted adverse consequences to the petitioner outweigh the public interest in retaining the records, the court may order that the records be sealed.

If the court seals your criminal records you may properly reply to any inquiry regarding the records that no such records exist.  Employers, educational institutions, state and local government agencies, officials, and employees are not allowed, in any application or interview or in any other way, require an applicant to disclose any information contained in sealed records.

Sealing Drug Convictions

The record sealing statute in Colorado generally bars the sealing of arrest and criminal records when the defendant was ultimately convicted of the charge, or if there were multiple charges the record cannot be sealed unless all charges were dismissed or the defendant was acquitted of all charges at trial. However, one exception to the general rule precluding the sealing of records pertaining to a conviction exists relative to convictions involving controlled substances.

Whether one convicted of a controlled substance offense can have those records sealed depends on the charge to which they plead or were found guilty. Additionally, the date of conviction determines when the petition to seal can be filed.

If a defendant was convicted of a controlled substance offense after July 1, 2008 and prior to July 1, 2011, a petition to seal those records can be filed ten years after the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings or the defendant’s release from supervision, whichever is later. To be eligible to file a petition to seal the records the defendant must not have not been charged with or convicted of a criminal offense during that time period. The convictions which may be sealed are any conviction for a petty offense relating to a controlled substance, any conviction for a misdemeanor relating to a controlled substance, or any class 5 or class 6 felony conviction related to a controlled substance. However, a class 5 or class 6 felony conviction for the sale, manufacturing, or dispensing of a controlled substance, attempt or conspiracy to commit the sale, manufacturing, or dispensing of a controlled substance, or possession with the intent to manufacture, dispense, or sell a controlled substance, cannot be sealed.

Different timelines apply to a defendant who was convicted of a controlled substance offense on or after July 1, 2011. If the conviction was for a petty offense or a class 2 or class 3 misdemeanor, the petition may be filed three years after the later date of the final disposition of all criminal proceeding against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision. If the conviction was for a class 1 misdemeanor, the petition may be filed five years after the later date of the final disposition of all criminal proceeding against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision. If the conviction was for a class 5 or class 6 felony drug possession offense, the petition may be filed seven years after the later date of the final disposition of all criminal proceeding against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision. For all other drug offense convictions the petition may be filed ten years after the later date of the final disposition of all criminal proceeding against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision.

If a petition to seal a felony drug conviction other than a class 5 or class 6 felony is filed and the district attorney objects to the petition the court is required to dismiss the petition.

For any conviction entered prior to July 1, 2008, for which a defendant would otherwise qualify to have the records sealed if they had been convicted between July 1, 2008 and July 1, 2011, the defendant may obtain an order sealing the records if the prosecuting attorney does not object to the sealing, the defendant pays the prosecutor’s office their reasonable attorney’s fees and costs relating to the petition to seal, the defendant pays the filing fee required by law, and the defendant pays an additional filing fee of two hundred dollars to cover the actual costs related to the filing of the petition to seal the records.

Sealing Petty Offense and Municipal Offense Convictions

The record sealing statute in Colorado generally bars the sealing of arrest and criminal records when the defendant was ultimately convicted of the charge, or if there were multiple charges the record cannot be sealed unless all charges were dismissed or the defendant was acquitted of all charges at trial. However, one exception to the general rule precluding the sealing of records pertaining to convictions for petty and municipal offenses.

A defendant may petition the district court of the district in which any conviction records pertaining to a petty or municipal offense exist of the petition is filed three or more years after the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision, whichever is later, if:

  1. The defendant has not been charged or convicted for a felony, misdemeanor, or misdemeanor traffic offense in the three or more years since the date of the final disposition of all criminal proceedings against the defendant or the release of the defendant from supervision, whichever is later; and
  2. The conviction records to be sealed are not for a misdemeanor traffic offense committed by the holder of a commercial learner’s permit or a commercial driver’s license.

Upon filing the petition the defendant is required to pay the required filing fee and an additional filing fee of two hundred dollars to cover the actual costs related to the filing of the petition to seal the records. If the court determines that the petition is sufficient on its face and that no other grounds exist for the court to deny the petition, the court is required to set a hearing and the defendant is required to notify the prosecuting attorney and the arresting agency of the hearing. If the hearing is held and the court finds that the harm to the privacy of the defendant or the dangers of unwarranted, adverse consequences to the defendant outweigh the public interest in retaining the conviction records, the court may order the conviction records (other than basic identification information) to be sealed.

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