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Colorado Sentencing

Sentencing in a Colorado criminal case will depend on many factors. The first step is to determine what level of crime you are charged with. This will help you to determine your “exposure,” (how serious a sentence you may be exposed to). The sentence guide is not a substitute for the opinion of an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney, however, it may be used to give you a general idea of the possible sentence you could receive. Please call our Colorado criminal law firm to discuss the unique circumstances of your case.

1) Determine Your Offense Level

Colorado SentencingAs you probably already know, crimes are either charged as felonies or misdemeanors. What you may not realize is that both felonies and misdemeanors are divided into classes. For example, a class one felony is the most serious (example: first-degree murder). A class six felony is the least serious felony. Misdemeanors are graded from class one down to class three. Often you'll see this on the charging document given to you at your advisement. Beside the name of the charge you may see "F4." This means that you are charged with a fourth degree felony. All felonies subject you to a possible prison sentence.

Generally, a person convicted of a felony in Colorado may be sentenced within the "presumptive range" of that felony. However, other factors may "aggravate" or "mitigate" the sentence. For example, if the facts that amount to an offense are not that terrible in the eyes of the judge, and you have no prior offenses, this may mitigate your sentence. On the other hand, if you are on bond, or on probation for another offense, this will aggravate your sentence...and so on.

2) What aggravating or mitigating factors are present?

The judge has a lot of discretion when issuing your sentence. He or she will consider many factors, such as your prior criminal history, the victim's comments at sentencing, the facts of the crime, whether you show remorse, whether you are a future risk, and many other factors.

3) Locate the Possible Sentence Using this Felony Sentencing Chart

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Felony Sentencing Chart
Class Presumptive Minimum Presumptive Maximum
1 Life in Prison Death Sentence
2 8 yrs. Prison 24 yrs. Prison
3 4 yrs. Prison 12 yrs. Prison
(16 yrs. Prison *)
4 2 yrs. Prison 6 yrs. Prison
(8 yrs. Prison *)
5 1 yr. Prison 3 yrs. Prison
(4 yrs. Prison *)
6 1 yr. Prison 18 months Prison
(2 yrs. Prison *)
* Sometimes Probation or Community Corrections are also possible

If the judge finds exceptional aggravating circumstances, the range can increase to double the maximum.

If the charge is also designated as a "Crime of Violence," this may result in a mandatory prison sentence, which means the judge has no choice but to sentence you to prison.

Any sentence to prison will be followed by a mandatory parole.

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A lesser crime punishable by a fine and/or county jail time for up to one year.


A crime sufficiently serious to be punishable by death or a term in state or federal prison, as distinguished from a misdemeanor which is only punishable by confinement to county or local jail and/or a fine.

Colorado Law Firm

The Law Office of
Kevin R. Churchill

789 Sherman Street, Suite 660
Denver, Colorado 80203

Phone: (303) 832-9000
Email: Colorado Criminal Lawyer

Colorado Criminal Law Firm


Not only the penalty imposed but also the judgment of conviction in a criminal case or a judgment of acquittal in the same proceeding, or the adjudication of delinquency in a juvenile delinquency proceeding or dismissal of allegations of delinquency in the same proceedings.