What it Means:

Sexual assault in Colorado can be described as knowingly inflicting sexual intrusion or penetration on another, if the other submits against their will, is incapable of consenting, consents through deception, or is too young to legally consent. See C.R.S. § 18-3-402. The statute sets out more specific descriptions of the various circumstances that qualify as sexual assault, most of which generally fit the description provided above.

Possible Life Sentence:

Of course, sexual assault is one of the most serious crimes an accused can face. Sex assault defenses are almost always complex and hard fought. Because the issues surrounding consent can be subjective, and because sex assault charges can amount to a life sentence in Colorado, defense of these cases requires an enormous commitment of time and effort by both the attorney and the accused. Sexual assault is generally charged as a class 4 felony in Colorado. However, this is a misleading basis for evaluating the consequences of a conviction. Lawmakers in Colorado have passed laws intended to reduce the rate of recurrence of sexual assault by the same offenders. These laws are based upon the belief that sex offenders are more likely than those convicted of other crimes to repeat the offense.

Among these laws are those governing the release of a person convicted of sexual assault from prison. Rather than a set sentence as is imposed in almost every other type of crime, a sex offender in Colorado may be sentenced to an indeterminate sentence. This means there is no release date established at the time of sentencing. Instead, when the accused becomes eligible for parole, the parole board must be persuaded that the accused is unlikely to offend again. This can include requiring the accused to submit to psycho-sexual evaluation and testing, which if not passed, will leave the accused in prison until the next parole hearing eligibility. This simply continues in this way, and therefore can very easily amount to a life sentence. People convicted of sexual assault who are granted parole face a minimum of 10 years on parole, again without a set end date, continuing for life unless and until the parole board decides to end parole. The reality of this indeterminate sentence structure is a life sentence for a class 4 felony.

 

Sex Offender Registry:

The sex offender registry is another measure intended to reduce the rate of repeat offenses by those convicted of sex offenses. Registration is required of those convicted of sexual assault, and the identity and location of those on the registry remains publicly available for as long as a person is required to register. Failing to register as required is itself another crime.

 

All-In:

To say these cases are taken seriously by all involved would be an obvious understatement. They are second only to homicide cases in seriousness and the work that goes into these cases reflects that. In sexual assault cases, a good defense may develop into a team effort consisting of attorneys, investigators, and experts in a variety of fields from forensics to psychology. The financial resources required for defenses of this nature are daunting, and likely life changing for the accused. However, for those with access to the financial resources to fund the kind of all-in defense these cases demand, the sacrifice is an acceptable one when compared to the consequence of a rape conviction. For those who simply cannot afford such an intense and sustained effort through private attorneys, investigators, and experts, the Colorado Public Defender, with its state-sponsored resources, may be a good option.

The statutes governing the definitions and classifications of sex offenses distinguish a long list of important factors. Any one of those factors and many others that arise during the careful investigation of a case could be important to the outcome of a successful defense. It is crucially important to get to work preparing a defense as quickly as possible. Any person accused of sexual assault will likely benefit from counsel right from the outset of a case. It is safe to assume law enforcement will do everything they can to obtain a conviction. Do not wait. Call us and get your defense moving right away.