Criminal Charges and Penalties
Felony & Misdemeanor Criminal Charges in Colorado
Colorado, the State's criminal laws and offenses can be found in
Colorado Revised Statutes Title 18 for adults, and
Title 19 for juveniles. Some criminal procedure is also codified under Title 16. City criminal
laws and offenses can be found under the municipal code for the particular city in
Colorado that you are charged in. Two good resources to find municipal codes online
for free are
Colorado state crimes are classified as one of three (3) main categories:
felony, misdemeanor, and petty offense. The exact type of classification will not only be identified in the language
of the law of statute charged, but can also be deduced from the possible
range of punishment.
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Felony crimes carry the threat of being incarcerated in a prison, as differentiated
from a jail. Felony crimes also carry a longer period of time for incarceration
and a mandatory period of parole. There are only six (6) classes of felonies
in Colorado, a class 6 felony being the least serious (i.e. certain drug
offenses) and a class 1 felony being the most serious (i.e. homicide).See
the chart on this page which lists the typical range of prison sentences
for each class of felony. A defendant should also be advised that certain
crimes of violence, aggravating facts, or habitual offenses can double
or even triple the typical range prison sentences. Note that It is still
possible to receive probation when convicted of a felony, so long as the
defendant does not have more than two (2) prior felonies on their record.
Other alternatives to prison sentences also exist. Besides prison, felony
convictions can also have adverse consequences on employment opportunities,
education, student loans, driving licenses, and the ability to own firearms.
Felony charges entitle the defendant to a trial by a jury of 12 people.
Juveniles are not entitled to a jury trial and can only receive a maximum
sentence of two (2) years in the Division of Youth Corrections (DYC).
Misdemeanor crimes carry the threat of being incarcerated in jail, as differentiated from
a prison. Misdemeanor crimes also carry a shorter period of time for incarceration
and no period of parole. There are only three (3) classes of misdemeanors
in Colorado, a class 3 misdemeanor being the least serious (i.e. some
child abuse offenses) and a class 1 misdemeanor being the most serious
(i.e. some assault cases). See the chart on this page which lists the
typical range of jail sentences for each class of misdemeanor. Probation
is often used as a punishment in misdemeanor cases, unless the defendant
has a significant criminal history. Misdemeanor charges entitle the defendant
to a trial by a jury of six people. Juveniles are not entitled to a jury
trial and can only receive a maximum sentence of two (2) years in the
Division of Youth Corrections (DYC).
City crimes are considered a separate classification and called municipal violations.
Municipal violations cover a wide range of offenses, from traffic violations
to domestic violence assault crimes. Municipal court procedure differs
from state court procedure, and a defendant's substantive and constitutional
rights are limited. The most noticeable limitation is the lack of due
process in the discovery or "evidence" disclosure process prior
to trial. Many times municipal trials are done with very little information
prior to trial, making it difficult to prepare. Municipal violations can
carry a penalty of up to one (1) year in jail, however probation and fines
are often used as punishment in municipal cases unless the defendant has
a significant criminal history. Municipal charges that carry a jail sentence
entitle the defendant to a trial by a jury of up to six people.
Possible Criminal Penalties in Colorado:
CLASS 1: Life or Death
CLASS 1: 6 to 18 months jail
CLASS 2: 8 to 24 years prison
CLASS 2: 3 to 12 months jail
CLASS 3: 4 to 12 years prison
Class 3: 0 to 6 months jail
CLASS 4: 2 to 6 years prison
CLASS 5: 1 to 3 years prison
CLASS 6: 12 to 18 months prison
In 2013 the Colorado state legislature reclassified drug crimes, which
included revising possible punishments. If you have been
accused of a drug crime, click here.
We can help you if you have been charged with
any of the following criminal offenses. Click on the links below to read the
substantive law and elements of particular offenses:
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