Sexual assault charges in Colorado are no longer broken down by degree or level, but instead are categorized as either sexual assault, or sexual contact, with the differentiating factor being the presence of penetration – or not. Sex crimes are considered heinous, and as such carry stiff penalties that aim to deter immediately by imposing severe punishments.
If you are charged and convicted of sexual assault, you sentencing will depend largely on the circumstances of the crime and if there were any aggravating factors involved. Obviously, if a sexual assault happened and a weapon was used, or the victim was drugged, this would exacerbate the situation and increase the severity of the sentencing.
Here is the sentencing break down by felony class:
Class 2 Felony – 16-48 years in prison, a $5,000 to $1,000,000 fine, and 5 years mandatory parole (doubled from usual 8-24 years as a “crime of violence”
• The defendant was helped by someone
• The victim suffers serious physical injury
• The defendant was armed with a deadly weapon
• The minimum sentence is the midpoint for the presumptive range sentence and the maximum is double the usual maximum. Additionally this sentence will be served consecutively (back-to-back) with any crime of violence conviction.
Class 3 Felony – 8-24 years in prison, a $3,000 to $750,000 fine, and 5 years mandatory parole
• The victim was physical disabled and didn’t consent
• The defendant:
o Forced the victim by physical force or violence
o Threatened the victim with imminent death, serious physical injury, extreme pain, or kidnapping of anyone or future retaliation by any of those acts and the victim believe he or she could do that
o Impairing the victim with a date rape drug
Class 4 Felony – Generally, this penalty applies, 4-12 years in prison, a $2,000 to $500,000 fine, and 3 years mandatory parole
The fine print
Being accused of sexual assault can come with restraining orders, emergency protection orders and immediate removal from the environment (if you’re family or share a residence) even before formal charges are laid. If convicted, a life-long cameo on the Sexual Offenders Database is a guarantee and the terms of your probation, should you secure probation, will be strict at best.
The incidences of sexual assault have been on the rise in Colorado, which is why it has some of the strictest laws and penalties regarding this crime. If you have been charged with sexual assault, it is important to be aware that during trial proceedings, despite innocent until proven guilty, there is a high likelihood that the jury, the judge and the public, will naturally (likely unconsciously) empathize and side with the victim. There is no doubt that your sexual assault lawyer will have their work cut out for them.
Nationwide, the incidences of false accusation in sexual assault cases are low. For the mere 2% of cases that get reported officially, they is usually substantive evidence available, via rape kits, to make a positive identification of the assaulter.