Colorado’s penalties for rape crimes

Like other states, Colorado defines various sexual crimes based upon the circumstances at hand. Prostitution, child sexual exploitation and rape, also known as sexual assault, are some of the most commonly referred to sex crimes.

Some of the factors that contribute to an ultimate charge and sentence include the age of the victim, the age of the alleged perpetrator, any use of force, injury and more.

Colorado data records show that 2,113 cases of forcible rape took place statewide in 2012. When compared to 162 murders for the same calendar year, this rate should make all residents take note, especially those who may be apt to be accused of such crimes.

Age of consent

The age of consent in Colorado is 17. There is allowed a four year age difference for victims 14 years old and younger and a 10 year age difference for victims aged 15 or 16. This means, for example, that a 15-year old can consent to sexual intercourse with a 23-year old but not with a 26-year old. A 14-year old is legally able to consent with a 17-year old but not with an 18-year old.

Sexual assault charges and penalties

Within the category of sexual assault, there are four defined charges. Each of these has its own range of parameters and penalties.

  • Class 1 misdemeanor: This is the charge when the victim is between 15 and 17 years of age and the alleged perpetrator is 10 or more years older. If convicted, defendants face six to 18 months in jail and a fine between $500 and $5,000.
  • Class 2 felony: This charge is given if serious bodily injury has occurred, if more than one person aided or abetted in the alleged crime or if a deadly weapon was used. Defendants convicted of this charge face eight to 20 years in jail, five years of parole and a fine from $5,000 to $1 million.
  • Class 3 felony: This is the charge for victims that are identified as physically helpless who do not consent to the activity. It can also be used when violence, death, injury, pain, kidnapping or retaliation is threatened or occurs or if a victim's mental capacity has been altered without his or her consent. Penalties include four to 16 years in jail, a five-year parole and a fine between $3,000 and $750,000.
  • Class 4 felony: Any crime not classified as outlined above can result in a class 4 felony leaving defendants facing two to eight years in jail followed by a three-year parole. Fines range from $2,000 to $500,000.

Additional sex crime charges include unlawful sexual conduct and sexual assault on a child. The former is typically a class 1 misdemeanor or a class 4 felony. Sexual assault on a child is identified as either a class 3 or class 4 felony.

Options for accused persons

With the penalties for a sexual crime conviction being quite severe, it is important than anyone accused of such a crime seek the best help for a thorough defense. Working with a private attorney who is knowledgeable about the criminal legal system is always advised.